Third quarter of 2001

The German scrap MOX imports case : Court decides it’s competent

WISE-Paris, 19 August 2001

[Posted 21/08/2001]

Rejecting the opinion of the Prefect of the Manche Department and that of the Public Prosecutor, the Cherbourg District Court (Tribunal de Grande Instance) declared it was competent to judge on the merit the dispute opposing the NGO Manche Nature to COGEMA, concerning imports of scrap resulting from the manufacturing of plutonium fuel (MOX), at the former German Hanau factory.

Manche Nature had a writ issued against COGEMA for breach of the Bataille Act of 30 July 1991, carrying on the procedure before the very Court which non-suited the NGO CRILAN and Didier Anger last March (CRILAN request for injunction rejected on formal grounds). Manche Nature asked the Court to "verify the non-existence of the authorizations COGEMA prides itself on" (1) and the breach of the Bataille Act, given the fact that the waste imported from Hanau and kept at La Hague is "simply stored" and not subject to a reprocessing license.

Following this writ, on 22 June 2001, the Prefect of Manche sent a declinatory exception to the Public Prosecutor, in which he "asked the judicial court to declare itself unqualified", because the authorizations, supposed to have been granted, are administrative acts. COGEMA and the Public Prosecutor in his conclusions fell in with this argument.

Not only did the Court decide in favor of Manche Nature, specifying that the dispute is basically to know whether or not COGEMA is in compliance with the law of 30 December 1991, but it also intends to examine the NGO's request "to ban the organizing of any new operation of imports of contentious MOX materials", as long as this is not in disagreement with administrative decisions. Several convoys of this type of scrap are yet to be delivered to La Hague.

Today, there are two pending procedures against COGEMA regarding nuclear material imports to La Hague. On 25 June 2001, the Cherbourg Court had actually passed judgment in which it declared itself competent to try the dispute opposing COGEMA and Greenpeace concerning imports of Australian irradiated fuel, again against the Prefect's opinion (Australian fuel at La Hague: COGEMA under pressure from the courts).


  1. Cherbourg District Court, Tribunal de Grande Instance de Cherbourg, Judgment of 30 July 2001. Excerpts, translated by WISE-Paris

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