Shipment term

Unable to stop Russian uranium shipment

BERLIN — The German government said on Monday it could not prevent a shipment of Russian uranium destined for French nuclear power plants from being processed at a site in Germany because atomic fuel is not covered by EU sanctions. European Union against Russia.

Environmentalists have called on Germany and the Netherlands to prevent a shipment of uranium aboard the Russian ship Mikhail Dudin – currently moored in the French port of Dunkirk – from being transported to a processing plant in Lingen, near from the German-Dutch border.

“We have no legal basis to prevent the transport of uranium from Russia, because the sanctions imposed by the EU due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine exempt the import of nuclear fuel… to Russia. ‘EU import bans’, said a spokesman for German Environment Ministry, Andreas Kuebler.

The security requirements for the shipment were reviewed and found to meet requirements, meaning German authorities had to approve it, he added.

“You can imagine that we view these uranium shipments very critically because of the Russian invasion, but also because of Germany’s nuclear exit in general,” Kuebler told reporters in Berlin, noting that the government worked to shut down the processing plant in Lingen and a second in the nearby town of Gronau.

The Lingen plant is operated by Framatome, majority-owned by French utility giant EDF.

Environmental groups, including the Russian organization Ecodefense, have urged European countries to end all purchases of uranium from Russia and cited the British government’s recent decision to prevent the Mikhail Dudin from dumping nuclear waste near of Liverpool for treatment.

A handful of anti-nuclear activists staged a protest near processing plants on Monday, with placards bearing slogans such as “No money for [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war.”

Government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann said Germany was constantly considering whether sanctions should be extended, but declined to say whether there were any concrete plans to get the EU to block nuclear fuel imports. .

Environment Ministry spokesman Kuebler noted that Russia was not the only supplier of uranium.

“Canada would be another possibility, for example,” he said.

EDF, which manages all French nuclear power plants, did not directly answer questions about the latest delivery. But in a press release, the company specified that its uranium supplies were “guaranteed by long-term contracts for periods of up to 20 years, with a policy of diversification in terms of sources and suppliers”.

The French government, which owns a majority stake in EDF, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

France is heavily dependent on nuclear power for its electricity needs, while Germany plans to shut down its last three reactors this year and was until recently dependent on gas imports from Russia.

Information for this article was provided by Sylvie Corbet of The Associated Press.