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[Press Release]프랑스 통과하는 고준위핵폐기물 수송 규탄(2011.11.19)

Joint press release from Sortir du Nucléaire(프랑스 탈핵 네트워크) with “SUD RAIL” ( a French rail union) – 19, November 2011


 
Last Minute information – high-risk transport from France to Germany leaving one day early
 
Transport of highly radioactive nuclear waste will again cross France from west to east, and part of Germany, exposing people and the SNCF agents to  nuclear risks.  Originally scheduled this Thursday, 24 November, the train from Valognes railway terminal has been advanced one day by AREVA and SNCF to try to avoid the huge mobilisation that is being prepared. The convoy should leave Valognes on Wednesday 23 at 14:36. The two routes planned by the authorities from Amiens remain unchanged, the convoy could head north towards Arras or south to Reims. Eleven containers carrying 301 barrels of high activity waste “re-treated” at the Areva plant in La Hague (Manche).

 
A rolling Chernobyl : Europe again under the threat of a nuclear convoy at high risk
 
The official inventory of radioactivity in the transport amounted to 3756.5 peta becquerel (PBq) or 3.75 billion billion Becquerel of Becquerel. For comparison, the convoy will transport many times the radioactivity released during the Chernobyl disaster [i]. Scattered in the environment, the radio-toxicity potential [ii] this convoy would be enough to poison the whole human race [iii].

 
Insufficient protections to transport highly radioactive waste
 
The radioactive waste packages will be shipped in shielded containers (CASTOR HAW 28 M), but the safety requirements of the transport imposed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are notoriously inadequate to withstand the assumptions of accidents and most serious attacks. [Iv].
 
And derailment of the radioactive train in a tunnel with two tracks, followed by a collision with a train loaded with flammable materials that would catch fire, could lead to the dispersion of radioactive waste [v]. An oil fire is nearly 1200 ° C in about twenty minutes in a tunnel, it can reach 1600 ° C and last for hours. Or the packing of the vitrified waste is designed to withstand a fire of 800 ° C for 30 minutes. Similarly, the packaging would not withstand certain terrorist attacks or an airplane crash. Finally, the convoy has to stop several times in rail yards where the service lines/rails are an opportunity for derailments considering the state they are in. The convoy will exceed 2000 tons and a track gauge can not be excluded. Far from wanting to be alarmist, we believe that these assumptions should be considered as no less than 5% of accidents are more serious than the scenarios and the Fukushima disaster showed that the unthinkable could happen.

 
SNCF workers dangerously exposed
 
Again, with this convoy, neither drivers, nor the other railway staff will be equipped with personal dosimeters, unlike police forces present in the train. With this very highly radioactive transport included in the 500 trains of radioactive waste that cross France each year, the railway workers are actually exposed and some may exceed the annual dose limit. As long as the SNCF will not make a real risk assessment, “SUD-Rail” calls all agents that can intervene in this process to exercise their right of withdrawal.

 
Transport without real insurance
 
If the radioactivity from the transport was dispersed in an accident or an attack, Areva would be discharged from almost all liability. The maximum financial liability is limited to Areva 22.9 million euros [vi]. Who can believe that such an accident with so much would radioactivity could cost so little? This transport will therefore run nearly without insurance.

 
One issue:  nuclear phase-out
 
The transport’s only reason for happening is a commercial transaction between Areva and the German nuclear industry, which sent the waste to France to get rid of it temporarily. In addition, it imposes on the heads of people a real sword of Damocles and presents the risk of radioactive contamination all over Europe.
 
Today, the French nuclear reactors annually produce more than two similar convoys of vitrified waste as unmanageable and dangerous, for extremely long periods of time. Continuing to do so is leaving radioactive waste for future generations and transporting them over such long distances is totally insane. It is urgent to phase out nuclear power and there are credible alternatives to nuclear power, based on energy saving measures and renewable energy, just waiting to be implemented.
 
Rather than placing risky bets waiting for an accident to happen, the French political leaders should instead stop the transport of waste and immediately commit to nuclear phase-out.
 

Information, routes and schedules (in French):

 
http://groupes.sortirdunucleaire.org/Transport-La-Hague-Gorleben
 
[i] According to a study by the Ministry of Energy of the United States, the radioactivity emitted during the Chernobyl accident is 1900 peta becquerels
 
Health and Environmental Consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident, US Department of Energy, 1987.
 
[ii] The radio toxicity is the radioactive toxicity that can a body can undergo when exposed to radioactive elements by ingestion or inhalation.
 
[iii] The toxicity of radioactive vitrified nuclear waste is measured in sievert and may be related to the electrical output of spent fuel. Vitrified radioactive waste represents tens of billions of Sieverts per year per gigawatt electrical (Sv / GWe.yr) when they leave the La Hague plant.
 
[iv] More on regulatory safety requirements for transport (in French):
http://asn.fr/index.php/Les-activites-controlees-par-l-ASN/Transports-de-matieres-radioactives/Les-colis2/Caracteristiques-des-differents-types-de-colis
 
 
[v] WISE Paris 2002, p.42-46, The transport of the plutonium industry in France.(in French)
“Les transports de l’industrie du plutonium en France.”
 
http://www.wise-paris.org/francais/rapports/transportpu/030219TransPuRapport.pdf
 
[vi] This regime is defined by the Paris Convention of July 29 1960, as amended, on Third Party Liability in the field of nuclear energy and the Brussels Supplementary Convention of 31 January 1963 as amended. These agreements were then introduced into the different national laws of signatory countries (France, Law No. 68-943 of 30 October, 1968 as amended, in Germany, the Act of 23 December, 1959 as amended).

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