Greenpeace, regulators clash over La Hague

Group's "alarming discovery" of large radioactive particles dismissed as "explainable"

Greenpeace faced official opposition late last week in the latest twist in the group's ongoing campaign against La Hague nuclear reprocessing plant in Normandy, northern France. At a press conference held in Paris on Thursday, Greenpeace said that it had found radioactive particles over 63 microns in diameter at the end of the plant's waste discharge pipe at 28 metres depth off the coast. Under plant operator Cogema's discharge consent, no particle larger than 25 microns could be discharged, the group said, describing the results as "the most alarming discovery so far". Unlike in several other recent spats between Greenpeace and Cogema, in which the French authorities have appeared to have been wrong-footed by Greenpeace, the national nuclear safety inspectorate (DSIN) immediately rejected the group's charges. La Hague's liquid waste discharge "conforms to current controls," and the larger particles found by Greenpeace were probably from non-radioactive effluents such as rainwater runoff that had become "lightly contaminated" in the discharge pipe, the agency said.

Follow Up:
Greenpeace France, tel: +33 1 53 43 85 85; DSIN, tel: +33 1 43 19 36 36.

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