Environmental activists are protesting over what they claim is a particularly dangerous shipment of nuclear waste across Europe.
Some 123 tonnes of recycled nuclear material is heading, mainly by rail, from France to a dump at Gorleben in northern Germany. Tight security surrounds the transport of the containers known as ‘Castors’ from the Areva reprocessing plant in Normandy.
Anti-nuclear campaigners are raising the alarm.
“There are 11 Castors which will be transported and each Castor contains the radioactivity which was released in Chernobyl,” said Thomas Breuer of Greenpeace Germany’s Climate and Energy Unit.
“So, one can say, more or less, that 11 times Chernobyl will be transported in the next days through Europe.”
Areva has defended the safety of the operation and denied claims the shipment is much more radioactive than previous ones.
Anti-nuclear sentiment is particularly intense in Germany. Opinion polls there show strong opposition to government plans to extend the lifespan of the country’s nuclear power stations.