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Protests heat up along nuclear waste route

The Local · 7 Nov 2010, 13:05

Published: 07 Nov 2010 13:05 GMT+01:00

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Police used batons and pepper spray to disperse around 250 anti-nuclear activists who were trying to sabotage the railway tracks, and the activists hurled firecrackers back, police spokesman Markus Scharf told AFP.

Witnesses said demonstrators also set fire to a bulldozer along the transport route.

A spokesman for activist group "Aktion Castor" said the police had responded with tear gas and a water cannon. The woods around the train tracks are "completely clouded with tear gas," said Christoph Kleine.

Activists are trying to halt the train on its way to a storage facility in Gorleben, central Germany, which protesters say is unsuitable.

The 14-carriage train, dubbed by activists "the most radioactive ever," is returning 123 tonnes of German nuclear waste for storage after it was treated in France.

The convoy is the 11th of its kind. A previous nuclear waste shipment sent over in 2008 was blocked for 14 hours by protesters amid a violent standoff with police.

Earlier Sunday, anti-nuclear activists abseiled over train tracks to block the controversial cargo. A pair of activists, backed by around 50 others, managed to hold up the train for around two-and-a-half hours early Sunday morning by abseiling from a bridge, police spokeswoman Cora Thiele said.

Meanwhile, police carrying out checks on three vehicles discovered equipment designed to allow people to chain themselves to the track, authorities in Dannenberg said. Sixteen people were taken into custody.

Despite the delays, police said the train was continuing on its journey towards its final destination, the storage facility of Gorleben.

"The train is running normally," a police spokesman told AFP early Sunday.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Dannenberg to signal their opposition to the cargo. Organisers said 50,000 people had turned out, but police said the figure was closer to 20,000.

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Police clashed with protesters who tried to remove the ballast from under the track near Dannenberg. Activists hurled stones and firecrackers at police, who responded with batons and pepper spray.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel denounced the attempted sabotage.

Around 16,000 police have been mobilised to deal with the protests in Germany.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:19 November 7, 2010 by Frenemy
So...this is what the unemployed do with their free-time, huh?!
15:30 November 7, 2010 by cklb
at "Frenemy": u use exactly the same words as they used 20 years ago: make those demonstrators look stupid as they "are all unemployed" (or criminals or whatever). are there any statistics on that that proof it???
15:53 November 7, 2010 by Slimtots
What's happening in Germany!? Why many protests going on??
16:10 November 7, 2010 by maxbrando
I thought the Local already reported that the train is now in Germany. Not true? What do these protesters want to do with this stuff? Dump the waste Germany created (and the French cleaned up into far less hazardous form) into someone else's country?? Don't think this will happen. Maybe one answer is to shut all nuke plants in Germany down and start mining Ruhr coal.
17:16 November 7, 2010 by danamcmahon
The bubble is of course procreation our brain cells and brain activity call it the brain. We will not achieve our potential

and reach that greatness if we allow nuclear hazardous waste materials to create instability and possible illness. Then on top of it beat the people and things like that. Too much police force, recognice yourself.
19:46 November 7, 2010 by auslanderus
Really good idea, dig the stones from under the tracks so maybe the train can derail then those dummies would have something to really complain about even when it's there fault. Oh, another good idea, as seen on tv, bring your kids along so they can feel whats it like to get gased. Daaaaa These people have nothing else better to do with there lives?
20:27 November 7, 2010 by Lachner
Nuclear energy plants affect the environment in at least 4 different ways: 1) nuclear waste, 2) they produce "tailings" at uranium mines and mills, 3) they routinely release small amounts of radioactive isotopes during their operation, and 4) they are extremely hazardous to large scale accidents that can release massive amounts of radiation (Chernobyl in Ukraine). Nonetheless, nuclear energy is a lot cleaner for electricity production than the use of fossil fuels since nuclear fission does not release large amounts of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. The main sources of energy for Germany's electric production are lignite (23.5%), hard coal (20.1%) and nuclear (23.3%). The use of renewable energy such as hydroelectric, wind, biomass, waste, solar and natural gas account for less than 35% of the country's energy production.

Therefore, the solution for Germany is to invest in renewable energy in the next 20 - 25 years in order to slowly decrease their dependency on non-renewable energy and thus, avoid such protests by environmentalists. I think that Germany's engineering technology is at the World's forefront so I don't doubt that they can lead the way in sustainability.
00:23 November 8, 2010 by chicagolive
@Lachner the problem is not renewable energy it is renewable energy that the regular people can afford, when my bill increased by 100% and I am not even using a third of the energy I used in the previous year and the reason they gave was due to renewable energy I know part of it is bull, but I also know part of it is true. Things like Solar Panels are nice but the time it could take for people to recoup their cost of installing a net neutral family home most people would be dead or moved on to another before they had started recouping the investment cost. These issues need to be address before the any nation can move forward with large scale implementation.
01:32 November 8, 2010 by cklb
at chicagolive: check out greenpeaceenergy, you dont have to install solarpanels on your roof to go green, let them do it. its also not very much more expensive than eon and co.

at lachner: thanks for the first good comment on this page since ages :)
07:52 November 8, 2010 by rfwilson
@Lachner Ah, yes.... "sustainability"... that wonderful meaningless word that environmentalists like to include in every second sentence. Makes you feel warm all over when you say it!

I wonder how many environmentalists have stopped to think how "unsustainable" the large scale manufacture of solar panels is, as well as how "unsustainable" the manufacture of large high power thyristors is, that are used in converting low voltage DC power (outputted by solar panels) to usable high voltage AC?
08:02 November 8, 2010 by pdoughan
Sorry, But I'll be a bit simple here. Isn't it safer when it arrives at it's destination, than on the railways? And, if the Protestors damage the tracks, isn't that a huge risk of contamination. Logic got the best of me. Sorry. It will never happen again.
17:15 November 8, 2010 by raandy
Back to the issue of Nuclear waste ,Germany created the waste,sends it to France to be processed to be less toxic,,whatever that means,,and now people do not want it back.is that the gist of it? Where do the protesters want to send this stuff,if as they claim the facility is unsuitable? This sounds like a catch 22. Nobody wants its but shouldn't the owner be responsible for it,? what do the protesters hope to gain,surely they have a plan.
22:20 November 8, 2010 by Lachner
When I mention that the German Government needs to invest in renewable energy to decrease their dependency on non-renewable energy such as lignite, hard coal and nuclear energy, I don't necessarily mean that consumers are the ones that have to buy the solar panels or invest themselves in energy. The advantage of Germany is that they have Europe's and possibly the World's most efficient, well designed and reliable electric power grid. Therefore, the German Government needs to invest in renewable electric energy production at the source only and not in consumer households. Sure, they could also offer tax-breaks for citizens that wish to purchase solar panels and such. The problem with renewable energy is that it's production is expensive and not as efficient as non-renewable energy, so that's where consumers have a problem when they see their bills increase.

Therefore, the important question you need to ask yourself is: are you more interested in protecting the environment at whatever cost or do you just want to pay cheap bills? If you wish cheap monthly bills, then nuclear energy, hard coal and lignite are your answer but they come along with a heavy burden on the environment. Until our World's scientists find a cheaper and more efficient source of energy (hydrogen or cold fusion) production, we are stuck with non-renewable energy which works best for the current World albeit the negative effects they convene.
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