Switzerland issues nuclear transport permit

Energy ministry "satisfied" with safety measures, allows spent fuel rods to be shipped to France

The Swiss energy agency has issued its first permit for the transport of spent nuclear fuel rods across the country since it decided in June to allow such permits to be awarded again (ENDS Daily 8 June). Last Friday the environment ministry said the nuclear safety authority had investigated the causes of the radioactive contamination which led to a ban on nuclear transports in May 1998, and had produced a catalogue of safety measures. The ministry said it was satisfied that the "frequency and degree of contamination could be significantly reduced" by implementing these measures. Resumption of transport fuel rods was "supportable" under these circumstances, it said. The permit has been issued to the Gösgen power station for the transport by rail of 48 spent fuel rods to the French nuclear reprocessing plant at La Hague. The journey is planned to take place during the last week in August. An energy ministry spokesperson told ENDS Daily today that this did not mean that nuclear transports had been given the go-ahead in general. "A permit has to be sought for each transport," he said. "We hope that we will be able to issue permits in future but first we will have to see if this transport goes well."

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