Protesters Disrupt German Nuclear Waste Shipment

Last Wednesday, November 23, a train carrying 11 tubular containers of highly radioactive nuclear waste departed Normandy, France. The nuclear waste, which originated in German reactors years ago and was processed for storage by a French firm, is now bound for a temporary storage facility in a former salt mine near Gorleben, Germany. The 750-mile trip has taken far longer than anticipated, due to thousands of protesters causing disruptions along the way. Staging sit-ins, chaining themselves to the rails, and even sabotaging the railway, demonstrators are denouncing the transportation of dangerous material through populated areas. This is the last of 12 contractually obligated shipments of nuclear waste from France. Germany recently pledged a complete phase-out of nuclear power within a decade and has already shut down 8 of its 17 reactors. Hundreds of demonstrators were removed from railroads and streets by an estimated 20,000 police deployed along the German portion of the route, and the shipment is now near its final destination.

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