Fourth quarter of 2002

US NGOs Target COGEMA’s Environmental Record

A recent publication from the Safe Energy Communication Council (SECC) compiles “incidents of concern of activities involving COGEMA that jeopardize human health and the environment” (1) and cases of COGEMA unconformity with international regulations.

WISE-Paris, 8 October 2002

[Posted 10/10/2002]

The 12-pages SECC paper entitled “The COGEMA File” accuses the company to ignore international agreements in order to develop its industrial activities. COGEMA’s rather original interpretation as “zero impact” approach of the “zero release” policy outlined in 1992 by the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic, is described as unacceptable from a US regulatory standpoint.

The author argues that COGEMA denies or rejects scientific findings on health and environmental impacts of its reprocessing activities such as childhood leukemia studies (2) or the WISE-Paris STOA Report. (3)The COGEMA File” complains about “the culture of secrecy” of the company and its lack of respect with regard to French regulations. Various cases are discussed such as the delayed closure of the Cadarache MOX plant, MOX quality-control problems or the import of foreign nuclear waste to La Hague.

SECC states in the report, that even if COGEMA itself is not implicated in the US military plutonium disposition program, its “culture of secrecy, disregards for international laws and scientific standards and a record of contamination, flawed quality-control, dumping, leaks and fines is likely to permeate” its US subsidiary, COGEMA Inc., which is in charge of the US MOX program development. SECC concludes that the US Department of Energy should not award contracts to COGEMA.


  1. SECC, “The COGEMA File”, 1st October 2002,
  2. The COGEMA File” citations:
    - D. Pobel, J-F. Viel: “Case-control study of leukemia among young people near La Hague nuclear reprocessing plant: the environmental hypothesis revisited”, British Medical Journal, No. 7074 Vol. 314, January 11, 1997
    - A-V Guizard, O. Boutou, D. Pottier, X. Troussard, D. Pheby, G. Launoy, R. Slama, A. Spira and ARKM; “The incidence of childhood leukemia around the La Hague nuclear waste reprocessing plant (France): a survey for the years 1978-1998”, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, July 2001, Vol. 55, pp. 469-74
  3. M. Schneider, et al.; “Possible Toxic Effects from the Nuclear Reprocessing Plants at Sellafield (UK) and Cap de La Hague (France)”, commissioned by the Scientific and Technological Options Assessment Office (STOA) of the European Parliament, WISE-Paris, October 2001,

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