Thursday, November 15, 2001

The Japanese have angrily rejected optimistic claims that they were willing to re-open Mox business with Sellafield.

The news comes as BNFL and their opponents, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, await judgement after the High Court hearing last week. In the High Court the environmental campaigners argued that starting active operations at the Sellafield Mox plant would breach article 6 of the Euratom Treaty. CORE spokesman Martin Forwood, who was in court, said: "Everyone agreed the legal arguments were finely balanced...a swift decision is expected from Justice Collins, possibly by Thursday.''

Crucial to the Mox project's viability is a Yes from Japan. However the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry issued a statement rejecting British Embassy optimism that Japan would accept Mox fuel start up within a year.

The Ministry said: "We have never made such a statement to the British Government. We would like to know who is saying we are making such statements and where they are making them. Japan's Mox programme is absolutely in no state of starting and the Japanese Government has never commented to the British Government concerning any start up date.''

Meanwhile the court was informed of a letter from BNF lawyers stating that: "it has been decided that it is appropriate to move the target date for the opening of a plutonium can in SMP from on or around November 23 to on or around December 20 2001.''

BNFL spokeswoman Ali Dunlop said: "In the Judicial review FoE/Greenpeace abandoned their claims that there wasn't sufficient evidence of a Mox market in Japan.''