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Nuclear waste in Germany final trip
More than 100 tonnes of waste arrive in Dannenburg after large-scale protests delayed the shipment for days.
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2010 23:35 GMT
 Around 3,000 activists have gathered on the road outside the waste storage site in Gorelbern, Germany. Reuters]

Activists in Gorlebern, Germany, await the arrival of a convoy carrying nuclear waste from nearby Dannenburg, following days of protests that caused major delays to the shipment.

The convoy, containing some 123 tonnes of nuclear waste from a French processing plant, neared the end of its journey on Monday morning after police moved around 3,000 protesters who had blocked the train tracks.

The waste is now being loaded onto trucks for a final 20km trip to a storage site at Gorleben, although some reports suggest the road is being blocked by another 1,600 activists.

However police spokesman said no disruption is expected during the loading operation.

"The unloading station is surrounded by a high fence and so we do not think there will be major disturbances," a spokesman was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.

Greenpeace activists said they had succeeded in parking a semitrailer truck across the road just outside the gates of the railway depot.

Police said five activists had attached themselves to the truck in such a way as to prevent them from moving it without first detaching them.

Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher reporting from Gorlebern, where the protesters will make their final stand, said that the police had kept their distance from the protesters there, but plan on moving in to clear the area in order to allow the reprocessed nuclear waste to reach its final destination.
 
 Some of the protesters have been camping there for two days.
 
"There have been a number of clashes between protesters and police, the latest overnight, as there was a final attempt to block the path of the train carrying the nuclear waste," said our correspondent. "Those waiting in Gorlebern know they'll be moved, but are determined to make their point."

Clashes

Activists staged large-scale demonstrations over the weekend, including sitting on train tracks and removing stones to make the tracks impassable.

Some protests turned violent, with activists and police injured in Sunday's clashes in the northwestern German town of Lueneburg.

Shipments of radioactive waste to the Gorleben facility in Dannenburg regularly attract protests, but this year has seen particularly angry rallies.

Rainer Wendt, the head of the police union DPolG said around 20,000 police were mobilised for this shipment, and has cost around $70m.

Gorleben is a temporary storage site for the highly radioactive waste. Germany, in common with other European countries, has no permanent storage site.

Last week the EU Commission tabled legislative proposals that would see member states pushed to build facilities secure enough to hold radioactive waste for the thousands of years needed for the
waste to become safe.

The German government wants to extend the lifetime of its 17 reactors by up to 14 years beyond a scheduled shutdown of around 2020.

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Berlin in September against the extension, and protesters have warned of more to come.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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