First quarter of 2001

Jospin and Schröder agree to resume nuclear transport

WISE-Paris, 5 February 2001

[Posted 05/02/2001]

Germany and France will resume the transport of irradiated nuclear fuels, as soon as Germany takes back a return shipment of reprocessing waste at the end of March or early April. After two and a half years of interruption, following the Contaminated Shipments affair revealed by WISE-Paris (see Special Transport of Investigation Plutonium), the final political agreement was reached between French Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, and Germany's Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, on 31 January 2001.

It remains to be seen what attitude the German authorities will adopt concerning the quality control procedures brought into question by the Belgian government. On the initiative of its Energy Secretary, the Belgian government has requested, in particular, that an active sample be taken from vitrified, high-activity waste, and that a program of analysis and non-destructive testing far more sophisticated than the present one be put in place.

Below is the full text of the communiqué of 31 January 2001 from the Prime Minister's Office, translated by WISE-Paris.

Resumption of transport of nuclear waste between France and Germany

On 31 January 2001, Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder agreed to the resumption of transport of nuclear waste between their two countries.

Under this agreement, based on the conclusions of the working group set up after the Vittel Summit of last November, a first return shipment of vitrified waste to Germany will take place at the end of March or beginning of April 2001. The normal operation of transport to France of depleted fuels from German nuclear power plants will then resume. The depleted fuels will be processed at La Hague and then returned to Germany.

Another shipment to Germany of vitrified waste from reprocessing will take place before the end of this year. It is agreed that other shipments will be scheduled each year, at a rate of two per year.

A working group of officials from both countries — with the participation, if necessary, of representatives from the enterprises involved — will undertake regular examination of the organization of future shipments.

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