German Nuclear Waste Train Allowed to Pass

Posted November 28th, 2011 at 1:20 am (UTC-5)
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A train loaded with nuclear waste reached the end of its rail journey in Germany early Monday. The nuclear waste is to be trucked to a nuclear storage facility.

The rail journey from France was slowed by large groups of protesters blocking the train's path.

Thousands of German police removed protesters Sunday and early Monday at several points along the railway line carrying the controversial shipment of spent nuclear fuel rods from France to a storage facility in northern Germany. Police temporarily detained 1,300 people.

The train with 11 waste containers entered Germany Saturday from a reprocessing plant in northwestern France. Ahead of the border crossing, French demonstrators carried out a series of protests that slowed the progress of the train after it left northern France last week headed for a storage facility near the northern German town of Dannenberg.

The annual shipment from France has been a focal point for anti-nuclear advocates in recent years, with protesters saying the shipments are not safe.

This is the first such shipment since German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this year announced moves to speed up the shutdown of all German nuclear plants by 2022. Her announcement followed the nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant in March.

German police on Saturday used water cannons to disperse thousands of protesters near Dannenberg.