New controversial nuclear waste shipments from Germany to Russia approved
Thousands of tons of nuclear waste will be transported from Germany to Russia through the Netherlands next year after getting approval from Dutch nuclear safety authorities, the daily newspaper Tageszeitung (taz) reports. Twenty shipments will head from the fuel rod production plant in Gronau, Germany and a facility in Pierrelatte, France to Russia via the port of Amsterdam between next year and June 2023, the report says.
Anti-nuclear activists have repeatedly protested the transport of depleted uranium by the British-Dutch-German group Urenco which runs the Gronau facility, accusing it of trying to cheaply dispose of unwanted radioactive waste, which it reportedly declared as "recyclable material.” Environmentalists claim the uranium waste is stored in unprotected containers in the open air, raising the risk of cancer for people living in the vicinity. Environmental NGO Greenpeace Russia last year said that about one million tonnes of depleted uranium had already piled up in Russia.
Nuclear waste exports to Russia had started again after a 10-year hiatus and up to 12,000 tonnes of depleted uranium could be exported to the central Russian city of Yekaterinburg, according to media reports. Critics call the city a “cheap dump” for the waste material. Germany is set to close its last nuclear power plant in 2022 and is aiming to find a final repository within its own borders by 2031.