Greenpeace ready to protest at nuclear transport ships entering the Irish sea.
Last July, two ships the Pacific Pintail and the Pacific Teal, left Japan with five tonnes of plutonium mixed oxide (MOX) bound for Sellafield. The Japanese nuclear client refused to accept the nuclear material from the NFL when it was revealed that safety documentation relating to the load had been falsified. Governments and environmentalists have since campaigned against the return of the material.
Greenpeace International has docked its Rainbow Warrior vessel at Sir John Rogerson's Quay in Dublin waiting for the transport ships to travel the last part of the journey to Sellafield. Greenpeace want the Irish government to deploy naval vessels to ensure the ships stay out of the Irish 12 mile territorial waters limit and the 25 mile exclusive economic zone.
John Bowler of Greenpeace International says that the government needs to act to protect the Irish people and the environment.
British Nuclear Fuels (BNF) maintains that transporting MOX by sea is safe and that these ships were specifically designed for transporting this cargo.
Greenpeace rejects this as lies and maintains a fire on board could result in a plutonium cloud capable of causing cancer and chaos.
Minister for the Environment, Martin Cullen said he would meet the Greenpeace campaigners when he returns from the Earth Summit in South Africa where he is lobbying against the nuclear industry. Marine Minister Dermot Ahern is also due to meet Greenpeace but said he did not believe that deploying naval vessels was appropriate as it might affect legal bids by the government to shut down Sellafield.
At present, nobody is sure when the two ships might arrive in the Irish sea but it is estimated that they will arrive around mid September.
When they do arrive, Greenpeace and a flotilla will be there to greet them.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 28 August 2002. The reporter is Paul Cunningham.