Nuclear operator 'in breach of environment law'

25th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

25 June 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The European Union research institute that owns and operates the nuclear reactor at Petten in North Holland is guilty of environmental breaches, a local newspaper reported on Friday.

25 June 2004

AMSTERDAM — The European Union research institute that owns and operates the nuclear reactor at Petten in North Holland is guilty of environmental breaches, a local newspaper reported on Friday.

The newspaper underpinned its claim by revealing that the Joint Research Centre (JRC) has been issued with a court summons. The Public Prosecution Office (OM) confirmed the summons, but refused to comment further, news agency ANP reported.

The JRC is reportedly accused of having illegal storage depots for gas bottles, illegally storing containers of radioactive material and other waste without a permit and the illegal storage of caustic soda.

Local newspaper Noordhollands Dagblad also claims that the JRC is guilty of handling poisonous chemicals at a location without a water-tight floor, the illegal storage of sulfuric acid, the storage of dangerous substances in rickety, fire hazardous buildings and the storage of chemicals and gases without proper labelling.

Environmental officers are reported to have discovered the breaches in and around the nuclear reactor at Petten on the North Sea in the Autumn of 2003. "It was a mess. Call it East European conditions," one source said.

The JRC neither confirmed nor denied the allegations on Friday. "But I can say we always try to have everything in order according to Dutch legislation," a spokesman said.

An OM spokesman that legal issues exist at present and that a summons had been issued to the JRC. But he said the summons had been withdrawn due to questions of an immunity protocol, which must first be resolved before the matter can proceed.

The centre which is financed by the EU and provides policy makers with academic data food, chemical products and health; environment and sustainability and nuclear activities and safety.

The JRC claims on its website that its neutrality, free from national and industrial interests, "is crucial in supporting policies that harmonise standards or regulate activities across the EU".

Meanwhile, the Noordhollands Dagblad said the Dutch Energy Research Centre (ECN), the Nuclear Research & Consultancy Group (NRG) and Tyco Healthcare are also based in the sand dunes at Petten.

Dozens of environmental breaches were allegedly discovered at these organisatons last year and prosecution proceedings have been launched. A pre-trial hearing has already been held.
 
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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