Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pass the unwanted plutonium: Weapons grade plutonium shipped from France to Japan today

Greenpeace protests shipment at Cherbourg- Photo courtesy of La Stampa
Weapons-grade plutonium has been shipped from France for use in a MOX reactor in Takahama City, Fukui that is not in service. The fuel will travel past over 70 different countries along the way, many of which have been protesting the transport. There has been no environmental assessment of the impact of the radioactive shipment and countries along the way have not been adequately consulted. (See Green Action statement against the shipment in Japanese)
Opposition to the shipment has been felt not only in Japan, but around the world. Green Action, Citizens Nuclear Information Center (CNIC), Joint Action for Nuclear Free Korea,   Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC), Physicians for Social Responsibility, Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE), and Friends of the Earth, are urging U.S. Secretary of State Senator John Kerry to take action to stop the shipment due to the following concerns:

  • No demand for plutonium fuel in Japan , no possibility for its use now, utility admits it is undetermined whether or not the fuel to be transported will be used ;
  • Japan continuing to acquire, stockpile and attempt to scale up its use of weapons-usable plutonium, including efforts to start-up and operate the Rokkasho reprocessing plant;
  • A flawed U.S. policy of supporting Japan’s plutonium program which does not contribute to, but on the contrary distracts from stabilizing on-going non-proliferation efforts in East Asia;
  • Japan’s program and its U.S. support undermining on-going U.S. Republic of Korea (ROK) Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (123) negotiations, including encouraging ROK to seek reprocessing and separated plutonium;
  • The impact of the shipment on exacerbating further tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in the East Sea/Sea of Japan, particularly in relation to the nuclear program of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK); and,
  • Inadequate transport security plan, including for passage through the Korea Strait.

 CORE’s spokesman Martin Forwood stated:
"Given that the upcoming shipment is being made at the request of AREVA because it has become tired of storing the fuel in France – and that KEPCO is reported as being undecided as to whether the MOX fuel will ever be used – these Barrow ships are doing little more than playing ‘Pass the Plutonium Parcel’ with a batch of unwanted and dangerous fuel."
 According to NHK world, on Monday French activists held protests against the shipment:
About 50 activists gathered at the northwestern port of Cherbourg on Monday... The activists wore headbands with the Japanese slogan saying "Stop MOX" and called for a halt to the delivery... A spokesperson for the activists said France is pressuring Japan by sending the fuel over when the country is trying to decide on new energy policies. 
For a video of the convey click here.

Videos of protests, courtesy of NHK here.

STOP MOX- Courtesy of Greenpeace Cherbourg Twitter Account

- Posted by Jen Teeter

No comments: