Nuclear Waste Transport Bound for Disputed Storage Site Crosses German Border
BERLIN A shipment of nuclear waste bound for a disputed storage site in the north of the country crossed Sunday into Germany, where thousands of police were guarding its route from anti-nuclear demonstrators.
About a dozen activists greeted the train as it crossed the border from France without incident, said Franz Blang, a police spokesman in the town of Woerth. The train was later temporarily blocked by a group of activists while passing through the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, authorities there said.
Earlier Sunday, the train was temporarily delayed after dozens of French protesters threw firecrackers onto the rails.
Demonstrations by French nuclear activists remained peaceful, however, as they commemorated a protester who was hit and killed by a train during a similar shipment of nuclear waste a year ago.
On Saturday, protesters in the German town of Lueneburg, 50 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of Hamburg, threw rocks at police.
Lueneburg is on the stretch of road that is the last leg the nuclear waste will take on its route from a reprocessing plant in La Hague, France, to a temporary storage facility in Gorleben, Germany and traditionally a gathering point for demonstrators.
Yet authorities said participation among the anti-nuclear demonstrators was down to only just more than 3,000. The number of demonstrations has also dropped to 28 demonstrations, from the 100 that were organized in 2003, they said.
The shipment left Saturday from a reprocessing plant in the Normandy coastal town of La Hague to a hotly contested storage facility in Gorleben, Germany.
The annual waste transport, due to arrive in Gorleben late Monday, has become a favorite target of anti-nuclear demonstrators, thousands of whom are expected to protest along the route in the coming week.
Some 3,100 people turned out in the town of Hitzacker to protest the waste storage, police said, with 40 tractors accompanying the protesters. The storage facility is disliked by local farmers who say they fear having radioactive waste in the area undermines the reputation of their produce.
German authorities have dedicated 10,000 officers to patrolling the route before the transport's arrival.
Source: Associated Press