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SUVA, Fiji (December 2, 1997 - PACNEWS)---The international environmental organization, Greenpeace, has reported that the third and largest shipment of vitrified high level nuclear waste is due to leave France heading for Japan at the end of this month.

Greenpeace says in a statement that the shipping route is still being kept secret from the public and appeals for prior notification from countries along the shipping route have been ignored.

This, says Greenpeace, is despite earlier promises of transparency by the plutonium industry.

The shipment, according to Japan Nuclear Fuels, Limited, will consist of 60 containers of vitrified high-level nuclear waste carried in three shipping canisters.

The shortest shipping route is through the Panama Canal, but this route has not been used in the past due to protests by countries in the Caribbean region.

A shipment earlier this year passed through the Pacific, transiting the 200 mile exclusive economic zones of a number of countries in the region, including the Solomon Islands and Australia.

Last month, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufa'alu said his government would charge a significant fee to permit nuclear shipments to pass through his nation's economic zone.

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