EU tightens nuclear waste disposal rules

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EU tightens nuclear waste disposal rules

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The EU has agreed tougher rules on the disposal of nuclear waste.

The new pan-European plan will mean radioactive rubbish from the 27 member state bloc’s near 150 reactors will, from 2015, have to be buried in secure bunkers.

Transport of radioactive material to other countries will still be allowed but under much stricter conditions. Receiving nations will have to prove they have deep underground repositories.

Environmentalists are unhappy. Mark Breddy from Greenpeace said: ‘‘The real issue here is the country that produce the waste aren’t going to deal with the waste and they are trying to make it somebody elses problem by exporting to Russia.’‘

Despite such concerns, Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the European Union says his country has a good track record when it comes to dealing with radioactive material.

“The nuclear waste is not only an environmentally hazardous product, it is also a very profitable line of business, handling nuclear waste is very important and sensitive issue and it should be properly regulated and properly monitored,” he said.

Since Japan’s Fukishima disaster in March Europe’s nuclear safety has come under increased scrutiny.

Germany has already decided to phase out its atomic power plants while the EU is preparing a series of stress tests for the bloc’s reactors.