German nuclear waste shipment nears final destination


A train carrying nuclear waste across Germany, which has been held up by a series of protests by anti-nuclear activists, has reached its destination in the north of the country.

The waste, which was reprocessed in France, will be unloaded in Dannenberg and taken by road to a nearby disused salt mine in Gorleben for storage.

Police removed 3,000 protesters from the tracks who tried to stop the train.

More demonstrators have gathered along the road to Gorleben.

From midnight, police removed thousands of demonstrators from the railway line, and the train finally got moving again just after dawn, says the BBC's Stephen Evans in Germany.

Earlier, the train, which is made up of 14 wagons containing 123 tonnes of reprocessed nuclear waste in glass and steel containers, was halted after activists lowered themselves on ropes from a bridge over the tracks.

On Sunday, activists fought running battles with the police near Dannenberg, which is between Hamburg and Berlin, in an attempt to halt the train.

Officers used batons, pepper spray, tear gas and water cannon to disperse at least 1,000 protesters who were trying to sabotage railway tracks.

The protesters hurled fireworks and set a police car on fire near Dannenberg.

Sunday's clashes followed peaceful protests against the train on Saturday by tens of thousands of people.

Activists say neither the waste containers nor the site are safe.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision recent to extend the lifespan of Germany's 17 nuclear power plants, which a previous government said would be phased out and despite strong public opposition, has highlighted the issue of the waste trains.

More on this story