2 Mar 2009

Greenpeace dismayed at French shipment of nuclear fuel to Japan

3:08 pm on 2 March 2009

Greenpeace has expressed dismay that France may soon ship recycled nuclear fuel to Japan through Pacific waters.

The French nuclear group Areva has confirmed that it will be shipping a blend of plutonium and reprocessed uranium, or mixed oxide, that Japan, which has virtually no natural energy resources, wants to use as energy for the first time.

Areva says the ship will travel to Japan using three possible routes - via the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Horn or the Panama Canal.

However Greenpeace says that transporting mixed oxide is unsafe, insecure and unnecessary.

Its spokesperson, Bunny McDiarmid, says Pacific nations have a long history of opposing such shipments and for good reason.

"The problem with this is that the fuel that they're actually carrying is nuclear material and the International Atomic Energy Agency classifies this particular material as direct use in terms of nuclear weapons so it's a highly insecure material to be transporting around the world."

Bunny McDiarmid