Germany - Plutonium Investigation n°4/5

March April 1998                                        Editorial

Pass the hat round !

What is a recent figure for German plutonium stocks?

Germany belongs to a group of nine countries which agreed in December 1997 to publish basic information on their plutonium policy according to common "Guidelines for the Management of Plutonium". Therefore it seemed an easy question. It seemed.

Dieter Hornschild, a top official from the German Foreign Office argued in a letter dated 2 April 1998 that with the signature of the EURATOM Treaty in 1958, Germany does not have its own State System of Accountancy and Control and "therefore EURATOM transmits to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna [data on] the plutonium stocks and quantities as defined in the Plutonium Guidelines". Mr Hornschild states: "I regret not being able to respond to your request and suggest that you turn directly to EURATOM." That's what we did. Wilhelm Gmelin, director of EURATOM Safeguards declared over the phone: "We do not even process such information. We do not have the resources. We can hardly carry out our legally required tasks. We are poor !".

Intolerable ! Picture EURATOM inspectors passing the hat round outside the plutonium facilities which mobilize almost half of the EURATOM control budget. By the way, German utilities spent about $US 4 billion producing their current stockpile of plutonium, safeguarded by EURATOM. You got a buck ?

The IAEA does not seem to be better off than EURATOM. A note on the bottom of the IAEA communication on management of plutonium dated 16 March 1998 reads: "For reasons of economy, this document has been printed in a limited number".

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"Consigne en cas d'accident"
Préfecture du gard- Site de Marcoule
flyer distributed by the Prefecture to households in the surrounding area of the nuclear center of Marcoule.