Greenpeace files complaints on Areva nuclear leaks

Thursday, July 31, 2008

PARIS (Reuters) - Greenpeace France filed two complaints against nuclear power company Areva over an uranium leak this month that triggered public outrage, as well as older leaks that were later found on the same site.

On July 7, Areva accidentally poured around 18 cubic meters of liquid containing uranium, which was not enriched, onto the ground and into the river at the Tricastin nuclear site, prompting local authorities to launch an official enquiry.

"Greenpeace hopes that all the light will be shed on the radioactive leak of this month but also on older leaks and their origin," the group said in a statement on Thursday.

"We especially want responsibilities to be clearly established and sanctions to be taken," it added.

Greenpeace lodged the two complaints with the public prosecutor of Carpentras in southeast France. If the complaints are upheld, Areva could face fines of up to 75,000 euros ($117,200) per complaint and up to two years of imprisonment for the manager in charge.

Areva was not immediately available for comment.

French anti-nuclear group Sortir du Nucleaire also said this week it was launching legal action over the Tricastin incident.

The second complaint Greenpeace launched concerned the discovery of radioactive waste buried in a hill under a layer of earth at Tricastin, which had also leaked.

"This storage, in unacceptable conditions on the Areva site, shows neglect and an unlawful storage of radioactive waste," the group added.

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