Ireland quizzes France, US on nuke boat route

20th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

DUBLIN, Sept 20 (AFP) - Ireland is seeking assurances from the United States and France that proposed transatlantic nuclear shipments will stay away from its waters, Environment Minister Martin Cullen said on Monday.

DUBLIN, Sept 20 (AFP) - Ireland is seeking assurances from the United States and France that proposed transatlantic nuclear shipments will stay away from its waters, Environment Minister Martin Cullen said on Monday.  

"Given the possible risk and the public concern posed by international nuclear shipments, information is vital," Cullen said.  

"It is necessary for coastal states such as ours to be fully informed regarding such shipments.  

"In doing so, our experts can assess the risk of such shipments and take appropriate measures in relation to emergency preparedness and response should we consider it appropriate," Cullen said in a statement.  

Ireland, with New Zealand, Peru and Chile, is co-sponsoring a proposal on Monday at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seeking detailed information for coastal states on all movements of nuclear waste in international seas.  

While nuclear states argue that shipments use international waters, the Irish government believes that in a changed world, nuclear shipments cannot be shrouded in secrecy.   Ireland is seeking assurances in advance of a shipment of plutonium from the United States to France.  

The shipment arises from the US-Russia agreement on the decommissioning of nuclear weapons with weapons grade plutonium being shipped from the United States to France for fabrication into MOX nuclear fuel for use in US nuclear reactors.  

The Irish government has continuing concerns in relation to the safety, security and environmental risk from an accident or incident involving nuclear shipments.  

In acknowledging that international law provides for rights and freedoms of navigation, Cullen emphasised that these rights and freedoms do not come without responsibilities.  

"The government continues to be concerned that Ireland is fully informed to ensure that all necessary protections are in place against possible accidents or incidents.  

"I have asked my officials to seek assurances from the US and France that the shipment will not enter Irish waters."  

Earlier this month, two nuclear transport ships, Pacific Teal and Pacific Pintail, left Britain for Charleston in the United States.  

In Charleston, the plutonium will be loaded onto the ships in casks specially designed for transporting nuclear materials. The cargo will be protected by armed guards and the two ships are equipped with naval guns.  

The plutonium will be brought to France where it will be transformed into nuclear fuel at the COGEMA sites of Cadarache and Marcoule.

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

 

 

 

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