Expected to soon arrive in Cherbourg, the cargo of 140kg of
plutonium oxide will then travel 1000km overland to the Cadarache
nuclear complex, near Aix en Provence. At Cadarache, it will be
fabricated into experimental plutonium nuclear reactor fuel (2)
before being shipped back to the U.S. next year.
"The US and France are unnecessarily threatening international
security and the environment. There is no conceivable justification
for this transport". said Shaun Burnie of Greenpeace International
Every year in France, more than 10,000 kilograms of plutonium
are transported from the La Hague reprocessing plant in Normandy to
nuclear fuel fabrication plants elsewhere in France. In stark
contrast to stringent security surrounding U.S, plutonium
transports, the weekly French transports of weapons-usable
plutonium are carried out in non-armoured vehicles under low-level
police protection (3).
"The French government now has a real dilemma: if this shipment
is conducted with US style military security then how will state
nuclear industry Areva be able to continue justifying the paltry
protection for the thousands of kilos of plutonium transported
around the country each year?" said Burnie.
Last week, the international environmental organization
Greenpeace submitted technical studies to the French and U.S.
Administration, members of Congress and the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, citing violations in security and
safety regulations by the French authorities carrying out the
Rather than shipping plutonium around the world, presenting a
target for terrorists and placing people and the environment
en-route at an unacceptable risk, Greenpeace believes it should be
mixed with highly radioactive waste, solidified or vitrified,
stored. This technically feasible option, opposed by the
plutonium industry, would be quicker, minimize transports, cost
less and be far more secure.
A briefing to media on this deadly cargo and the French
plutonium industry will be held in Paris on Tuesday 28 September
Notes: (1). The UK flagged nuclear transport ships the Pacific Teal and Pacific Pintail left the U.S. port of Charleston on September 20th.. See www.stop-plutonium.org for documents, briefings, photos and video clips in French and English.(2) Plutonium fuel is called mixed uranium-plutonium oxide, or MOX.(3). Greenpeace has tracked and documented plutonium transports in France over the past two years, including a protest that stopped a cargo of 150kg in the town of Chalon, south of Paris in 2003. In response, a secrecy decree was issued on 9 August by the senior defense official at the Ministry of Industry, D. Lallemand who reports directly to Prime Minister Raffarin. The decree seeks to prevent the public disclosure of sensitive information on plutonium transports. Last week Areva warned that the secrecy decree would apply to the U.S. transport.(4). English doc on page: http://greenpeace.datapps.com/stop-plutonium/en/documents_en.php3Plutonium Transports in France - Safety and Security Concerns over the FS47 Transportation Cask - Y. Marignac, X. Coeytaux, J. H. Large - 21 September 2004http://greenpeace.datapps.com/stop-plutonium/en/040921_JointAssessment_FS47.pdfIAEA Requirements on Design Basis Threat Assessment - Non Compliance ofEurofab Shipment from US to France on UK Vessel: Security and PhysicalProtection Issues J. H. Large, Y. Marignac - 20 September 2004 http://greenpeace.datapps.com/stop-plutonium/en/wise_large_report.pdf(5). Media briefing at: Hotel des Etats-Unis, 16 rue d'Antin, Paris. Time: 03.00 p.m.For background information see: http://www.stop-plutonium.org ; http://www.nuclearfreeflotilla.org/flotilla.htm