A shipment of 600 tonnes of depleted uranium has still left a nuclear gasoline plant in Germany bound for Russia, a Russian environmentalist team claims.
Twelve rail cars remaining the Urenco plant in the town of Gronau, near to the Dutch border, on Monday 22 June, in accordance to the Ecodefense team.
The waste will reportedly be moved by sea and rail to a plant in the Urals.
Urenco told the BBC its uranium would be further enriched in Russia and the procedure fulfilled environmental standards.
But environmental activists have long been concerned that Russia may become a “dumping floor” for radioactive squander from electric power plants.
Greenpeace protested previous 12 months after German media stories that Urenco had resumed shipping and delivery depleted uranium from Germany to Russia right after a gap of 10 decades. Russia had halted the follow in 2009 beneath stress from environmentalists.
On Monday activists in Germany posted movie on social media of what appeared to be the train en route from Gronau, as very well as photos of anti-nuclear protesters.
Why is the waste remaining despatched to Russia?
In accordance to the report (in Russian) by Ecodefense, some of the squander will be shipped by sea to Russia by way of the port of Amsterdam.
It will, the group states, finally get there at the Ural Electrochemical Mix in Novouralsk, 3,400km (2,500 miles) absent in Russia’s Ural Mountains.
The team thinks that virtually 3,000 tonnes of depleted uranium have by now been shipped from Germany to Russia this yr.
The Urenco spokesperson contacted by the BBC stated they could not give specifics of shipments for “safety and safety motives”.
But Urenco did affirm that it had a agreement with a business called Tradewill, a subsidiary of Tenex which is the overseas trade business of Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation.
Below the contract, it said, depleted uranium “tails” are sent to Russia for further more processing. The enriched uranium product then returns to Urenco although the “depleted portion” remains with Tenex.
“This is prevalent and legal apply,” Urenco claims. “We also keep depleted uranium at Urenco in Europe.”
Urenco, which is a partnership between German, British and Dutch providers, reported its representatives experienced inspected the facilities included in the procedure and experienced observed that they complied with “all internationally recognised logistics requirements, which consists of managing, storage, safeguarding and processing of nuclear substance, as properly as appropriate environmental expectations”.
Why are environmentalists so concerned?
1 of the big queries is how a lot of the squander is inevitably returned to Germany, with activists arguing that most of it stays in Russia.
There are also fears of toxic air pollution in the function of any spill.
On 15 June, a petition to quit the shipments was sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It was signed by environmental groups and activists from Russia, Germany and the Netherlands.
The petition calls for an conclude to the “colonial plan of going harmful cargoes from Europe to Russia’s Siberian and Ural regions”.
It argues that Germany has the technologies to offer with its personal nuclear squander and ends with the phrases, “Russia is not a dumping ground!”
Greenpeace argued final 12 months that Russia lacked a approach to utilise depleted uranium on a huge scale. The accusation was turned down by Tenex which informed Russian media it was “definitely inconsistent with truth”.