[Date Prev][Date Next]
[cdn-nucl-l] European Commission Official Objects To Nuclear Phaseout
Posted in the Frankfurter Allgemeine on December 19, 2001 and at:
European Commission Official Objects To Nuclear Phaseout
F.A.Z. BERLIN. Two days before Germany's parliament decided to gradually end
the country's use of nuclear energy, a high-ranking official with the
European Commission warned the Berlin coalition that a key section of the
legislation violated a treaty.
In a Dec. 12 letter, the official took aim at the section of the law that
could remove a source of large anti-nuclear protests that require the
massive mobilization of police forces to contain: a ban on the transport of
nuclear waste for reprocessing in other European countries starting in the
middle of 2005.
But Francois Lamoureux, the general director for energy and transportation
in the Commission, said this restriction would actually violate an article
of a European treaty governing atomic energy. This article requires all
member countries to remove restrictions on the import and export of nuclear
materials, Mr. Lamoureux said.
Despite the warning, officials in the German coalition said they had no
legal reason to bring the legislative process to a halt last week, said a
spokesman for German environment minister, Jürgen Trittin of Alliance 90/The
Greens. Instead, officials have a month to respond to the objections.
But the spokesman noted that officials had already considered the issues
during their work on the legislation. "The conclusion was that the planned
legislation was determined to be in compliance with European law," the
A Christian Democrat, whose party rejected the atomic legislation,
criticized the government over the letter. "The government either knew
nothing, which would be bad, or did not pay attention to the letter, which
would be just as bad," said Kurt-Dieter Grill.
The shutdown, which received final approval in the parliament on Friday,
represents the culmination of more than two decades of work by Mr. Trittin's
party. Under the law, the country's 19 nuclear power plants will be taken
off-line over roughly the next 20 years.
The law allows each plant to operate for 32 years and produce a fixed amount
of energy. But producers can trade these quotas among plants, allowing older
facilities to be closed in order to extend the life of other sites. Because
of this flexibility, Mr. Trittin has said the last German plant will be
taken out of service by around 2020.
The section to which Mr. Lamoureux objected is designed to eliminate the
shipments to reprocessing facilities at Sellafield, England, and at La
Hague, France. Such shipments are often accompanied by protests. In
November, for instance, police detained 780 people and formally arrested an
additional 45 when Castor transports carrying 80 tons of waste were shipped
from La Hague to a temporary storage site at Gorleben in Lower Saxony. Dec.
© Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 2000
All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or
in part is prohibited.