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The French nuclear industry (Total has 100 percent of Total Nucleaire
and is a leader in the world, european and french nuke lobby) provides
some 80 percent of ALL French electricity, and problably runs through
this notebook right now. Like Total Group says, they want to be in your
home, in your car, at your office and with you EVERYWHERE. Its the Total
code for the world of Total. Isn't it nice? I always preferred sailing.
Its time I live on my sailboat and get out of France!
You should know. Information about Total's favorite company -COGEMA.
Total holds 10 percent, and Cogema
holds 4 percent, according to recent press, and was 5.5 percent
1997-1998, according to Total company reports. In 1993, Serge Tchuruk,
Total CEO and mentor to current CEO Thierry Desmarest, concluded the
Total and Cogema, giving Cogema Total's uranium assets, in exchange for
10 percent of Cogema; Cogema also got 4.3 percent of Total's capital
There is a lot of news here today over this Cogema nuke radioactivity
leaks in France. Environmental Minister Ms Dominique Voynat of the Green
Party, nemesis of the secret nuke lobby, is in an uproar. InfoBirmanie
says we cannot count on her support, unfortunately, because she is part
of the official ruling French government.
That seems most strange. I should think we should get her support.
Surely she is no friend of the oil, gas, nuke lobby.
French Minister of the Envirnoment,
EUROBURMANET (dawn star)
LEAKED DOCUMENT REVEALS SECRET NEGOTIATIONS TO DUMP SWISS NUCLEAR WASTE
RUSSIA BY COGEMA (France), BNFL (UK)
Greenpeace condemns plans as illegal and immoral 12 January 1999
ZURICH Greenpeace today released a leaked document revealing secret
negotiations between industry officials to allow the dumping of Swiss
nuclear waste in Russia. Greenpeace has condemned the plans as "illegal"
and "immoral" and called for both the Swiss and Russian governments to
intervene and discontinue the negotiations.
The document, leaked to Greenpeace in Switzerland, outlines negotiations
held in Zurich on September 17, 1998, between representatives of the
nuclear utilities (EGL and NOK) and Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy
(MINATOM) officials and their comm ercial agents
(Techsnabexport, Russia and Internexco, GmbH, Germany).
In the "Protocol of Intentions", the Swiss officials request that the
agreement permit them to send some 2,000 tonnes of highly radioactive
fuel from Swiss reactors to Russia during the next 30 years, up to 2030.
Swiss officials stipulate that this nuclear waste will either remain in
Russia and/or could be reprocessed in order to yield plutonium which
be returned to Switzerland while the nuclear waste generated by the
reprocessing would remain in Russia.
Even if the fuel is not processed for plutonium extraction, the Swiss
requests that they be able to access Russian plutonium stocks equivalent
those contained in the Swiss fuel. Finally, the Swiss side requests that
the Russian accept storage of up to 550 cubic meters of highly
nuclear waste due to be returned to Switzerland from France and Britain
between 1999 and 2010 as part of plutonium reprocessing contracts signed
between the Swiss utilities and the French state-controlled pl utonium
company COGEMA, and UK equivalent BNFL.
In recompense for these services, the Russian side, represented by the
Deputy Director of Minatom, N. Yegorov, asks for undisclosed financial
payments plus the opportunity to fabricate fresh uranium fuel for the
Swiss nuclear reactors.
Following on the Russian sides statement that Russian Federation law
be "...amended accordingly or special decisions are taken on a
level", it is agreed that "The parties have come to an understanding
strict confidentiality must be ensured for the current and future
negotiations, with respect for both the fact of such negotiations and
preliminary agreements reached by the Parties."
"An agreement containing these terms would be illegal under current
law, and the negotiating Parties even state this in their Protocol,"
Sergey Tsyplenkov, Executive Director of Greenpeace Russia. "We believe
that the Russian Duma and th e Government should intervene to stop these
negotiations and take all steps necessary to ban waste dumping and
plutonium reprocessing in Russia."
