European countries today agreed to develop plans to address the ever-growing problem of nuclear waste. However, the EU also agreed to continue the dangerous practice of transporting radioactive material across great distances to storage plants outside EU borders.
04 August 2010
© Greenpeace / Pierre Gleizes
In the waters off Belgium, Greenpeace activists protest with banners reading 'Russia is not a nuclear dump' alongside the Russian transport ship 'Kapitan Kuroptev', which is carrying radioactive waste from France to Russia.
EU ministers rubber stamped new rules obliging governments to publish plans by 2015 detailing their preferred options to store or reprocess radioactive waste from nuclear reactors. Some countries that generate nuclear waste, such as Bulgaria, Slovakia and Spain, had so far been reluctant to put together comprehensive plans.
Despite pressure from the European Commission to block exports, the new rules will allow Hungary and Bulgaria, countries that currently have agreements for the export of nuclear waste to Russia, to continue transferring radioactive material.
Greenpeace EU nuclear policy adviser Jan Haverkamp said: “European governments have adopted an out of sight, out of mind approach to radioactive waste, but all they are doing is dumping the long-term problem on someone else and putting Europeans at risk by allowing dangerous waste convoys. Only countries that face the unsolvable problem of radioactive waste head-on by ending their reliance on nuclear power can stop the vicious circle that shifts responsibility to the next generations.”
For more information on nuclear waste storage technologies:
Greenpeace briefing: The deadly legacy of nuclear waste
Greenpeace report: Rock Solid? A scientific review of geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste
Jan Haverkamp – Greenpeace EU nuclear policy adviser: +32 (0)477 790 416 (mobile),
Mark Breddy – Greenpeace EU communications manager: +32 496 156 229 (mobile),
For breaking news and comment on EU affairs: www.twitter.com/GreenpeaceEU
Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.