Students protest nuclear transport

Friday, November 7, 2008

BERLIN: Some 500 students demonstrated Friday against the disposal of reprocessed nuclear waste at a temporary storage center in northwest Germany, police said.

A train carrying the waste was due to leave France Friday, with trucks taking it the final miles (kilometers) to the storage facility near the town of Gorleben early Monday.

Spent fuel from Germany's nuclear power plants is sent to France and Britain for reprocessing every year and then returned in an annual shipment to the site.

The protest Friday in the nearby town of Luechow was the first of a number expected through the weekend. Anti-nuclear activists have also threatened to block rail tracks.

Activists say the temporary disposal site near a disused salt mine is not safe. The waste will be moved underground when the mine is converted for the purpose.

Gorleben has been a traditional focus of anti-nuclear protests, and the shipments in the past have led to clashes between thousands of demonstrators and police.

The protest movement has faded somewhat since the German government embarked in 2003 on plans to phase out nuclear power, but activists complain that the two-decade timetable for closing Germany's nuclear plants is too slow.

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