German police clears tracks as nuclear load readied for final trip

Other News Materials 10 November 2008 08:27 (UTC +04:00)

A shipment of spent radioactive fuel was prepared for the last stage of its trip to a long-term storage site early Monday as thousands of police protected the train against protestors, dpa reported.

The train carrying the waste from France arrived at Dannenberg terminal in Lower Saxony at 1:15 am (0015 GMT) with a 14-hour delay after protests tried several times to halt the transport, police said.

As during 10 previous shipments of waste to long-term storage in Gorleben, a small town south of Hamburg, protesters aimed to obstruct the freight train carrying the waste.

At Dannenberg, the 11 containers carrying the waste will be transferred to trucks which are to take them the final 20 kilometres to Gorleben.

Riot police clashed with protestors Sunday as they tried to clear the tracks from anti-nuclear activists.

At one point, 700 militants occupied a nearby railtrack, hurling large firecrackers at police, setting fire to bales of straw on the rails and beginning to wreck the track, according to police who used batons and water-cannon to disperse the crowd.

The train, loaded with 17 tons of waste pellets encapsulated in 100 tons of insulating glass began its trip to northern Germany 1,000 kilometres away at a French factory on the Atlantic coast.

At Gorleben many tons of radioactive waste have been accumulated from German power stations after being sealed into glass at the factory in La Hague, France. Berlin hopes to ultimately move the waste long term into an old salt-mine.

The anti-nuclear movement seeks the immediate closure of all nuclear power stations and has been upset at debate in Germany about extending the stations9 operating lives so as to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming.

The issue has become a live one in Germany after revelations that another salt-mine dump, near Wolfenbuettel, has developed leaks and cracks.