Eastern Europe may become new nuclear waste depository

Publish date: February 23, 2010

EU – Nuclear waste from across the European Union may be shipped to Eastern Europe for burial. This is part of a project which could be backed by the European Commission this year.

The countries involved in the discussions are the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Lithuania, Slovenia and Bulgaria. They are due to reconvene in May to continue negotiations regarding transportation and storage of waste.

In Slovenia, a repository for low-level waste is under construction at Vrbina in the east of the country. Last summer, the World Nuclear Association confirmed that the local community agreed to accept its construction in exchange for €5 million per year in compensation.

Most EU countries, such as the Netherlands, lack storage facilities.

Many keep their material in interim storage facilities, such as Britain’s Sellafield plant, where about 5,000 half-tonne canisters of vitrified atomic waste are stored in concrete and steel chutes. Some of this waste will remain highly radioactive for up to 100,000 years.

“Radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel is a national responsibility, and it would be unethical for any country to export any radioactive waste to another country for disposal. Especially so if the hosting country is a poor country with lower safety standards than the exporting country”, says Nils Bøhmer from Bellona.

Read more in an article by The Times.

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