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European Commission inaugurates nuclear waste management laboratory

The European Commission signalled its commitment to dealing with the problem of nuclear waste with the launch yesterday of a new 10 million euro facility in Germany. The 'minor actinide laboratory', located in Karlsruhe, Germany, aims to foster innovative solutions to reduce ...

The European Commission signalled its commitment to dealing with the problem of nuclear waste with the launch yesterday of a new 10 million euro facility in Germany. The 'minor actinide laboratory', located in Karlsruhe, Germany, aims to foster innovative solutions to reduce the risks of highly radiotoxic forms of nuclear waste. Its construction has been funded by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, and incorporates extensive automation into its design, utilising telemanipulators, remote control and robotics. The facility aims to use a new process called 'transmutation' to transform long-life nuclear elements into less harmful materials. 'The issue of nuclear waste management is of great concern to the public,' says Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin. 'This is why it is one of the top priorities of the Euratom part of the Sixth Framework Programme.' During the inauguration, a 'Memorandum of Understanding' between the new facility and the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique-France was also signed in order to implement a European network in this new field.

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