Wednesday, November 10, 2010

German nuclear waste train gets by protests

A train carrying nuclear waste to northern Germany has reached its destination, despite more than 3,000 protesters trying to stop it during its three day-trip from France.

The train, with 14 cars, arrived Monday in the town of Dannenberg with 123 tonnes of nuclear waste.

The waste will transported by truck and be stored in a salt mine in the city of Gorleben, between Hamburg and Berlin. The trucks are expected to meet additional protesters.

During the trip, police used tear gas, pepper spray and water cannons to stop protesters, who held sit-ins on the tracks and attempted to sabotage the rail by removing the gravel bed.

Police say removed about 3,000 protesters from the tracks Monday about 30 kilometres from Dannenberg.

Activists say the waste containers and the temporary storage site in Gorleben are not safe.

They have called the train "Chernobyl on wheels."

CBC reporter Ann MacMillan said the transportation of nuclear waste is always contentious in Germany, but is more so this time because earlier this year the German government reneged on a promise to shut down the country's nuclear power plants by 2021, instead moving the shutdown date to 2033.

"That decision has infuriated many voters and makes this particular shipment of nuclear waste a focus for the discontent," she said.

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