Manila - Environmental watchdog Greenpeace Thursday urged the Philippine government to prevent the passage of the largest-ever transport of reprocessed nuclear waste via the country's waters next month.
Greenpeace said a shipment of 1.8 tons of radiotoxic plutonium in mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel intended for nuclear power plants in Japan is travelling via the Cape of Good Hope and the south-west Pacific Ocean from France, where the cargo left on March 5.
The plutonium MOX fuel was produced by French nuclear state company AREVA for three Japanese electric utilities, the group said.
The shipment is expected to pass between the Philippines and Palau before it reaches Japan by mid-May.
Greenpeace warned that the transport contains highly radioactive plutonium enough to make 225 nuclear weapons, "representing an immediate risk of contamination to coastal communities along the route should anything go wrong."
"The Philippine government should immediately act to prevent the country from being exposed to such risks, especially since we are not capable of dealing with any related accident that can occur," Greenpeace South-East Asia campaign manager Beau Baconguis said.
Baconguis noted that the current transport has foregone passing by South America due to a ban on nuclear transports in the area.
She said the Philippines should block the passage of the transport in accordance with a law prohibiting the "entry, even in transit, of hazardous and nuclear wastes and their disposal into the Philippine territorial limits for whatever purpose." (dpa)
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