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Deliberate Dumping of Plutonium into the Loire: the “Observatoire du Nucléaire” is taking EDF to Court

Published 18 June 2015

Media release in French of L’Observatoire du nucléaire,16 June 2015

In the wake of revelations made by the "Special Investigation" team and broadcast on Canal+ on Monday 4 May 2015, the Observatoire du nucléaire (Nuclear Observatory) has engaged its lawyer to bring a case against EDF (Electricité de France) and its then CEO Marcel Boiteux, and against the political leaders potentially implicated, concerning deliberate dumps of plutonium into the Loire River from EDF’s nuclear power-plant at Saint-Laurent-les-Eaux (Loir-et-Cher).

The case was lodged on Monday 15 June with the Procureur de la République in the town of Blois.

Entitled "Nucléaire: la politique du mensonge" (Nuclear matters: the politics of lying), the documentary on Canal+ revisits the nuclear accident of 13 March 1980 at that plant at Saint-Laurent-les-Eaux. Though seemingly covered up at the time, the fact of that accident has been known, being mentioned for example in "L’Insécurité nucléaire" (published by Yves Michel editions in 2006, cf http://tchernobyl.en.france.free.fr).

But the incredibly serious fact that this Canal+ doco reveals is that the radioactive wastes released then and for years afterwards were not dumped accidentally but deliberately: EDF decided to discharge discreetly, into the environment, some radioactive materials involved in the accident, starting with the most toxic of all: plutonium.

The deliberate nature of these criminal acts is recognised by EDF’s then boss Marcel Boiteux, who remains an honorary president to this day. It is very likely that some people living near the power-plant and downstream developed cancers without ever knowing that they were caused by deliberate dumping.

It is important to note that, even though the accident happened in 1980, the time-frame for penalising EDF’s dumps has not necessarily closed, because they occurred over a period of years: only a judicial inquiry supported by independent experts can determine when they ended. When infringements occur over a period of time, the calculation of time before lapsing starts on the last day of the criminal action.
In any case, the government needs to assume its responsibilities and shed full light on this very serious matter... and on likely similar events that have never been revealed: how can one believe that the bosses of EDF, who have secretly dumped plutonium into the environment, have not committed other acts no less grave and criminal?

To speak more generally, given that EDF’s nuclear plants are approaching the end of their lives, and that revelations mount about serious industrial and financial errors by EDF and AREVA, and that the Fukushima disaster looms large in the recent context, this affair shows that an end must be made, as soon as possible, to the regrettable nuclear adventure into which France’s political leaders have plunged her.

A decision to halt nuclear energy generation in France as soon as possible is the only way to avert a new nuclear catstrophe, to not aggravate the impending financial disasters (AREVA bankrupcy, grave deficits at EDF), and to end the nuclear industry directors’ ongoing habit of lying to France’s citizens and harming their health by contaminating them accidentally... and sometimes deliberately.

Lawyer representing Observatoire du Nucléaire:
Maître Emmanuel RIGLAIRE
BP 200
1 rue de Weppes
59002 Lille Cedex