Second Dutch nuclear rail shipment heads to France
A train carrying nuclear waste on Tuesday left the Netherlands bound for a recycling plant in France, the second such shipment that has sparked ire and protests of anti-nuclear activists.
"The convoy just left," said Fenny Barends, a spokeswoman for the EPZ operator of the Borssele nuclear power plant where the waste was produced.
The train is due to pass through Belgium before arriving on Thursday at a nuclear recycling plant in La Hague in France's northwest.
Environmental organisations called for activists to protest the shipment and some 20 protestors lined its route in Goes northeast of Borssele, chanting "down with nuclear power" and holding up signs "nuclear energy no thanks".
It marked the second of 10 planned shipments from Borssele to La Hague over the next two years.
During the first shipment in June, police arrested 33 Dutch activists belonging to Greenpeace after they chained themselves to the traintracks, forcing the convoy to be delayed by several hours.
"There is as much nuclear waste in this train as what escaped during the Chernobyl explosion," Greenpeace nuclear energy campaign spokesman Ike Teuling told AFP, referring to the 1986 accident in then Soviet Union.
"We tried to take radioactivity measures this morning but the police didn't allow us to come near. We'll try again tonight in Essen (on the Belgian-Dutch border) since the train will stop there for 10 minutes."
Greenpeace says that only a small part of the nuclear waste will be recycled and what is returned to the Netherlands will remain radioactive for 240,000 years.
© 2011 AFP