Thursday, October 07, 2010


Dozens of activists from Greenpeace hand delivered radioactive waste  to the door of the European Parliament today.The Greenpeace volunteers zoned off areas with tape before handcuffing themselves in rings around the containers.

Greenpeace brings tidings to European Parliament
MEPs and staff looked on as Greenpeace climbers scaled 16 nearby flagpoles to hold out banners reading 'Nuclear waste, no solution' below the flags of those countries with nuclear energy programmes producing the largest amounts of nuclear waste.

However, police decided to extend the cordoned-off area outside parliament by an extra 30 meters as a "precaution", and called in experts from the Belgian nuclear waste authorities to test the samples.

Greenpeace says the  waste is harmful and exceeds European environmental limits. It and other more harmful radioactive wastes produced by Europe’s nuclear reactors will pose a deadly threat to its citizens and environment for hundreds of thousands of years to come.  The European Commission is about to release a law telling us the problem has been solved. It believes storing nuclear waste deep underground in specially built facilities is a safe and long-term solution. Unfortunately, the Commission has been misled by its scientific advisers. 

The law - which MEPs are about to advise on - is nothing more than a public relations exercise designed to convince the people of Europe that the problem of nuclear waste can be solved. 

Greenpeace EU policy campaigner Jan Haverkamp told The Parliament web site the waste was collected from unsecured public locations: Sellafield beach in the UK; the seabed at la Hague in France; the banks of the Molse Nete River in Belgium; and from the uranium mining village of Akokan in Niger.

He said, "The aim of today's protest is to show that there is no solution to nuclear waste."

Despite their danger, Haverkamp said the materials are not classified as radioactive waste when discharged or left in the open environment as they stem from so-called 'authorised emissions' or from uranium mining.

"When collected and put in a container, the samples are classified as radioactive waste that needs to be guarded for centuries until decayed," he added.

"Other nuclear waste, such as that waste from decommissioning and spent nuclear fuel, is even more dangerous and must be stored for hundreds of thousands of years.

"There is no way of securing this waste over such long time periods with guaranteed safety, and it continues to pile up all over the world."

Greenpeace delivered radioactive waste to the door of the assembly in a bid to remind MEPs of the issue in their last plenary session before considering a new nuclear waste law.

The following is from Afrol News.


The activists from Greenpeace maintained they were taking the dangerous waste "back" to those ordering and producing it, as a reminder that "there is no solution to nuclear waste." This comes as the parliamentarians prepare to consider a new nuclear waste directive.

The radical environmentalist group, which is against nuclear energy production in general, lately has dedicated much work and research to Niger, a main uranium producer. Greenpeace holds it can document large environmental damage in connection with uranium production in Niger.

The 300 gram soil sample presented in Brussels were from "the uranium mining village of Akokan in Niger," according to the Greenpeace activists, where the French company Areva produces nuclear fuel for nuclear power stations worldwide.

The sample had shown several dangerous nuclear minerals. Alone the Uranium-238 levels "are six times over the Belgian limit," according to Greenpeace's own research.
Anti-nuclear activists took radioactively contaminated soils from Niger to the doorsteps of the European Parliament in Brussels, protesting the pollution by French company Areva in the West African country.

According to the group, Areva was making large revenues in impoverished Niger, while leaving the country with "centuries of environmental pollution and health risks for its citizens." Nuclear wastes often take centuries to break down to less polluting minerals.
"The uranium mining region in Niger is continuously polluted by radioactive dust, waste rocks and radon gas from mining operations and tailings," according to the group. "Greenpeace found not only contamination near one mining vent, but also in the streets of Akokan and on vehicles at scrap metal dealers."

lucky recipients of radioactive waste

Also Nigerien environmentalists, such as Almoustapha Alhacen, have complained over Areva's practices for years. Mr Alhacen has stated that "our waters are polluted, radioactive dusts blow over the desert and people get sick. While uranium mining bring working opportunities, it brings no infrastructure or health services."

Areva however holds it operates within Nigerien legislation and provides much needed employment and social infrastructure. "99 percent of AREVA's staff in Niger is from Niger," the company holds, adding that its subsidiaries are "organising important health and development programmes," including building schools, local economic development and training for disadvantaged young people.

The Greenpeace activists in Brussels also brought with them polluted soils from localities near nuclear plants in Scotland, France and Belgium. According to Belgian media reports, the potentially dangerous waste was removed by local authorities soon after the protest action.

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