Greenpeace blasts nuclear plant

Environmental group Greenpeace sharply criticised Swiss power stations Tuesday for using nuclear fuel from a Russian reprocessing centre at Mayak, claiming it was one of the world’s most polluted.

Greenpeace Switzerland said in an open letter to energy firm Axpo that executives had acknowledged “for the first time” that reprocessed nuclear fuel from Mayak was used in two nuclear power stations in central Switzerland.

Mayak in central Russia reprocesses spent nuclear fuel rods from Russian submarines and ice breakers and is regarded as “one of the most radioactive places on the planet,” according to the campaign group.

“The Swiss nuclear industry is complicit in grave harm not only to the environment but also human rights,” Swiss Greenpeace spokesman Nicolas de Roten told AFP.

De Roten described Mayak as second only to Chernobyl in terms of radioactive pollution with “frightening” cancer rates and childhood birth defects in the area.

The Greenpeace spokesman accused the two Swiss nuclear power stations of fuelling the health threat and called on Axpo to stop using reprocessed rods from Mayak.

Last month executive Fabian Jatuff from one of the power stations, Goesgen, acknowledged on Swiss television SFTV that fuel used there “was recycled at Mayak.”

Axpo jointly runs Goesgen and is sole operator of the Beznau nuclear power plant. The company told AFP that “based on first elements from our supplier, the uranium used in Beznau was notably reprocessed at Mayak.”

But it insisted that the Russian plant “works to international standards.”

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