"It is unimaginable that Swiss industry officials think that their
waste should be dumped in Russia under a clandestine and illegal
agreement", said Stefan Fueglister of Greenpeace Switzerland. " The
government and Swiss public must stop this i mmoral attempt to exploit
Russian poverty and lack of regulatory control. The Swiss government
also stop these negotiations otherwise they would be permitting their
nuclear materials to be transferred to facilities which are not under
international s afeguards regime and they would effectively be
operations of secret, closed Russian facilities at which nuclear weapons
materials continue to be produced."
It would also appear that the negotiating Parties have sought to keep
talks secret from the US government which maintains non-proliferation
controls over Swiss nuclear materials of US origin and/or which have
used in US-origin nuclear techno logies.
Accordingly, under the US-Switzerland Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, the
U.S. prohibits Switzerland from transferring nuclear materials to third
parties without permission. Given that the US has sought to end
reprocessing in Russia in order to guarantee nuclear non-proliferation,
this agreement would appear in direct conflict with U.S. foreign policy
would not receive their permission.
Greenpeace has promised to campaign in Russia, Switzerland and the US in
order to block the waste dumping/reprocessing agreement.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
- Sergey Tsyplenkov - Moscow - 70 95 257 4116
- Stefan Fueglister - Zurich - 41 1 447 41 50, or mobile 41 79 222 82 59
(for interviews in German only)
- Damon Moglen - Washington DC - 1 202 319 2409
- Copies of the leaked documents (2 pages) can be obtained from the
Greenpeace International Nuclear Campaign Website:
and upon request from Greenpeace Communications in Amsterdam, t. 31 20
52 49 546
- Read the Swiss Waste briefing paper
COGEMA VIOLATING RADIOACTIVE DISCHARGE LICENSE - GREENPEACE CHARGES
18 November 1998
PARIS - Cogema's plutonium reprocessing plant at La Hague, in Normandy,
frequently breaching its license limits for radioactive discharges into
air, Greenpeace charged today, following aerial sampling around the
plant during the past three weeks.
Samples collected by Greenpeace and analysed at the University of Ghent,
Belgium, have led the environmental organisation to conclude that limits
set in the facilities 1980 license are violated on a regular basis.
The license (1) specifies maximum weekly average concentrations of
gas permitted in the local environment around the la Hague facility,
lies 15km from the port of Cherbourg.
The 1980 license requires that weekly average concentration of
gas do not exceed 1850 Bq/m3 (Becquerels per cubic metre) at ground
in the vicinity of the plant. Greenpeace sampling operations around la
Hague detected levels at 56,000 Bq/m3 of the gas Krypton-85, for a
of over three hours. Based upon this result, a U.S. computer model,
shows that weekly averages can be up to 10,000 Bq/m3 under certain
conditions common in Normandy. As a result of Greenpeace's Kr-85
the IPSN (Nuclear Safety Protection Board ) recently released data that
showed levels in the range of 47,000 - 300,000 Bq/m3 at ground level.
"We consider this violation with the utmost seriousness. The limits set
Cogema's license were clearly intended to let Cogema reprocess and
discharge as they wished, and yet current atmospheric discharges of
radioactivity by the La Hague plutonium plants are so large and
uncontrolled they clearly are illegal," said Jean-Luc Thierry of
Global background concentrations of Kr-85 are around 1.2 Bq/m3, due
to releases from reprocessing. Cogema's discharges have risen sharply in
the last 7 years and are still rising.(2) Greenpeace believe that
licence violations will only increase in frequency over the next years
to their planned increase discharges of Kr-85, and other isotopes.
"The data published by IPSN 2 weeks ago (3) shows that the government
agencies, including OPRI (Radiation Protection Authority) have known
this issue for at least a year and therefore have known about the
violation of limits by Cogema. Greenpeace is demanding immediate
clarification by relevant agencies, and that the French government
intervenes to force Cogema to comply with its regulatory obligations. We
not believe Cogema are concerned about public health or the environment,
this is clearly indicated by the violations of their already generous
license limits for radioactive emissions. However, there is no
justification for government agencies with an express duty to protect
environment and public health continuing to ignore Cogema's illegal
discharges, they must act now !" said Diederik Samsom of Greenpeace
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
- Greenpeace France Jean-Luc Thierry : 01 5343 8585
- Diederik Samsom : Greenpeace International - 00 31 6531 06595 (mobile)
- Shaun Burnie : Greenpeace International - 00 31 65350 4730 (mobile)
1 - The relevant article from the 1980 license, Article 5 is available
2 - The amount of Kr-85 gas discharged is directly proportional to the
burn-up rate of the reactor spent fuel (length of time used in reactor),
and the cooling time between discharge from the reactor and
3 - IPSN Document available on request.
