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British nuclear fuel rods arrive from Sellafield

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British nuclear fuel rods arrive from Sellafield
Photo: DPA
16:31 CEST+02:00
British nuclear fuel rods arrived on Germany's North Sea coast for the first time since the 1980s on Sunday. The ship delivering them attracted some protesters on land and sea, but the journey was generally peaceful.

The “Atlantic Osprey” arrived in Nordenham carrying eight nuclear fuel rods. It is the first of two deliveries coming from the Sellafield nuclear power station, destined for the Grohnde plant near Hamelin in Lower Saxony.

The rods of Mox – a mix of plutonium and uranium – were already on the special trucks on the ship, which were unloaded and driven slowly from Nordenham to Grohnde, news magazine Der Spiegel reported. The rods were made from nuclear waste at Sellafield.

There were some 1,300 police officers to oversee their arrival. Only around three dozen protesters waited to show their opposition, some in canoes and inflatable boats, holding up banners damning the cargo. A man even tried to climb up onto the bow of the “Atlantic Osprey”.

The journey to Grohnde took three hours, and despite the violent clashes that took place when nuclear waste was driven from France to Germany last year, there was no trouble on the route, or from a group of around 60 protesters awaiting the load's arrival, police confirmed.

While the rods were on the ship it was circled by boats belonging to Greenpeace – which believes that the rods are dangerous. Concerned about the potential cancer risk that plutonium poses, they believe rods bring an incalculable risk.

In the coming weeks, a second boat is set to arrive in Germany containing fuel for nuclear power plants - all of which are set for closure by 2022.

DPA/DAPD/The Local/jcw

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