French Nuclear Waste Train Enters Germany

Posted November 25th, 2011 at 8:20 am (UTC-5)
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A French train carrying 11 containers of reprocessed nuclear waste entered Germany Friday on its way to a storage site.

French authorities had stopped the train Thursday before it reached the German border, in hopes of avoiding protests over the radioactive material headed for storage in the northeastern German city of Gorleben.

Protesters have maintained that the waste transports could endanger the environment and population if there were to be an accident en route.

Germany has deployed 19,000 police officers to secure the shipment in Germany.

The train was late leaving the Areva nuclear reprocessing facility near Normandy on Wednesday because police clashed with hundreds of protestors trying to stop it in Valognes. Police fired tear gas and used batons to keep protestors from occupying the tracks.

The train was halted Thursday about 50 kilometers from the German border at Remilly, in what French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet called a “planned” stop.

This is expected to be the final transfer of reprocessed nuclear waste from France into Germany, which has voted against transporting more of the radioactive fuel into the country. In the wake of the nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima power plant, German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to shut down all of the country's nuclear reactors by 2022.