GREENPEACE WARNS EU EXPANSION PROCESS COULD LEAD TO MORE PUBLIC MONEY
WASTED ON FAILED EU NUCLEAR SAFETY PROGRAMMES
16 November 1998
Strasbourg -- Greenpeace today demanded the immediate cessation of all
aid programs for NUCLEAR safety in Eastern Europe following the release
the EU Court of Auditors report which found the programs had completely
failed. Instead, they called for the money to be spent on immediate
and decommissioning programs for high-risk nuclear reactors in Eastern
Greenpeace also warned that the EU may continue wasting taxpayers money
propping up dangerous reactors in Eastern Europe through the
aid for countries attempting to join the EU. During 2000 to 2006 ECU
billion has been earmarked for structural funds and technical aid
the European Union. A significant part of this is amount is planned to
spent for energy projects. In particular, reactors in Lithuania,
and Slovakia have been identified as 'high risk' by the European
Commission, yet will get funding for the same kind of failed 'safety'
programs that have been condemned by the Court of Auditors.
"The EU's efforts to improve nuclear safety in Eastern Europe have been
exposed as an expensive farce. What is clear now is that the only way to
improve nuclear safety is to immediately set a date for closure of the
dangerous reactors and make this a condition of accession to the EU",
Tobias Muenchmeyer of Greenpeace International.
The EU Court of Auditors report, which had full access to the accounts
the PHARE and TACIS nuclear safety program echoes what Greenpeace has
saying for years - that the impact of the generous EU expenditures for
nuclear safety measures is almost zero. Furthermore, although it is the
declared aim of the safety programs to close the most dangerous plants
one reactor (Chernobyl unit 1) has been permanently closed during those
years. There are many equally dangerous reactors still operating in
"We are renaming the 'nuclear safety programs'; 'nuclear danger
because they are not increasing the safety of these plants at all" said
Tobias Muenchmeyer of Greenpeace. "Furthermore, in many cases they have
actually seen dangerous nuclear reactors operating for longer than they
would have without the EU aid."
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
- Tobias Muenchmeyer, Greenpeace International. +31 20 523 62 57.
(1) - the High risk reactors are the oldest and most dangerous of the
soviet designed reactors. These include, Bohunice v-1 in Slovakia,
in Lithuania and Kozloduy 1-4 in Bulgaria.
NEW DATA ON AERIAL DISCHARGES REVEAL HIGH LEVELS OF RADIOACTIVE CARBON
CONTAMINATION AROUND THE FRENCH REPROCESSING PLANT
12 November 1998
PARIS - Greenpeace today released sample data for radioactive Carbon-14
contamination around the Cogema reprocessing plant at La Hague that show
worrying levels of this significant isotope.
The University of Groningen in the Netherlands (1) analysed the samples
organic material such as herbs and leaves, collected on different
around the plant in September. The results show increases of between 2
7 times above concentrations that are normally present in the
"It is clear that the whole region around La Hague, and especially the
under prevailing wind directions, is significantly contaminated with
radioactive carbon," said Diederik Samson of Greenpeace. "Official
authorities have known about the C-14 problem, but not taken any action
toprevent further contamination."
