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France calls for nuclear waste probe

French Ecology Minister Chantal Jouanno says she wants an investigation into reports that some of the country's nuclear waste is being stored in open-air lots in Russia.

French Ecology Minister Chantal Jouanno said Tuesday she wants an investigation into reports that some of the country's nuclear waste is being stored in open-air lots in Russia.

"Nobody has been able to confirm or deny this information for me, so there must be an inquiry," Jouanno said.

Earlier, the Liberation newspaper and the Franco-German television station Arte reported that about 13 per cent of France's radioactive waste is stored in Seversk in Siberia.

A spokesman for EDF, a major French uranium producer, denied the suggestion that nuclear waste is being stored outside in Russia.

Sylvain Granger, the director of the nuclear fuel division of EDF, said the uranium is sent to Russia for reprocessing so it can be used again.

Liberation and Arte  alleged that most of the uranium cannot be used again and remains in Russia.

Jouanno said that due to the country's heavy reliance on nuclear power "we cannot let there be the slightest possibility of suspicions that there is a problem. It must be completely transparent."

About 80 per cent of France's electricity comes from nuclear power.

With files from The Associated Press

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