Pres release by Greenpeace
|Dannenberg, Germany (ots) Measurements by
Greenpeace have shown that the new French containers (TN85) for nuclear waste release
considerably more neutron radiation into the environment than the old Castor containers.
At a distance of 14 metres the neutron radiation that escapes from the new containers with
the highly radioactive waste still amounts to 4.8 microsievert per hour and is thus 500
times higher than the background neutron radiation that was measured previously. Only a
few hours before, the natural background neutron radiation was only about 0.009
microsievert per hour. The radiation thus exceeds those of the Castor transport in 2005 by
another 40 per cent. Even though the radiation level probably is within the limit values,
a person in the direct vicinity of the containers would reach the permissible annual dose
just within a few hours. So far Greenpeace has conducted measurements on nine out of the
eleven containers for nuclear waste.
"The irradiation of the accompanying personnel, of the residents and of the protesters is irresponsible", Heinz Smital, Greenpeace´s nuclear expert, is quoted. "The scientific findings regarding the negative effects even of low-level radiation on humans is becoming ever clearer. At the same time care is not taken to reduce the radiation emitted by the nuclear waste containers."
The radiating material that will in future return from the French reprocessing plant La Hague will be significantly more radioactive and develop more heat. Therefore new containers will have to be used. They have to be approved by the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz - BfS). It just cannot be that savings are made on the part of the containers at the expense of safety, Smital is quoted.
It is the task of the containers to protect the general public, not to expose them unnecessarily to increased radiation. The Federal Office must ensure this, else it will act negligently.
The official limit value for nuclear waste containers is specified for a distance of 2 metres. Since Greenpeace was only allowed to measure at a distance of 14 metres, the values can be compared only indirectly. The value for the biologically harmful effect of radiation is specified in microsievert.
The nuclear waste containers are to be transported today into the above-ground intermediate storage facility in Gorleben, Germany. Gorleben is set to become the future final storage facility for highly radioactive nuclear waste. Since the salt dome has contact with layers that carry ground water, it is unsuitable for storing nuclear waste. Greenpeace demands to stop the transport of highly radioactive nuclear waste until it is clear where the highly radioactive nuclear waste can be safely deposited in the long run. In addition, the service life of nuclear power plants must be reduced so that not even more nuclear waste is produced.
Attention editors: Please direct all queries to our nuclear expert Heinz Smital, Tel. <49> (0)171-8780 803, to the press officer Patric Salize, Tel. <49> (0)171-8780 828. For photos of the measurements please contact the Greenpeace picture editors, Tel. <49> (0)40-30618 376. Internet: www.greenpeace.de
Bearbeitet am: 10.11.2008/ad
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