"The conspiracy of inaction and incompetence between the plutonium
and the regulators continues at the expense of people and the
Carbon-14 loses half of its radioactivity in 5730 years (half-life) and
easily absorbed and stored by all living organisms, from plants to
because carbon is the basic component of all living cells. The C-14
releases not only affect the population around the plant, but contribute
the artificial radiation dose of the world population. The Cogema funded
agency CEPN (Centre for Nuclear Safety) identified C-14 as the most
important isotope in reprocessing discharges, in terms of human health
Cogema, however, does not give any official discharge data and has
increased its C-14 discharges. Estimated discharges from C-14 were 5.8
(TeraBecquerels - 1,000,000,000,000 becquerels) in 1990, by 1996 this
risen to 19 TBq a year. A dramatic three fold increase in just 7 years.
The health impact of radioactive carbon from reprocessing has been
acknowledged for decades but was only very recently taken into account
the French authorities. The problem of C-14 was mentioned last year in a
report from the radiation safety authorities OPRI (Institute for
Protection)which stated that there was a lack of data and that the local
impact of C-14 'is significantly underestimated '. OPRI recommended a
regular monitoring program. However, Cogema still does not release data
its discharges and a comprehensive monitoring program is still not in
place. The special French regional investigation commission, Groupe
Radioecologie Nord Cotentin, complains in its report from December 1997
that 'there is a lack of data on C-14 '.
The only data available before Greenpeace did its research were some
samples taken by OPRI at the end of 1996. From this data OPRI concluded
that the dose to local population could be up to 50 microSievert due to
gaseous C-14 alone (2). This contrasts sharply with the Cogema figure of
microSievert. Greenpeace sample results, taken two years later and
than OPRI's by 50-70%, can only add to the concern.
"It is clear that Cogema's estimates of the radioactive dose to the
population are totally wrong". said Samsom of Greenpeace. "All the data
have collected so far lead to the same conclusions : impacts are
underestimated and comprehensive data is not available. For an industry
that has been polluting the environment for over three decades that is
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
- Greenpeace International website:
- Diederik Samsom: Greenpeace (31) 20 524 9513 or (31) 65 3506 595 (mob)
- Jean-Luc Thierry : Greenpeace office number/33 60876 3301 (mob)
- Jon Walter: Greenpeace Communications, Amsterdam - 31 20 523 6222
1 - Copy of the results from University of Groningen are available upon
request. Greenpeace sampled in September 1998 to check for C-14 levels
around the plant. Greenpeace sampled on basically the same locations as
OPRI sampling and found values of between 500 and 1770 Bq/kg (3 samples,
control sample (that showed the 250 Bq/kg). The analysis is done by mass
spectroscopy by the Isotope Research Group of the University of
2- French government submission to the Oslo Paris Commission (OSPAR)in
September 1997, available upon request
LA HAGUE RADIOACTIVE AIR 90,000 TIMES HIGHER THAN BACKGROUND -
RELEASES FIRST SAMPLE RESULTS
9 November 1998
La Hague, France -- Greenpeace today announced that it had discovered
levels of aerial contamination in the surroundings of Cogema's plutonium
Greenpeace sampled the air at an altitude of between 60 and 120 metres
up to 1km from the plant's main discharge stacks. These samples were
analysed by the University of Gent, Belgium, and were found to contain
90,000 Bq/m3 of the radioactive noble gas Krypton-85 (Kr-85). This value
contrasts sharply with the world average radioactivity in air of between
1-2 Bq/m3. In a computer model developed by NOAA (Air Resources Lab.)
Greenpeace showed that Cogema's aerial discharges contaminate the air
throughout most of Western Europe, eventually this air moves around the
A Greenpeace sampling team has been on site for two weeks to conduct a
research programme into the aerial releases and consequent contamination
the environment by Cogema's plant. Using professional kite flyers and
industrial-sized kites with samples pipes, Greenpeace was able to sample
air at various altitudes and wind directions around the facility. After
days of training and tuning the equipment, the first sample was taken on
Wednesday, November 4th.
"Our first result is shocking, when it is considered that the background
level is 90,000 less, but its only a small first step in trying to
understand more about atmospheric contamination from Cogema's plutonium
factory," said Diederik Samsom of Greenpeace.
"Reprocessing is such a polluting industry that Cogema has turned the
air radioactive," said Samsom.
