The two-and-a-half year freeze after radioactive traces were found on the surface of special rail containers, first in France (ENDS Daily 7 May 1998) and then in other countries (ENDS Daily 26 May 1998). Fuel shipments from German power stations to BNFL's French competitor Cogema were due to restart by now, but have been held up by a row between the two governments (ENDS Daily 13 November).
The fuel shipment reported by BNFL today was sent from the Dodewaard nuclear power station in the Netherlands, initially by rail and then by sea from Vlissingen to Barrow. It went ahead after a protracted legal battle with environmental groups, who demand an end to nuclear reprocessing and dry storage of spent fuel instead (ENDS Daily 1 December).
"Restarting transports from Europe is a major milestone for our customers and BNFL," said the company's head of transport Alastair Thomas. "We look forward to extending our transport services to our customers throughout mainland Europe in the near future."
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