Normandy Aquifer Seven Times More Radioactive Than French Limit
PARIS, France, May 29, 2006 (ENS) - Radioactive tritium from a nuclear waste storage facility in Normandy, France is leaking into groundwater that is being used by local farmers for their dairy cattle, according to a new report published by the French laboratory ACRO. 最新檢測報告指出：核廢的氚輻射滲入地下水殘留在當地酪農
"Because of its mismanagement, CSM is causing damage to the environment," said ACRO Director Dr. David Boiley. "Repeated incidents have led to a constant release, and as a consequence the ground water and many outlets are highly contaminated with tritium."
Tritium contamination is regarded by the French Radioactive Waste Agency as a good tracer for anticipating future contamination from other radionuclides in the dumpsite. These include strontium, cesium and plutonium, all cancer causing radionuclides.
The Centre Stockage de la Manche (CSM), France's first low-level nuclear waste storage facility. (Photo courtesy CEA)
Located on the western tip of the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy, the Areva NC La Hague site reprocesses spent nuclear power reactor fuel into reusable uranium and plutonium.
ACRO found that levels of radioactivity in the aquifer are on average 750 Bequerels per liter (Bq/l), - more than seven times the legal European safety limit of 100 Bq/l.
In agricultural land close to the dumpsite, ACRO tests found levels in the underground aquifer during 2005 averaged 9000 Bq/l - 90 times above the safety limit.
"We must note that for a long time there has been a lack of information regarding this chronic pollution, and even now a precise assessment of its impacts still needs to be done," Boiley said.
"As far as the future situation," he warned, "it could worsen in the long run because there is no guarantee that the wrappings of the older wastes, which also contain more hazardous elements, will last for long periods of time. When a new contamination is detected it will be too late."
Scientists from the ACRO lab, together with Greenpeace, have been conducting a survey of radioactive contamination leaking from the nuclear waste disposal facility at la Hague.
"More than 30 years ago the French public were assured that selection of the CSM dumpsite was based upon extensive assessments of the geology and hydrology, and that there was no risk of contamination," said Shaun Burnie Greenpeace nuclear campaigner.
"In reality," he said, "levels have reached thousands of times the natural background level."
Between 1967 and 1994 over 1.4 million containers, with a volume of 527,000 cubic meters of waste, were dumped at the CSM in trenches and purpose built vaults. The largest volume of waste disposed of at the CSM was produced by EdF, which operates 58 nuclear reactors.
In its report ACRO says the inventory of the wastes at CSM "is not precisely known," but the laboratory is able to identify 100 kilograms of plutonium, "as well as many other alpha emitting elements particularly toxic in case of contamination."
In addition, there are chemical toxics which will not disappear with time, including almost 20 tons of lead and one ton of mercury, ACRO reports.
"The nuclear industry in France - in common with the industry around the world - has no safe method for dealing with its nuclear waste," said Burnie.
The report, "Nuclear Waste Management: the lessons from the CSM Disposal Site," is found at: http://www.acro.eu.org