Cogema is known to be the single largest source of aerial radioactivity
the world and is rapidly increasing its gaseous discharges.
Last year Cogema discharged up to 300.000 TBq1 (TeraBecquerel) of
radioactivity into the atmosphere. This is an increase of nearly 500% in
less than 8 years.
No data on levels of Kr-85 in the air has been made public by Cogema,
claims that they monitor extensively around the plant. However three
ago, two weeks after Greenpeace began sampling for Kr-85, the French
Government Institute for Nuclear Safety Protection, (IPSN) distributed a
preliminary paper containing figures on Krypton-85 contamination in the
environment. The IPSN figures on Kr-85 contamination on ground level,
confirm the worrying picture of large contamination levels in the air
around La Hague. Greenpeace is calling for full public disclosure of
monitoring data for contamination around the Cogema plant and wider
"Very little data has ever been published about atmospheric radioactive
pollution from reprocessing plants. And yet millions of cubic metres of
contaminated air is pumped out every day. Cogema is conducting a nuclear
experiment on the environment and human health," said Samsom.
Spent fuel from French nuclear power plants, as well as overseas clients
Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Japan is reprocessed
at the la Hague plant.
A dispersion model released by Greenpeace reveals how the discharged
radioactivity spreads over large parts of Europe, covering France, UK,
Belgium, Netherlands and Germany with radioactivity levels sometimes up
100 times or more above background.
"Those countries that dumped their waste on France are now receiving
of it back through atmospheric pollution. They are as responsible for
environmental problem as Cogema," said Samsom.
"It's clear that this dangerous nuclear cycle can only be stopped by
The French Government has announced that it intends to hold a public
consultation for a new license for Cogema's radioactive discharges, and
site license, but after more than one year there is still no date for
such a process.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
- Diederik Samsom, Greenpeace International +31 653106595 (mobile)
- Jean-luc Thierry, Greenpeace France +33 608763301 (mobile)
- Shaun Burnie, Greenpeace International +31 653500782 (mobile)
VIDEO, PHOTOS and AERIAL DISCHARGE COMPUTER MODEL available through
Greenpeace Communications, +31 20 5236222
(1) Hard copies of the NOAA air dispersal model are available upon
You can view the file here as well as on Greenpeace International's
Nuclear Campaign website (thispm)
(2) TBq/m3 translates
US$1.4 BILLION IN NUCLEAR REPROCESSING CONTRACTS FOR BRITAIN AND FRANCE
LIKELY TO BE CANCELLED FOLLOWING GERMAN GOVT DECISION TO PHASE OUT
16 October 1998
Amsterdam -- Nuclear reprocessing contracts worth at least US$1.4
with British and French companies are likely to be cancelled as a result
the new German Government's historic decision to phase-out nuclear
power, Greenpeace said today.
Although the terms of the Franco/German and Anglo/German contracts have
been kept secret, Greenpeace estimates that the post 2000 nuclear
reprocessing contracts, worth US$750 million with British Nuclear Fuels
(BNFL) and US$650 million with its French equivalent Cogema, would be
cancelled under the terms of the German Government's new policy.
"As Germany is the largest foreign client of COGEMA and the largest
European client of BNFL, this decision may well be the deathknell of
commercial nuclear reprocessing," said Heinz Laing of Greenpeace
"Germany will now be in a position to ban rather than fan the global
commerce in weapons-usable plutonium."
Laing said that given that the contracts will be terminated due to a
in the German law, it is expected that the German utilities will not
to pay any penalties for terminating the contracts.
"The signal to all BNFL and Cogema clients in the Netherlands,
Belgium, Japan, Spain, as well as in France and the UK, is stop
reprocessing," said Shaun Burnie of Greenpeace International. "This
decision by the German Government will lead to less environmental
pollution, less weapons-usable plutonium, and significantly less profit
for the plutonium industry."
Cogema's UP3 reprocessing plant at Cap la Hague, Normandy, has contracts
with utilities from Germany (44% of tonnage contracted), Japan (39%),
Switzerland (7.3%), Belgium (6.6%) and The Netherlands (2%).
