From: Juergen Voges, Associated Press
Published November 9, 2004 12:00 AM

Nuclear Waste Shipment Arrives in Germany

DANNENBERG, Germany - A shipment of nuclear waste arrived Tuesday at a disputed storage site in northern Germany, completing a journey that was marred by the death of an anti-nuclear protester in France.


Police removed about 400 protesters who staged sit-ins on the two roads to the site at Gorleben early Tuesday morning, clearing the way for a convoy of trucks to carry the waste from a rail terminal in the nearby town of Dannenberg.


The shipment set off late Saturday from a reprocessing plant at La Hague in northwestern France. On Sunday, a 21-year-old French protester died on his way to a hospital after being run over by the train in eastern France.


The train was greeted by muted protests Monday as it rolled across Germany toward Dannenberg, southeast of Hamburg.


About 2,000 activists carrying candles and black flags remembered the French protester, Sebastien Briat, at a memorial event near Dannenberg, while local residents tied black ribbons to their tractors as they blocked roads.


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Spent fuel from Germany's nuclear power plants is sent to France and Britain for reprocessing under contracts that oblige Germany to take back the waste. Gorleben has been a traditional focus of anti-nuclear protests, and shipments in recent years have often led to clashes between thousands of demonstrators and police.


Activists argue that neither the waste containers nor the Gorleben site _ currently a temporary storage facility _ are safe. The waste is stored in a warehouse near a disused salt mine that an earlier government decided was suitable as a permanent underground storage site.


The protest movement has faded somewhat since the German government embarked last year on plans to phase out nuclear power, but activists complain that the two-decade timetable for closing Germany's 19 nuclear plants is too slow.


Source: Associated Press


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