German nuclear transports conflict deepens

Bundesrat calls for EU-wide ban on shipments, criticises government approach

Germany's upper parliamentary upper house has further intensified debate on the transport of spent nuclear fuel by calling for a temporary EU-wide ban to be imposed. In a resolution voted on Friday, the Bundesrat called on the German government to demand action on the issue by the European Commission. Members of the opposition SPD-dominated chamber also disagreed with the government's view that spots of radioactive contamination found on rail containers of spent nuclear fuel posed no significant risk to workers or the public. They criticised its handling of the situation as more and more exceedences of contamination norms have become public knowledge since April. "People are shocked by the incidents; we do not believe there was no danger to health," a Bundesrat official told ENDS Daily. A spokesperson for the German environment ministry told ENDS Daily that the government "sees no need" to push for an EU-wide transport ban, but that environment minister Angela Merkel would back a Commission inquiry. An official in the EU energy directorate said the Commission would respond in the Autumn to a recent European Parliament resolution demanding an investigation. Although France decided to re-start its spent fuel transports last two weeks ago (ENDS Daily 1 July), the Netherlands has recently imposed a temporary ban following the discovery of contamination on transport containers on its territory.

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