International organizations gathered in Stockholm for the conference “Coping with Nuclear Waste” 27-29 of April 2007 - denounce dispersal of radioactive materials from nuclear power and weapons!
Sixty representatives from environmental groups from non-government and government organisations across Europe and North America met in Stockholm to devise strategies and share experiences to stop new nuclear power plants and the spreading of nuclear waste into the water, air and everyday household items.
In the US there has been considerable opposition from the public, the steel and nuclear workers unions and the metal industries to the deregulating of nuclear waste. Nuclear weapons sites are currently prohibited from sending radioactive metal into commercial recycling. Apparently there is no ban on radioactive metal entering the metal market in Sweden and Russia?
Studsvik is taking radioactive metal from the decommissioning of European nuclear power reactors, melting and diluting it with clean metal, providing a cheap way for the nuclear industry to get rid of its waste. Studsvik provides the path from regulated to the open market. Is this “the Swedish solution?”
A couple of days ago Studsvik published its new contract with Sellafield – the single worst source of deliberate radioactive releases into our environment. Studsvik’s local director in the UK, Mark Lyons promises to “reduce the volume of scrap metal going to the low level waste repository in West Cumbria by 95 per cent – and to recycle it into the international metal market” (1).
Even more spectacularly, Mark Lyons explains that some metal which “…may need further treatment will be transported overseas to Studsvik’s facilities in Sweden” (2).
This would mean more hazardous sea transports through the narrow and heavily trafficked straits between Denmark and Sweden, already accident prone – and further endanger the millions of people living along the coast. Sharp protests against these types of transports have already been put forward by KIMO International, an association of 116 coastal local municipalities, who have called into question both the quality of the ship (an ex roll on roll off ferry) and flasks used to transport ultra hazardous nuclear cargoes by sea in Europe (3). Participants at this conference join in the demand that nuclear waste should stay in the countries which produce it – not be transported back and forth between countries, putting everyone at risk.
The Baltic Sea is already the most radioactive body of water in the entire world, according to the regional scientific working group of HELCOM (4), so why would anyone risk making matters worse, by adding more dangerous radioactive transports through these troubled waters.
“If the Swedish government is serious about it’s concern for the Baltic Sea, it’s time to stand by it’s promises of never allowing the import of nuclear waste materials from other countries and to understand, that no more nuclear facilities should be placed at the ocean of the Baltic Sea – whether these be final repositories for highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel, as presently being planned by both Sweden and Finland, or new nuclear power plants by the sea, as is being planned by both Finland and Russia,” said Göran Bryntse, Chairman of the Swedish Anti-nuclear Movement.
If Sweden will not refrain from dangerous sea transports and new nuclear establishments by the Baltic Sea – why should Finland, Russia or anybody else?
The conference participants made the following statements:
We call on the nuclear industry to keep radioactive waste materials isolated from humans and from the biosphere, and keep it out of commerce – so that it does not end up in our water, or in toys, cars, buildings, roads, zippers, tableware, etc.
We call on Studsvik (Sweden) and Ecomet-S (Russia) to halt all nuclear melting and mixing of radioactive metals for release into the open metal market.
(4) HELCOM MORS (Monitoring of Radioactive Substances) 2006: “The levels of anthropogenic radionuclides are higher in the Baltic Sea than in any other water bodies around the world.” Quote from “Hazardous Substances in the Baltic Sea – Draft HELCOM Thematic Assessment in 2006” (page 11).