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Delayed nuclear waste heads to UK

Police removed protesters who staged a sit-in to stop the shipment  

NECKARWESTHEIM, Germany -- A shipment of German nuclear waste has resumned its journey to Britain after being briefly held-up by anti-nuclear protesters.

The three containers of waste from the Neckarwestheim power plant, in the southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, were delayed for an hour by about 100 protesters from the road despite heavy security.

About 2,500 officers backed up by helicopters, lined the road as the containers were taken three miles to a rail station in Walheim on the first leg of the journey to Sellafield reprocessing plant, in Cumbria, in north England.


At least 50 people were detained after the sit-in during which protesters chanted anti-nuclear slogans and held signs with their yellow 'X' symbol.

On Wednesday the shipment is to be taken to Woerth, near the French border.

There it will link up with a similar convoy of containers from another German nuclear power plant for the train journey to the French port of Dunkirk before being shipped to Britain.

German anti-nuclear and environmental campaigners remain unconvinced about the safety of the shipments.

Three containers of nuclear waste are heading to Britain  

Last month they staged massive demonstrations causing serious delays to a shipment of reprocessed waste returning from France to Germany.

"Reprocessing is a crime," said Dirk Hofmeister, a spokesman for protesters at Neckarwestheim who are calling for an immediate ban.

Last year Germany was forced to halt dealings with the Sellafield plant after a scandal over the falsification of records there -- but says it has been assured that standards have now been raised.

The German Government has said that with a third of the country's electricity produced by atomic energy, nuclear power cannot be immediately shut off.

Last year it reached agreement with power companies to phase out the country's 19 nuclear plants -- though it could take more than 20 years.

Germany has no reprocessing plant of its own and currently ships its spent fuel abroad and then take it back.

Convoy: Clear and present danger?
March 26, 2001
Final leg for nuclear waste train
April 11, 2001
Nuclear waste reaches destination
March 29, 2001

UK Environment Agency: Sellafield Review
German Ministry of Environment
German Environmental Information Network

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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