France-based nuclear company Areva, had loaded 25 tonnes of nuclear waste from its reprocessing plant in Beaumont-Hague, near the port of Cherbourg, on Thursday. The BBC Shanghai carrying the nuclear waste is due to reach Australia by 27 November.
The plea by Greenpeace and French environmental campaigners to stop the ship from sailing fell on deaf ears as French officials said an inspection had revealed no problems.
Nathalie Geismar, of French environmental group Robin des Bois, said that other ports had found a “staggering number of flaws” in the 14-year-old ship. Yannick Rousselet, of Greenpeace France, said emphatically that the BBC Shanghai “should not be used” to transport the nuclear waste.
However, Bernard Monnot, Areva’s external relations director, said some “small flaws” had been found in the inspection and these had been set right.
The BBC Shanghai is registered in Antigua and Barbuda. It is dubbed as a dustbin ship.