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The BBC's Rob Broomby
"The campaigners are expected to try and block the railtracks once again"
 real 28k

Thursday, 12 April, 2001, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK
German nuclear waste destined for UK
Sellafield reprocessing plant in Cumbria
The nuclear waste must leave Germany by September
Germany is to resume the shipment of used nuclear fuel for reprocessing at Sellafield in Cumbria.

The decision comes just days after shipments to France resumed amid scenes of widespread protest.

The environmental pressure group Greenpeace is expecting a hostile reaction in the UK when the first shipments arrive, although it is not clear what form any protest will take.

Movement of nuclear waste from the Neckarwestheim nuclear power station in Germany could begin by the end of the month, although a spokesman from the company declined to confirm the start date.

Permission was granted by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection and three containers of highly radioactive spent fuel have to be moved before September.

Greenpeace nuclear campaigner Peter Roche said: "This is basically of the order of a criminal offence that Germany is sending nuclear waste over here.

"It's causing radioactive pollution of our atmosphere.

"We are not likely to see protests on the scale of what has happened in France, but I wouldn't say that there isn't the same amount of opposition."

Cross-Channel protests

The transport of three Excellox nuclear containers will be the first such shipment of nuclear waste since autumn 1997.

cannon
Protesters in Germany were attacked with water cannon
Such a move will be unpopular among environmental campaign groups, who recently protested across the Channel in response to nuclear waste exports from Germany to a reprocessing plant in France.

More than a third of Germany's electricity comes from its 19 nuclear reactors, which generate hundreds of tonnes of radioactive waste a year.

But German nuclear facilities do not have the space to store the used fuel within the country.

Spent German nuclear fuel is sent abroad for reprocessing, but the contracts oblige Germany to take back the resulting waste.

French protests

On Wednesday, a cargo of nuclear waste finally arrived at its destination in Germany, after running the gauntlet of protesters on the last leg of a 600km (375 mile) trip from a French reprocessing plant.

The convoy completed the final 20km (12-mile) of its journey by road to a storage site at Gorleben in little more than an hour.

The cargo had been held up at Dannenberg since Tuesday night by protesters who had chained themselves to the railway line.

The final road stretch from the Dannenberg railhead had been the site of massive demonstrations against previous waste transports before they were banned in 1998 on safety grounds.

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See also:

11 Apr 01 | Europe
German nuclear train nears end
26 Mar 01 | Europe
Nuclear nightmare for Greens
28 Mar 01 | Europe
Germany's anti-nuclear protesters
28 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
Nuclear waste: A long-lived legacy
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