10 Nov 2008

Nuclear waste train delayed by protests

2:36 pm on 10 November 2008

Police have beaten back protesters trying to block a train carrying radioactive nuclear waste from western France to a dump in Germany.

The demonstration is described as the largest and most violent anti-nuclear protest in Germany since 2001.

Barricades on railway tracks in northern Germany were set on fire on Saturday. Police used water cannon to extinguish them.

Railroad crews have been repairing the damage overnight to allow the shipment of 23 tonnes of nuclear waste to continue to the Gorleben disposal centre.

German police say the train was stopped for nearly 12 hours near the Franco-German border.

About 15,000 demonstrators rallied along the tracks, mostly in the Gorleben region.

Eleventh transport

The consignment left a nuclear waste retreatment plant at La Hague in Normandy on Friday. The load is the 11th of its kind to date.

The cargo will be loaded on to trucks in the town of Dannenberg and is expected to finish the last 20km of the journey to Gorleben on Monday.

About 16,000 police were deployed across Germany to ensure the load reached the dump safely.