Dangerous New Initiatives on European nuclear waste

50 NGOs sign resolution against export of nuclear waste

Vienna, Brussels -- The UN nuclear organization IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and the EU are preparing “new solutions” for high-level nuclear waste. The IAEA is suggesting an international repository, while EURATOM research is focusing on the development of “regional repositories”. The only realistic site for both initiatives is located in Siberia. Nuclear Waste Watch and Friends of the Earth warn against the enormous danger this poses to the environment and the risk of proliferation of nuclear materials, caused by increased international shipments of highly radioactive materials. 50 NGOs have signed a resolution against these plans of exporting of nuclear waste from the country of origin.

Antonia Wenisch, Austrian Institute for Applied Ecology says: “Not only the IAEA is seriously examining what we could call the Siberia option. The EURATOM project SAPPIER is also looking into “regional” waste repositories, where countries should get together and find one repository. However, only Russian authorities have so far made a concrete offer to import foreign spent fuel, reprocess and store it.1 It is absurd to think that transports through the whole of Europe to Siberia would be a measure against proliferation. Experts agree that increased transports of nuclear materials actually increase the risk of theft and terrorist attacks. And it is not realistic to think that another European country besides Russia would offer to import and store spent fuel.”, Wenisch concludes.

Petr Holub, Energy Campaigner, Hnuti DUHA – Friends of the Earth Czech Republic says: "The plans to set up an international nuclear waste site in Russia is a cynical attempt to solve the biggest problem of the nuclear industry at the cost of environmental and public health in Russia. However, for the Czech nuclear industry this would be a dream come true: back to the Soviet model of sending Czech spent fuel to Russia. Attempts to establish a domestic final waste storage in the Czech Republic have failed so far because of the strong resistance of people living at possible sites. We hope the European Union will not support the Siberia option."

Silva Herrmann, Friends of the Earth Europe says: “The resolution signed by 50 NGOs is a very strong signal. FOEE and Nuclear Waste Watch will send the resolution to the members of parliaments and governments in the EU and ask them to stick to the “old promise” of not exporting nuclear waste to some poorer country with less public resistance. FoE groups in several countries are preparing major anti-nuclear activities for 2006 and 2007 – 20 years Chernobyl anniversary and 50 years of the EURATOM Treaty.”
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Notes for editors:
MNAs – Multilateral Nuclear Approaches. This means the monopolization of enrichment in a few countries (which have it now) plus reprocessing of spent fuel combined with final waste repositories.

see also:

factsheet Euratom
factsheet IAEA (offline)