Greenpeace protest over nuclear fuel shipment from France to Japan - GulfToday

Greenpeace protest over nuclear fuel shipment from France to Japan


Greenpace activists protest in Munich, southern Germany, on Tuesday. AFP

Gulf Today Report

A shipment of nuclear fuel containing highly radioactive plutonium headed to the French port of Cherbourg overnight on Tuesday en route to Japan, according to environmental watchdog Greenpeace, which protested the transport.

Before dawn, an AFP photographer spotted the controversial cargo in transit under heavy security, including a convoy of police vehicles and officers on foot, in the northern town of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin.

Anti-nuclear activists, including from Greenpeace, demonstrated against the convoy at a traffic circle as the convoy passed.


Strong earthquake shakes southwest Mexico

Typhoon Conson hits eastern Philippines, causing power outages

Calling mixed oxide (MOX) nuclear fuel a "very dangerous material", Greenpeace said it should be considered "high-level waste" and not be permitted to leave the country.

Uranium reactors produce a mixture of depleted uranium and plutonium as a by-product of fission. These can be re-processed into MOX fuel, which can then be used in other reactors to generate more power.

This is set to be the seventh shipment of MOX from France to Japan since 1999.

Greenpace activists protest at the entrance of the International Motor Show held in Munich, Germany, on Tuesday. AFP

Greenpeace said two English boats will pick up the shipment from Cherbourg.

"The loading will happen on Wednesday ahead of departure to Takahama in Japan," Greenpeace said, adding that the cargo will power two nuclear reactors in the Japanese city.

Japan has few energy resources of its own and relied on nuclear power for nearly one-third of its domestic electricity needs until the 2011 meltdown at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima plant.

As of March, there were nine nuclear reactors in operation in Japan compared with 54 before the Fukushima accident.

Greenpace activists stand in a pond and hold placards in Munich, southern Germany, on Tuesday. AFP

Meanwhile, on Tuesday Greenpace activists have protest in a pond and hold placards calling "to stop driving in order to prevent climate change" at the entrance of the International Motor Show (IAA) held in Munich, southern Germany, on Tuesday.

Germany's revamped IAA auto show, one of the world's largest, from September 7 to 12, 2021 for a celebration of all things car-related, but climate concerns and pandemic woes threaten to spoil the party. Historically held in Frankfurt, the IAA will for the first time take place in the Bavarian city of Munich as part of efforts to revive the event.

In late 2019, Audi said it was planning to slash 9,500 jobs in Germany by 2025, while Daimler announced it would cut 10,000.

The threat of legal action against carmakers also hangs over the fair, after Greenpeace and Germany's DUH environmental group threatened last week to file lawsuits against Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler if they do not speed up efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

The campaigners want the auto companies to stop producing diesel or petrol cars by 2030, arguing that their current pledges for electrification are vague and non-binding.


Related articles