Thousands in Germany protest nuclear transport

Sunday, November 9, 2008

BERLIN (AP) — Almost 15,000 anti-nuclear demonstrators protested Saturday against a shipment of reprocessed nuclear waste being transported to a storage site in northern Germany, police said.

German police were working to free three demonstrators who had chained themselves to railway tracks near the western city of Woerth, preventing the shipment from crossing from France into Germany.

Some 300 farmers used tractors to block the main road to the storage site in the town of Goerleben, where another 14,500 people protested, local police said.

Spent fuel from Germany's nuclear power plants is sent each year to France and Britain for reprocessing and then is returned to the Goerleben site — a traditional focus of anti-nuclear protests.

The protest movement has faded, however, since 2003 when the government set a two-decade timetable for closing Germany's 17 nuclear power plants. Activists complain that the timetable is too slow, and that the Goerleben storage site is unsafe.

The latest shipment of reprocessed waste was being carried in 11 atomic waste containers on a train, which crossed northeastern France without incident on Friday and arrived at the German border early Saturday. It was scheduled to reach the German city of Dannenberg on Sunday, where it would be transferred to trucks for the final journey to Goerleben.

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