The 1,600-ton British freighter "Topaz" us yesterday (July 31) being loaded in Zeebrugge with atomic waste for dumping in the Bay of Biscay.
The 1,600-ton British freighter "Topaz" us yesterday (July 31) being loaded in Zeebrugge with atomic waste for dumping in the Bay of Biscay. The 1,300 tons of waste, from the Belgian Government's nuclear centre at Mol, is sealed in spacial drums. It arrived in Zeebrugge aboard a special train on Thursday (July 29) after a 105-mile (172 kilometres) journey across Belgium, and the Topaz was sealed off from nearby vessels by a police cordon during the three-day loading operation. Workmen handling the drums wore protective clothing, and the Belgian Government said that the dumping operation was in strict accordance with international rules. Similar trainloads of radio-active materials had been arriving at Zeebrugge three or four times a year since 1968 for dumping at sea, the statement added.
SYNOPSIS: One thousand three hundred tons of atomic waste from Belgium's nuclear centre is on its way to be dumped in the Bay of Biscay after being loaded onto a ship in the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.
The waste, in specially-sealed drums, was loaded onto the 16-hundred-ton British freighter "Topaz" in a three-day operation carefully supervised by police and nuclear experts. Dockers handling the drums wore special protective clothing, and the Topaz was sealed off from nearby vessels by a cordon of police. Similar loading operations have taken place at Zeebrugge in the past, but this one is the first in a current series of dumping operations involving nuclear waste from Belgium, Britain, the Netherlands and Switzerland. A Belgian Government statement said there was nothing unusual about the current dumping operation, and that procedure strictly followed international rules. The exact dumping location in the Bay of Biscay was not revealed.
The nuclear waste drums, in weighted concrete cases, arrived in Zeebrugge aboard a special train, designed to cushion its cargo against the shock of collision, after a 105-mile journey across Belgium.