BNFL have foreign contracts with the following, figures are tonnes spent
Germany (1587 tonnes)
The Netherlands (53t)
The SPD/Green policy commits the new government to altering the German
Atomic Law's provisions for the disposition of spent nuclear fuel
discharged by the country's reactors. In the past, the Law allowed the
German utilities to export highly radioactive spent fuel to Britain and
France as part of "reprocessing" contracts with the British and French
state-controlled plutonium companies, BNFL and Cogema.
Under the new SPD/Green policy, to be initiated within the first 90 days
the new government, the German utilities will instead be forced to
store their spent fuel at the reactor site where it is created. The new
coalition government state that they will give the German energy
twelve months within which to propose how and by when to completely shut
down Germany's 19 nuclear reactors.
"This new policy is genuinely 'historic'," said Laing. "With wisdom and
courage, we may well be able to enter into the next millennium by making
nuclear power a discarded error of the 20th Century. We also
the new government on ending the past German policy of dumping its
waste on France and Britain under cover of plutonium reprocessing
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
- Shaun Burnie: Greenpeace International - +31 20 523 6257
- Heinz Laing: Greenpeace Germany - +49 40 3061 8310
Visit Greenpeace International's Reprocessing campaign
NUCLEAR INDUSTRY: 17 MILLION US$ COGEMA OPERATION FAILS TO RECOVER
RADIOACTIVE WASTE OFF NORMANDY COAST
29 September 1998
Cherbourg -- Greenpeace has denounced as "ill-conceived" the plans by
French plutonium company COGEMA to dredge the seabed around its La Hague
reprocessing plant. The Director of the state-controlled plant, Michel
Pouilloux, has admitted that the 100 million francs (US$17 million)
operation will not even recover all of the dangerous radioactive waste
dumped on the seabed as part of COGEMA's pipe 'cleaning' operations in
the summer of 1997.
Yesterday, Michel Pouilloux told a meeting of the local Public
Commission that COGEMA "will not be able to recover all of the
He sought to blunt criticism by saying that an underwater wall had been
installed in order to prevent radioactive sediment, illegally dumped by
COGEMA in the summer of 1997, from washing away.
Greenpeace has dismissed as "absurd" Pouilloux's claim that the wall of
sandbags would prevent further radioactive particles being swept away by
the area's fierce currents.
Immediately following the Commission meeting, the Greenpeace ship
which is in the area to monitor the controversial clean-up operation,
travelled into the exclusion zone around the end of the discharge pipe
assess COGEMA's claims regarding the new retaining wall. A team of
inspected the so-called 'wall of sand bags' and found that it was no
than a layer of haphazardly placed sand bags that have been left on the
sea-floor for a number of months in order to mark the dredging area.
"This is yet another hollow publicity statement deployed to mislead
into believing that COGEMA has the situation under control", said Mike
Townsley of Greenpeace. "There is no wall, only a single and incomplete
perimeter of small sand bags designed to mark the area of the worst
contamination. It will in no way prevent further dispersal of the
"The estimated 500 kg of radioactive scrape which was pushed onto the
floor by COGEMA in August of 1997 is only the tip of the radioactive
iceberg. If the French Government is serious about forcing this state
controlled company to clean up its act then it must demand an end to all
radioactive discharges, and not just a limited and flawed proposal to
dredge the small area of sea bed in the immediate vicinity of the
discharge pipe", added Townsley.
Late on Monday afternoon, the future of the dredging operation was
called into question as COGEMA's dredging barge left the area bound for
port of Le Havre. The 100 metre long barge, which is to operate a
mechanised shovel at 30 metres depth against some of the strongest
in Europe, has been rumoured to be experiencing technical difficulties.
Despite COGEMA statements that the barge has left due to bad weather, it
also believed that the equipment will need to be modified in Le Havre.
addition, after more than a year of planning, French nuclear regulatory
authorities, DSIN and OPRI, have still not provided COGEMA with a permit
for the dredging operation.
While welcoming the admission that a clean up operation is necessary,
Greenpeace has demanded that no further work take place until a full
Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposal is carried out.