On Tuesday, at 3pm, Greenpeace conducted a citizen inspection at the entrance of the railway terminal in the small town of Valognes, France. Activists carried out radiation measurements by monitoring the passage of trucks that have been carrying containers of highly radioactive nuclear waste for a week.
Containers first arrived in the rail terminal in Valognes on Oct. 25, waiting to be loaded on a train that will leave the station Friday, November 5 in direction of Gorleben, Germany.
These containers are highly radioactive, and the rail terminal has not been classified as a basic nuclear installation – a classification necessary for any building storing nuclear waste. Greenpeace has therefore filed a complaint against French nuclear giant Areva for use of an undeclared basic nuclear installation, by storing nuclear waste in a place not designed for this purpose. Areva does not respect the legal criteria for storage of radioactive nuclear waste.
The nuclear waste is stored in CASTOR containers (CASTOR stands for “Cask for Storage and Transport of Radioactive Material or Highly radioactive waste containers”). These are supposed to contain the dangerous radiation, and officially can last for 40 years. The nuclear waste inside has a half like about 700 million years. In each of the CASTOR containers are placed 28 canisters – containers in which was cast the highly radioactive waste, melted in glass.
Only one of these canisters in the rail terminal would be enough to be way above the legal limit that requires a storage area to be declared basic nuclear installation.
Neither in La Hague nor in Gorleben: an unprecedented mobilisation in Germany
This convoy, exceptional in every way, should lead to an unprecedented mobilisation in Germany. It will be transported to an inadequate interim storage site at Gorleben, Germany. The German population is extremely hostile to the arrival of this train and is expected to mobilise en masse next weekend.
This waste does not belong in La Hague, which is not a storage site - but the canisters can’t be stored at the site in Gorleben, which is only a warehouse. The only fair solution would be to return it to the producers, nuclear power plants and electricity generators, in this case German.
Greenpeace released a map last Friday of the potential routes the convoy could take to the French border, and detailed schedules of trips and hours of passing trains are also available.
(Originally posted by Greenpeace France)