Dutch activists block nuclear rail shipment

7th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Dutch anti-nuclear activists were blocking a train carrying a consignment of radioactive waste destined for France, police said Tuesday -- the first such load to leave the country in six years.

"They have chained themselves to various places on the rails to block the departure of the train that's supposed to go to La Hague (northwest France)," local police spokeswoman Esther Boot said.

"We are evicting them, but they are chained quite securely, so the shipment could be postponed," she told AFP.

She could not give a departure time, but said: "The shipment will leave, that's for sure."

Environmental group Greenpeace said in a statement that 10 of its activists had chained themselves to the rails near Borssele in the southern province of Zeeland. The radioactive waste originated at a nearby nuclear power plant.

The activist organisation said the load consisted of three wagons "with an amount of radiation comparable to that released at the nuclear disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima".

Greenpeace's nuclear energy campaign spokesman, Ike Teuling, said the wagonload presented a clear danger to the population living along the railway route to a nuclear recycling plant in La Hague in Normandy.

"If there's an accident it will be a catastrophe," Teuling told AFP.

Greenpeace said the trainload of nuclear waste was the first to leave in six years and another 10 trainloads would be leaving in the next two years.

"And this is just the tip of the iceberg," Teuling said.

© 2011 AFP

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