Shipments cause green dilemma

30 April 2001

The red-green coalition government was forced into supporting the recent shipment of vitrified waste from La Hague to the Gorleben waste facility. Contracts between the German utilities and Cogema and BNFL in the 1970s and 80s were secured by intergovernmental agreements guaranteeing that the state of origin would take the waste back without obstruction. This has resulted in the strongly antinuclear government having to enforce the shipments, with many green party members resigning from the party in protest.

The shipment of vitrified waste arrived at the Gorleben waste facility at the end of March, after a four-day journey from Cogema’s reprocessing facility in La Hague. The transportation of six Castor HAW 20/28 CG containers involved one of Germany’s biggest security operations in peacetime.

An application to transport six more containers from La Hague later this year has been submitted to the Federal Office for Radiation Protection. A few days earlier the office had licensed 15 transports of used fuel elements from the Philippsburg, Biblis and Grafenrheinfeld plants to La Hague. One rail shipment has already taken place amidst some isolated protests.

Meanwhile it has also been announced that transport of used fuel from the Neckarwestheim plant to Sellafield in the UK will soon be resumed.

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