Journey finally ends for German nuclear waste cargo

media captionThe convoy of nuclear waste trucks enter the storage depot at Gorleben

A shipment of highly radioactive waste has finally reached its storage site in Germany, after its journey was dogged by anti-nuclear activists.

It took 92 hours for the German waste to be returned from France, where it had been reprocessed.

Some 3,000 protesters were cleared from the roads before the 123 tonnes of waste reached the depot in Gorleben.

Separately, local media report Germany is preparing to strike a deal to send atomic waste to a facility in Russia.

The Soviet-era waste would be sent from the western town of Ahaus to a nuclear facility in Mayak in the southern Ural mountains - the site of a massive nuclear contamination in the 1950s - reported German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

The German environment ministry did not immediately respond to requests to confirm the report.

'Strong signal'

The shipment of nuclear waste arrived in Gorleben in northern Germany in container lorries on Tuesday morning, accompanied by hordes of riot police.

It had made the final leg of 20km (12 miles) of its journey by road from Dannenberg, after authorities transferred the cargo from train wagons on Monday.

image captionProtesters sat on train tracks, abseiled onto the line and tried to sabotage the train tracks

It reached its final destination only after police spent much of Monday night clearing about 3,000 protesters who were blockading the route.

At least 17,000 police were mobilised for the operation, which AFP news agency quoted authorities as saying had cost 50m euros (£43m; $70m).

The long delays were hailed by protesters as a victory in their struggles against nuclear power.

"The decisive mass protests of the last few days is a strong political signal," said a spokeswoman for the X-tausendmalquer activist group, according to AFP news agency.

"The police can clear the street, but the government cannot clear up the conflict," she said.

On Sunday, activists fought running battles with the police near Dannenberg in an attempt to halt the train.

There were large peaceful protests against the train on Saturday.

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

Opposition has been heightened by 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.

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