Despite the close attentions of coastguard ships and helicopters, not to mention an anti-terrorist task force, 30 Greenpeace activists in inflatable boats intercepted a British Nuclear Group ship this morning as it headed towards Sweden to pick up a cargo of nuclear waste. The intense level of protection around the Atlantic Osprey meant that its arrival was only delayed by an hour or so before docking at the nuclear facility at Studsvik, where it will pick up 4.8 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel, due for reprocessing at Sellafield's MAGNOX plant.
This breaks a 20 year commitment from the Swedish government not to reprocess waste, and the plan also begs a serious question of our ministers - why are we importing other countries' waste into the UK anyway? The government has been very keen to stress the supposed benefits of new nuclear plants both in its original energy review and the re-run it's been forced to hold following our successful injunction. Conveniently though, there's been little or no mention of either nuclear waste disposal or reprocessing - the implication being that these issues are close to being solved, which is most definitely not the case.
There's loads of evidence that this shipment is illegal because it breaks Swedish laws regarding the export of nuclear wastes, so we have good grounds for our appeal against the initial decision to allow the shipment. In the meantime, we'll also be trying to get the governments of Norway and Denmark to put pressure on the Swedish government to keep the nuclear waste in Sweden and not dump it in the UK.