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Shell Nigeria Denies Charges It Lost Radioactive Materials

The main charge against the SPDC is that it allegedly stored, handled and transported radioactive sources from the jetty to the rig site without authorisation from the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, the company said.
by Staff Writers
Lagos (AFP) March 27, 2007
Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell in Nigeria on Tuesday confirmed that the federal government had charged it with the alleged loss of some "radioactive tools" belonging to one of its contractors. And it denied reports that it had been involved in any dumping of toxic waste in Nigeria.

The company said in a statement that it was " aware that the federal government has filed some charges at the Federal High Court in Abuja against SPDC and some other corporate organisations."

Shell is officially known as the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SDPC).

"We wish to state for the avoidance of doubt that SPDC has not been involved or charged in connection with any dumping of toxic waste anywhere in Nigeria as alleged," the statement said.

The main charge against the SPDC is that it allegedly stored, handled and transported radioactive sources from the jetty to the rig site without authorisation from the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, the company said.

The company said radioactive sources were routinely used to differentiate oil from gas in well formations.

SPDC, like other operators, had contracts with technical companies who are licensed to own and operate such tools, said the statement.

"These companies are responsible for importing, storing and transporting such tools to and from the locations where they are needed," it added.

Shell said that to the best of its knowledge, the radioactive tools were securely locked in a bunker and transported to the jetty by the contractor. The contractor also supervised the loading of the material onto a barge.

SPDC's involvement was the provision of a tugboat to help push the barge containing the bunker with the radioactive source and other materials from the jetty to the rig site.

Once the radioactive source was declared missing, the company had given its full cooperation to the relevant authorities to help find the material, Shell said.

Shell denied media reports on Tuesday that its managing director had been charged along with 19 other persons in connection with an alleged dumping of toxic waste in Nigeria.

No date has yet been fixed for hearing in the matter.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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