Greenpeace response to Areva’s MOX transport: A Travelling Security Threat

Press release - 6 March, 2009
Greenpeace demands an immediate stop to all shipments of plutonium Mixed-Oxide (MOX) fuel, following Areva’s announcement today of the largest ever MOX shipment’s route from France to Japan.


About1.8 tonnes of plutonium in Mixed-Oxide (MOX) fuel, enough to make 225 nuclear weapons, will travel to Japan via the Cape of Good Hope and the south-west Pacific Ocean. It is due to arrive in Japanese waters by late-May. This shipment represents an immediate risk of contamination to coastal communities along the route should anything go wrong.

The shipment, which left yesterday evening, should be immediately recalled. It is vulnerable to accident and terrorist attack and stands as a reminder to all governments along the route of the unacceptable risks nuclear energy poses to the world.  

 “MOX shipments are simply not worth the risk,they are a major terror target and pose an enormous threat to the environment of all countries en route,” says Dr. Rianne Teule, nuclear campaigner for Greenpeace International. 

On the anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entering into force, the trade in nuclear bomb grade material between France and Japan seriously jeopardises the international non-proliferation regime. As a result of civil nuclear programmes, the world now has more weapons-usable plutonium in so-called commercial use than in all nuclear weapons arsenals put together.  

Nuclear power will provide too little, too late to address climate change and it is a dangerous distraction from the real solutions to avoiding runaway climate change. 

 “The nuclear industry is in no position to provide a solution to anything, certainly not climate change. It is not even able to solve its own problems of radioactive waste, nuclear proliferation and escalating costs. We need real, proven solutions now.  An energy revolution based on renewable energy and energy efficiency is the best way to address the threat of climate change and enhance energy security,” added Teule.

The dangerous transport is another attempt of the dying industry to survive. As the French nuclear industry and President Sarkozy aggressively try to sell the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), the latest in nuclear reactors, under the false premise of a climate change solution, they conveniently ignore the very real dangers associated with it, including health risks and potential terrorist attack. EPR reactors are meant to run on 50-100% MOX fuel.

Other contacts: Dr Rianne Teule, Greenpeace International Nuclear Campaigner, +31 (0) 650 640 961Beth Herzfeld, Greenpeace International Press Officer, +44 (0) 7717 802 891