According to Cogema, the vitrified waste represents 3 % of the spent fuel mass, and 99 % of its radioactivity. For the safety of the crew and to reduce the risks of sea pollution by sinking or by collision, the route must be as short as possible, passing through the Panama Canal.
Panama has accepted the transit of ships carrying spent fuel to Cherbourg for fifteen years. Today the “protests” against sending back the nuclear waste to Japan come essentially from countries who accommodate convenience flags and who put sailors, ports and oceans throughout the world in constant danger by authorizing the navigation of sub-standard ships run by inorganized crews often reduced to slavery. Thus the Philippines, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Antigua, Barbuda and Honduras share and relay the concerns of three organisations hostile towards returning the waste to Japan : Citizen’s Nuclear Information Center (Tokyo), Nuclear Control Institute (Washington) and Greenpeace.
In accepting the return of the waste, Japan plays a pioneering role and shows an international public-spiritedness on the question of waste which the German environmentalists and public should take note of.
Germany, who signed with France the contracts for the reprocessing of spent fuel (3030 tons), is behaving irresponsibly. The Germans, who gloat about having bins for plastic, bins for peelings and bins for metals, have found a nuclear bin which everybody agrees on including Greenpeace Germany: the La Hague peninsula.