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French court bars Australian nuclear waste

French court bars Australian nuclear waste
PARIS - Nuclear waste sent from Australia for reprocessing in France cannot be unloaded because it does not have proper authorisation, a French court ruled yesterday, backing a complaint by Greenpeace environmentalists. The decision means that the cargo of waste must remain aboard a ship which is presently docked at the northern French port of Cherbourg. Cogema, the worlds leading nuclear fuel reprocessor which was due to handle the Australian waste, said in a statement that it would appeal against the decision. Greenpeace told the court that Cogema had failed to apply for authorisation to import the cargo. It added that the company was not technically equipped to treat the waste at its plant in La Hague, which is close to Cherbourg. "If they want to treat it there then they will need fresh authorisation. That would require a public inquiry and would take months to pass," Bruno Rebelle, director general of Greenpeace France, told Reuters. Cogema said it had "all the authorisation necessary for the transport, unloading, reception and storage of this matter". The container ship Le Bougenais is carrying 360 so-called used fuel elements for reprocessing and return to Australia. The Cherbourg court warned Cogema that it faced heavy fines if it went ahead and unloaded the waste without approval. REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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