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Nuke waste convoy leaves hundreds hurt

Published: 29 Nov 2011 08:01 GMT+01:00

Trucks loaded with the waste rolled into a storage facility in the former salt mine at Gorleben in Lower Saxony after the final leg of a 1,200-kilometre (750-mile) journey that saw demonstrators trying to stop it all along the way.

"1,300 of the 1,800 at Gorleben cleared," anti-nuclear group X-tausendmal quer wrote in a text message, describing the last pocket of resistance against police.

"Those who refuse to walk feeling pain," it said, repeating a complaint of police roughness against demonstrators.

The convoy completed the last stage of its journey – around 20 kilometres by road – on Monday night, repeatedly stopped by demonstrators keen to prolong the delay. Last year it took 92 hours to reach Gorbeben, while this year the trip took 125 hours.

Both the police and protestors complained of rough treatment from the other side. Some protestors had thrown fireworks, bottles and wooden posts at officers using water cannon, truncheons and pepper spray.

Lower Saxony’s state Interior Minister Uwe Schünemann said police officers were attacked in a brutal fashion not previously encountered in such demonstrations. He said around 20 officers were so badly hurt they were off work.

Protestors however, complained that 355 of their number had been injured, mostly with pepper spray or having been hit with truncheons. Five had ended up in hospital, organizers said. A police spokesman admitted his officers had used techniques designed to inflict pain as they grabbed protestors to pull them away from the road.

Greenpeace used a van to drop a concrete block in the middle of a road. Two activists chained themselves to the block, which police had to hitch to a vehicle to drag out of the way. The trucks were further delayed by two protestors jumping on, in a desperate last-ditch attempt to delay them.

And while this, the 13th such transport of German waste from the La Hague reprocessing centre in France to the depot in Lower Saxony was the last, anti-nuclear demonstrators vowed they were not finished. They say Gorleben is an unsuitable place for storing such dangerous waste. Official reports over the years have mentioned leaks and structural instability.

The next shipment of nuclear waste is expected in 2014 – not from France but the British reprocessing centre in Sellafield.

DAPD/AFP/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

12:49 November 29, 2011 by Wrench
I have an idea. It would cost much less to load all nuclear waste on the planet into a rocket and shoot it into the sun. It would burn up and we have no more cost overruns with processing and storage.
13:14 November 29, 2011 by Swanney
@Wrench:

And what if your proposed rocket explodes before leaving the atmosphere, showering vast tracts of the planet in nuclear waste? I suspect burying it is a better option than the potential other.
19:21 November 29, 2011 by rfwilson
@Wrench:

Sounds like you haven't a clue how much it would cost to boost tonnes of material to escape velocity (40,000 km/h) to escape Earth's gravity, in order to drop it into the sun!
20:24 November 29, 2011 by nemo999
Wrench;

The really bad news is that the various commercial launch system were only designed and theoretically built with a 80 percent reliability factor. The various manned systems were only designed and theoretically built with a 90 percent reliability factor. The cost difference between going from 80 to 90 percent was a cost increase of a factor of at least 20, not cheap. Even at the manned flight reliability factor, you still end up with on average 1 out of every 10 flights not making it to orbit and dropping it's pay load into someone backyard.

It takes 10 tons of fuel to put 1 ton into low earth orbit. The bad news would be that most of that ton would be the capsule. Depending on various design factors, you would be lucky if you could get if 45 percent of the mass that you put into low earth orbit was actually radioactive waste.

You still need a great deal of fuel to break the earth's gravity and get package heading toward the sun.

We would be better off figuring how to control the Weak Nuclear Force, we could then theoretically control the decay rate of the atomic nucleus, and render the waste safe in a controlled and timely process.
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