Police have used water cannons against anti-nuclear protesters in northern Germany as a train carrying some 150 tonnes of reprocessed nuclear waste from France made its way to a nearby storage facility.

Protesters lit flares in the woods near the town of Leitstade on Friday and set up roadblocks near the railway lines.

Police in riot gear used water canons to move protesters, while an armoured personnel carrier was used to remove the roadblocks.

German is reviewing its nuclear facilities following the disaster triggered in March by an earthquake and tsunami at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has said all the country's remaining nuclear capacity would be taken off the grid by 2022.

The train spent several hours at the German town of Neunkirchen where the engine was changed and new police officers took charge before setting off to the storage site at Gorleben in Germany's Lower Saxony state.

It will be the last of 12 shipments of treated German nuclear waste sent in recent years from France to Gorleben.

German and French protesters have frequently tried to block the rail shipments and clashed with police sent in to remove them.

The protesters have maintained that the waste could endanger the environment and population if there were to be an accident en route.

An expired contract between Areva and German nuclear power producers is not expected to be renewed as Germany has voted against the transport of radioactive nuclear fuel.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies