Fourth quarter of 2000
Belgian Secretary of State for Energy accuses the nuclear lobby of 'sabotage
on the Government's decision'
Hereafter follows the full press release sent out by the Belgian Secretary
of State for Energy and Sustainable development on 12 October 2000.
CABINET DU SECRETAIRE DETAT ALENERGIE
ET AU DEVELOPPEMENT DURABLE
rue des Colonies 56, 1000 BRUSSELS
Tél. 02/227.07.00 - Fax 02/219.79.30
Return of nuclear waste: the nuclear lobby attempts
to undermine the Belgian government's decision
Background: facts about the return of Belgian nuclear
waste from La Hague, France
On 5 April 2000, a consignment of 28 canisters of
nuclear waste from the Cogéma plant in La Hague (France) arrived,
via the Mol/Dessel rail station, at Belgoprocess, an industrial subsidiary
of ONDRAF**. This consignment, the first of a series,
was accepted by the Belgians, but only under strict conditions fixed
by their government. In a decision made on 3 March 2000, the Belgian
government expressed a wish that, before programming of any further
transport, strict quality inspections should be carried out on the waste
received in Belgium.
On 15 March 2000, the KERN approved the
following terms in a letter addressed by Mr. Olivier Deleuze to
"The government has decided to mark its agreement
by accepting handover and transfer of responsibility for the first
28 canisters of vitrified waste arriving in Belgium in this first
The government has judged it necessary to complete
the physical checks carried out on the canisters with destructive
testing of active samples already available or to be made available
to the Belgian state by Cogéma. In the event of differences
in results of analyses, additional conditions may be fixed for subsequent
The Belgian government will take charge of the
canisters of vitrified waste in Belgian facilities designed for
the purpose, so long as the possible additional conditions are complied
The physical checks will be carried out by an independent
body chosen by the Belgian Secretary of State for Energy and Sustainable
Development, Mr. Olivier Deleuze. Checks will relate to compliance
of the packages with the acceptance criteria established by ONDRAF**,
and also to the behaviour of the waste over time, in order to guarantee
safety of its disposal in the future. "
These terms were also used in a letter, of 24 March
2000, sent to Greenpeace and signed by Guy Verhofstadt and Olivier
In the light of this decision, Mr. Deleuze wrote to ONDRAF, on
6 July 2000, requesting that it should not gives its assent to the
second consignment for the time being. Initially, this was, correctly,
communicated to Synatom, by letter on 7 September 2000.
However, it now appears that ONDRAF nevertheless wishes to authorise
transport, thus opposing the checks decided by the government and
thereby reinforcing the misgivings of the Belgian population with
regard to the nuclear lobby and its lack of transparency.
Olivier Deleuze observes that the development of the programme
for monitoring of nuclear waste is being systematically undermined
by the nuclear lobby which views such a programme as unacceptable
interference by the political authorities in its own private domain.
Press information: Olivier ARENDT 02/227.07.41
*SYNATOM s.a.: Subsidiary of Electrabel
and Tractebel, it is responsible for providing fissile material for
Belgian nuclear power stations.
** ONDRAF: Belgian national body
responsible for management of radioactive waste.