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France-Germany nuclear-waste train leaves one hour late due to protests

Reuters

Anti-nuclear protesters clashed with riot police and set a lorry on fire outside a French nuclear waste-treatment plant on Thursday, reports said, as they fought to prevent the last convoy of waste treated in France being sent to Germany.

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The shipment, which nuclear giant Areva describes as a “rolling fortress”, left a railway yard in the town of Valognes in Normandy, north-west France, more than an hour late after police battled protesters, making at least 12 arrests. 

At Flottemanville-Bocage demonstrators set fire to a lorry that they believed was carrying food for the CRS riot police, as well as a rail and power transformer, according to regional paper Ouest France.

One of the demonstrators, who wanted only to be known as Stéphane, told RFI that they were peaceful and only wanted to sit on the tracks.

"Why we are fighting against the transport?” he asked “It’s very simple, the transport is one of the rare moments when you can collectively act, it is the weakest point of the nuclear industry, and it is one of the rare points where you can collectively act.”

According to environmental campaigners Greenpeace, the 11 containers holds the same quantity of radioactive waste as the last one to leave the La Hague reprocessing plant for the German site of Gorleben.

Protests are also expected on the German side of the border.

After Japan’s Fukushima disaster Germany decided to phase out nuclear power.

Green campaigners want France, which has 58 nuclear power stations, to do the same, which has been the source of dispute between the Green party and the Socialists ahead of next year’s presidential campaign. 

 

 

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