Radioactive waste – Robin des Bois (Robin Hood) is calling for an intervention by the Australian and French governments

10 Oct 2015

Robin des Bois confirms the information from Greenpeace about the condition of the ship BBC Shanghai. Areva made a very bad choice in selecting her to ship back the Australian nuclear waste. These waste were produced at the La Hague plant near Cherbourg through the reprocessing of spent fuel from the Australian atomic research reactor HIFAR (High Flux Australian Reactor). The first shipment to France dates back to January 2000. At the time, COGEMA, Compagnie Générale des Matières nucléaires, which became Areva in 2006, put forward the French flag of the chartered ship, the Bouguenais, as well as the French nationality of 5 crewmembers and the presence of an officer in charge of the radioprotection on board. In spite of these positive elements, the choice of the Bouguenais was nevertheless already questionable (1).

The homeward ship is even worse. The BBC Shanghai, Antigua & Barbuda flag, was detained in Bilbao (Spain) with 13 deficiencies in August 2010, in Gladstone (Australia) with 11 deficiencies in March 2014, and in Honolulu (Hawai) with 8 deficiencies in March 2015. Grounds for the latter detention include failure to fully implement the ISM Code (International Safety Management code). Working conditions and health protection aboard were considered bad at Gladstone. 43 other technical deficiencies had been previously pointed out aboard the ship, for instance in Dunkirk in 2009 and in Montoir-de-Bretagne in 2004, both French harbours.

Considering the patent risks of radioactive waste maritime shipment, Robin des Bois is asking the French and Australian governments to go against the use of BBC Shanghai. The December 31, 1999 Decree on « the publication of the agreement between the Government of the French Republic and the Government of Australia related to the implementation of a recycling contract concluded between COGEMA and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation » planned that the waste will be returned to Australia «in a form enabling a safe shipment » (2). Robin des Bois considers a safe shipment is based on both the conditioning of the radioactive waste and the level of safety of the ship.

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BBC Shanghai (ex-Island Trader, ex-BBC Shanghai, ex-TLI Aquila, ex-BBC Shanghai, ex-Baltic Sea). OMI 9224623. Lent 100.6 m. General cargo. Antigua & Barbuda flag. Classification society Germaniser Lloyd. Built in 2001 in Tianjin (China) by Tianjin Xinyang Shipbuilding Heavy Industry. Owned by Briese Schiffahrts GmbH & Co KG (Germany).

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(1) “Le Bouguenais, sans ceinture ni bretelle“, 15 mars 2001

(2) Decree available in French on;jsessionid=70832ADA2BF2CA79FDA48681AEF8EB31.tpdila09v_1?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000000763289&dateTexte=&oldAction=rechJO&categorieLien=id&idJO=JORFCONT000000001755



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