Nuclear waste

France reaches deal to send back nuclear waste to Germany

A spent fuel pool at the nuclear waste reprocessing plant of Beaumont-Hague, northwestern France. (File photo/2018)
A spent fuel pool at the nuclear waste reprocessing plant of Beaumont-Hague, northwestern France. (File photo/2018) © AFP/Charly Triballeau

Paris and Berlin have reached an agreement in principle to allow the return of nuclear waste processed in France to Germany by 2024. 

Advertising

France will send Germany's remaining nuclear waste back to its neighbour by 2024 under a deal between the countries, the two governments said Thursday.

German energy firms sent the spent nuclear fuel to Cogema facility (now part of Orano) in Normandy for treatment and recycling from 1978 to 2008. Most of the treated waste has been returned and the deal concerns the remaining amount.

German energy firms had sent spent fuel from their nuclear reactors for treatment, but deals that would have kept the material in France until 2040 were considered as not complying with French law that requires treated waste be returned to its country of origin.

Germany will accept treated waste with a higher level of radioactivity than planned earlier, but that means the volume will be less and only one train shipment will be necessary instead of the 17 initially envisaged.

The train convoys were the target of protests and disruptions by environmental activists, requiring large police deployments.

The green light comes as Berlin approaches the 2022 deadline for shutting down its last nuclear power plants and the storage of nuclear waste is still being debated in Germany.

Read also:

(with AFP)

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning