German power firms seek nuke transport get-out

Embarrassed nuclear generators call for third party to manage fuel shipments

German nuclear power generators are seeking an end to their involvement in the shipment of irradiated fuel elements to nuclear reprocessing plants in France and the UK, it has emerged. In a letter sent to environment minister Angela Merkel this week, the head of Munich-based Bayenwerk utility said that he and colleagues believed that a current national ban on shipments could resume if an independent firm took over from NTL, which is jointly owned by nuclear generators. Ms Merkel imposed the ban this spring after spots of radioactive contamination were discovered on fuel transports, sparking a public furore and heartsearching on the part of the nuclear generators (ENDS Daily 7 May). A spokesperson for another nuclear generator, RWE, told ENDS Daily that creating an independent transport could help the industry regain public trust. He confessed that "with hindsight it would have been better to report all the [contamination] incidents," which came to public attention only in April but had been occurring for many years.

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