A shipment of reprocessed nuclear fuel arrived in the early hours of Wednesday at the French port city of Cherbourg, according to an AFP photographer, bound for Japan to be used in a power plant.
Japan lacks facilities to process waste from its own nuclear reactors and sends most of it overseas, particularly to France.
The load of highly radioactive Mox, a mixture of reprocessed plutonium and uranium, was transported overnight from a plant in the Hague in secure containers on two trucks, the French nuclear technology group Orano said.
The convoy arrived around 3:45 am at the port surrounded by law enforcement vehicles, according to an AFP photographer.
Shortly after 6 am, the fuel package was loaded aboard a specially designed ship from British company PNTL, which has extensive experience with this type of transport, Orano said.
It will take a little more than two months for the ship to reach Japan, it said, the eighth such shipment from France since 1999.
The previous transport of Mox fuel to Japan was in September 2021 and drew protests from environmental group Greenpeace.
"Transporting such dangerous materials from a nuclear proliferation point of view is completely irresponsible," said Yannick Rousselet of Greenpeace France about the latest planned shipment.
MOX is composed of 92 percent uranium oxide and 8 percent plutonium oxide, according to Orano. The plutonium "is not the same as that used by the military," it said
The group has said the plutonium in Mox .