Belgian court blocks nuclear waste shipments
BRUSSELS - A Belgian court said on Monday it had blocked the return of a consignment of reprocessed nuclear waste from France because Belgium had no rail accident provisions.
The court in Dendermonde, northern Belgium, ruled late on Sunday in favour of a Greenpeace petition to ban the shipment from Frances La Hague nuclear re-processing centre.
The secretary of the President of the Dendermonde court told Reuters: "The president said that Greenpeace was right." The environmental action group argued that Belgium had failed to implement emergency plans for an accident during transportation.
The shipment was to be the first of 15 to repatriate waste from Belgian nuclear power stations which had been sent to northern France for re-processing.
Greenpeace said the train was due to depart on Monday. Synatom, the nuclear power division of Belgian power utility Electrabel would say only that shipments were due to start in early April.
Belgium plans to take back 75 cubic metres (2,650 cubic feet) of "vitrified" waste - used, re-processed fuel stored in canisters destined for long-term storage. The waste will continue to be highly radioactive for hundreds of years.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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