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Radioactive waste

Safety second as MEPs gives thumbs-up to weak rules on nuclear waste

The European Parliament today gave the thumbs-up to weak EU rules on radioactive waste in its vote on new legislation proposed by the European Commission (1). The Greens have criticised the rules, which fail to address the concerns with radioactive waste. However, the group expressed its relief that MEPs rejected a proposal to allow the export of nuclear waste to third countries and supported a Green amendment to oppose the storage of nuclear waste in seismic areas. After the vote, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said:

"While the outcome of today's vote is certainly a lot better than was expected, the proposed rules remain far too weak and fall far short of addressing the very real concerns with nuclear waste. These rules aim to create perception that the problems of nuclear waste are solved but nothing could be further from the truth. Significantly, the rules do not apply to nuclear waste from military use, waste from uranium mining or spent fuel that is to be sent for reprocessing.

"It is a huge source of relief that MEPs rejected a proposal to export nuclear waste to third countries however. It is outrageous to suggest that, because we cannot solve the problem of nuclear waste ourselves, it is ok to dump our nuclear waste in other countries. Hopefully this vote will convince those governments that are pushing export as a solution to drop this approach.

"Importantly, a Green amendment calling for the storage of nuclear waste in seismic areas to be banned was passed. The ongoing disaster in Fukushima should be a wake-up call on the risks involved with storing nuclear waste and we welcome that MEPs have heeded this call."

(1) Cizelj report on the management of spent fuels and radioactive waste - consultation.