Anti-nuclear protestors try to stop waste train
21 November 2005, DANNENBERG, GERMANY - Anti-nuclear protesters sat down on the rails and lit fires next to railtracks in Germany on Monday, slowing a train's journey with a cargo of nuclear waste that is to be put into storage in a former salt-mine.
21 November 2005
DANNENBERG, GERMANY - Anti-nuclear protesters sat down on the rails and lit fires next to railtracks in Germany on Monday, slowing a train's journey with a cargo of nuclear waste that is to be put into storage in a former salt-mine.
The train reached its destination, the heavily guarded station at Dannenberg south of Hamburg. Police declined to say when the waste would be hauled by truck to the nearby salt caverns, where 56 other containers of hot waste have accumulated in the past decade.
The latest shipment comprises 12 containers of highly toxic nuclear waste that has been reprocessed into glass bricks at a factory in La Hague, western France.
The material is residue from fuel rods used in German nuclear power stations. Germany is obliged to take its own waste back after it has been mixed with glass. The waste is expected to remain radioactive for centuries.
In the third ambush of the trip, 150 anti-nuclear militants had hidden in woods and rushed onto railway tracks near Dannenberg as the train approached and were carried away by riot police.
Other protesters set fire to bales of straw, sending dense smoke across the tracks. Water cannon on riot-police trucks were used to douse the flames. Lower Saxony state has deployed 10,000 police to protect the shipment from sabotage.
While the 42-hour train journey from France was completed with relatively little disruption, police said the worst might not yet be over, since the final 20-kilometre leg on low-loader trucks was vulnerable to protest blockades.
Early Monday, police had cleared a roadblock of 160 tractors set up by anti-nuclear farmers close to the dump at the village of Gorleben, where eight previous shipments of waste have each prompted skirmishes between demonstrators and riot police.
Farmers parked the tractors across roads Sunday afternoon in Klein Gusborn, close to the underground dump.
Police left the blockade in place for 12 hours, then confiscated more than 70 of the tractors and towed them to a nearby field. The rest of the farmers drove their tractors home.
The waste is to be stored in an underground cavern that was scoured out to produce salt at Gorleben. The dump has split locals, with some welcoming the jobs it creates while others fear the waste could leak into the environment.
A year ago, a 23-year-old protester was killed when he chained himself to railway tracks in France and a nuclear-waste train bound for the German waste site was unable to stop in time.
Subject: German news