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Shoot: Sampling at Cogema La Hague Reprocessing Plant

GP0IA
Greenpeace revealed that Cogema, the operator of the state-owned La Hague reprocessing plant, has installed inadequate equipment off the plant's discharge pipe, 30 metres under the sea, in a flawed attempt to prevent the routine discharge of radioactive particles into the ocean. Levels of radiation on the outside of the two steel chambers are so high (up to 500 micro-sieverts each hour) that a no-dive zone was self imposed by Greenpeace's radio-protection officer. The data have been collected during diving operations conducted from the Greenpeace ship MV Sirius on the discharge pipeline, and have been summarised in a briefing paper by Dr John Large, an independent consultant engineer on board the Greenpeace ship.

Unusually low tides have left exposed a highly radioactive discharge pipe on a public beach near the la Hague plutonium reprocessing plant on France's northwest coast. Greenpeace has warned that the pipe and its discharges pose unacceptable hazards to the environment and public health and has called on the French government to stop pumping radioactive waste into the sea.


In October 1997, Cogema denied that there was any significant problem with the routine discharge of radioactive particles into the ocean. The recent findings reveal a clandestine and incompetent attempt to collect the radioactive discharges, in a way that will not stop dangerous particles from entering the environment and potentially contaminating the human food chain.

Greenpeace has written to the French Government requesting immediate clarification of the situation, and has called for an investigation into Cogema's current discharge operations. Greenpeace has also been seeking confirmation from the French Government on the start of the public consultation process for Cogema's nuclear site and discharge licences, which are now over 12 months overdue.

"The French Government has utterly failed to control Cogema and to apply strict regulations on its operations. One cannot help wonder if the so-called safety authorities have colluded with Cogema as they have done over contaminated nuclear waste transports", said Burnie. "The authorities must immediately prove that they have no tolerance for nuclear companies breaking the law and act to stop this daily contamination".

In less than one month, the French Government along with 14 others from countries in the North-East Atlantic will meet to discuss ocean pollution issues, including the need to reduce and eliminate radioactive discharges into the sea. Greenpeace is demanding that the OSPAR nations commit to an immediate halt to all discharges from plutonium reprocessing plants, and in particular that the French Government commits to zero discharges in advance of the Ministerial meeting, which will be held in Portugal from July 20th to 24th.
MV Sirius at Cogema Plant in France
1 Jun, 1998
MV Sirius at Cogema Plant in France
Diver sampling Cogema nuclear outflow.
1 Jun, 1997
Diver sampling Cogema nuclear outflow.
Cogema nuclear processing plant's outflow pipe. end of pipe underwater.
1 Jun, 1997
Cogema nuclear processing plant's outflow pipe. end of pipe underwater.
Radioactive waste samples Actions
1 Jun, 1997
Radioactive waste samples Actions
Diver sampling Cogema nuclear reprocessing plant outflow. La Hague, France
1 Jun, 1997
Diver sampling Cogema nuclear reprocessing plant outflow. La Hague, France
Diver sampling Cogema nuclear processing plant outflow.
1 Jun, 1997
Diver sampling Cogema nuclear processing plant outflow.
Radioactive Waste Samples Actions (Europe : 1997)
1 Jun, 1997
Radioactive Waste Samples Actions (Europe : 1997)
Radioactive waste samples Actions
1 Jun, 1997
Radioactive waste samples Actions
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