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Email to Michiel Brandjes, Company Sec & General Counsel Corporate, Royal Dutch Shell Plc: NAM transportation of radioactive waste

By John Donovan

I sent this self-explanatory email to Michiel Brandjes on Monday 25 May.

Thus far there is no response. Not even an acknowledgment. 

From: John Donovan <[email protected]>
Date: Mon, 25 May 2009 21:24:43 +0100
To: “[email protected]” <[email protected]>
Conversation: NAM Transportation of Radioactive Waste
Subject: NAM Transportation of Radioactive Waste

Dear Mr Brandjes

A Dutch national has contacted me to express concern over a matter involving NAM, the company owned jointly by Royal Dutch Shell Plc and ExxonMobil Corporation.

The source of the information, who has kindly supplied documentary evidence, claims NAM is transporting radioactive waste to Germany for processing because Dutch law prohibits its processing in The Netherlands, where strict safety laws stipulate 40 cm thick walls to avoid contamination of surrounding areas and also require generation of reports to the appropriate authorities of any radiation exposure. The radioactive sludge arises from offshore activity.

Apparently the low radiation concentration means that it is however acceptable for processing treatment in Germany before being transported back to The Netherlands.

Concern arises from the transportation of the radioactive low level waste over national borders and the fact that the German radiation processing companies used by NAM – GMR and Dela – are both located in the centre of German cities.

Basically the radioactive waste is being sent long distances by NAM, risking significant liabilities because radioactive processing is cheaper in Germany and avoids more stringent Dutch law.

It may all be perfectly legal and a lucrative enterprise for the German companies involved, but is it ethical on the part of the NAM and the German companies bearing in mind potential exposure to the Dutch and German population during the long journeys involved and to the local populations in the relevant Germany cities where the processing takes place?

Although it is low level radioactive waste, it is clear from the restrictions imposed by the Dutch regulators that there is a potential danger from radioactive exposure.  Otherwise why would NAM adopt a handling system involving international transportation of hazardous waste and processing in another Country which must involve substantial extra costs, including contingency insurance.

I would be grateful for Shell’s considered response to this important matter.

Best Regards
John Donovan and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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