The waste is a by-product of
plutonium separation from Japanese irradiated nuclear fuel at the
French state-controlled COGEMA La Hague reprocessing plant. This
waste is among the most radioactive material ever produced - the
glass blocks are in fact so radioactive that a person standing
within one metre of an unshielded block would receive a lethal
dose of radiation in less than one minute. If released into the
environment, the waste would be a deadly environmental pollutant
for hundreds of thousands of years.
"We applaud this court
ruling," said Martin Prieto of Greenpeace in Argentina.
"The ruling is clearly in line with Argentine Constitution
and recognizes developments in international law which seek to
protect the environment and public health. The Argentine
President, Mr De la Rua, should take immediate action to force
this deadly shipment out of our waters and should support our
neighbours in doing the same. Ultimately, we hope that this ruling
will encourage and enable the government to take a leadership role
in seeking to ban these hazardous cargoes at the regional and
international levels as well."
Greenpeace has repeatedly called on
the Japanese government to stop its controversial program to
procure a massive stockpile of weapons-usable plutonium. The
program, which currently generates no electricity, can not be
justified on economic, energy-production, safety, security or
nuclear non-proliferation bases.
In addition to this high level waste
shipment currently off the coast of Argentina, Greenpeace revealed
on Tuesday that secret preparations for a plutonium fuel shipment
have been finalised in France and Britain. This shipment is due to
depart, with its cargo of nuclear weapons-usable material, as
early as the middle of next week. The route remains secret,
however past shipments of plutonium fuel (MOX) and high level
nuclear waste have gone via the Caribbean and Panama, South Africa
and the South Pacific, and most recently South America/ Cape Horn.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
- Juan Carlos Villalonga, Greenpeace Argentina, mobile (+54) 11 51
- Martin Prieto, Greenpeace Argentina, mobile (+54) 11 44 280 597
- Luisa Colasimone, Press Office, (+54) 11 41 444 835
Interviews are available in Spanish, English, Portuguese, French,