Anti-nuclear protester killed by waste trainin NE France

7th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

STRASBOURG, France, Nov 7 (AFP) - An anti-nuclear protester died in north eastern France Sunday after being run over by a train carrying nuclear waste from France to Germany, regional authorities said.

STRASBOURG, France, Nov 7 (AFP) - An anti-nuclear protester died in north eastern France Sunday after being run over by a train carrying nuclear waste from France to Germany, regional authorities said.

The 21-year-old man, who had chained himself to the railway near the city of Nancy, lost a leg after he was crushed by the train and died despite receiving emergency treatment at the scene.

The authorities said the accident happened in the early afternoon in the town of Avricourt after a group of eight people gathered near the main Paris to Strasbourg line, on which the nuclear transport train was travelling.

"After coming out of a corner at reduced speed, the train was apparently confronted with the group, which moved out of the way with the exception of one person, who was hit," a police statement said.

"Despite the arrival of the emergency services at the scene, the young man died of his injuries," the statement said.

The police did not reveal the man's identity, but said he was aged 21, was "probably" from the Meuse region in eastern France and was part of a group of activists.

Nancy state prosecutor Michel Senthille said that one of the man's legs had been cut off in the incident, contradicting an earlier statement by the regional authorities who had said that both the man's legs had been sectioned.

Earlier the train, which was carrying treated nuclear waste from the French plant at La Hague to Gorleben in northern Germany, was delayed for two hours near Nancy as police removed two protestors who had also chained themselves to the railway lines.

Senthille said that the man who died was not thought to have had links with this group.

The train, which left the retreatment plant at La Hague on Saturday evening, crossed on to German soil at 8:35 pm (1935GMT) Sunday, almost exactly24 hours later.

It carries 12 containers of spent fuel and is the seventh such consignment to be sent back to Germany since 1996.

A member of protest group Nuclear Out, Gilbert Poirot, said about a dozen protesters had been involved, all of them French nationals.

"It appears that the demonstrators had not put in place safety measures destined to warn the convoy of their presence," he said.

The German Greens Party, which forms part of the German governing coalition, said it was stunned by the death of the demonstrator.

"We deeply regret this tragic death," a spokesman said, adding that he expected a thorough investigation be carried out into the incident.

It called on demonstrators not to risk their lives, an appeal echoed by another anti-nuclear group.

At Hitzacker, 30 kilometres (18 miles) from Gorleben, several hundred people gathered with candles and lanterns in a spontaneous tribute to the dead man.

A spokesman from French nuclear energy firm COGEMA, which manages La Hague nuclear plant said the incident was "a tragedy" and that officials organising the convoy had been "extremely shocked".

On Saturday thousands of anti-nuclear protestors had gathered in northern Germany to protest at the imminent arrival of the shipment.

After demonstrating in Danneberg market square on Saturday, protestors gathered at the railway station and also temporarily blocked the tracks to be used by the train.

From Dannenberg the consignment will be taken by road to Gorleben.

Anti-nuclear and environmental campaigners say the shipments are dangerous and that the waste will contaminate the water table at Gorleben.

Germany, which has no treatment facilities of its own, sends spent fuel rods for reprocessing at the La Hague plant before they are returned here for storage.

© AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article