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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 November, 2004, 16:44 GMT
Protester dies under atomic train
A train carrying nuclear waste from France to Germany (2001)
Shipments of waste resumed in 2001
An anti-nuclear protester died after his leg was severed by a train carrying atomic waste from France to Germany.

The 23-year-old lay down on the track as the train passed near the town of Avricourt, eastern France.

The train had already been delayed for two hours while police cut free two other protesters who had chained themselves to a section of track.

The train was carrying nuclear waste being sent back to Germany after reprocessing in northern France.

Paramedics offered the protester emergency treatment and rushed him to hospital for surgery.

He died before reaching a nearby hospital, the Associated Press reported.

Too late to stop

The train driver tried to brake after seeing a group of people sitting on the tracks, a spokeswoman for French railway company SNCF told Reuters.

"Some of them got up. He pulled the emergency brake, but one of the people remained sitting, and one of his legs was cut off and he has died," she said.

Earlier in the day another group of protesters delayed the train's journey for around two hours.

Two activists from the Sortir du Nucleaire (Out of Nuclear) group chained themselves to the tracks at Laneuveville-devant-Nancy, forcing the train to stop while police removed them.

Unpopular cargo

The train set off on Saturday from the La Hague reprocessing plant in Valognes, north-western France, on its journey to the German town of Dannenberg.

From Dannenberg the trains' 12 containers - holding 175 metric tons of atomic waste - are due to be shipped to a nearby dump at Gorleben, 12km away.

The French protests followed a protest by 4,500 people at the Gorleben site in Saturday.

German anti-nuclear campaigners have long claimed the reprocessed nuclear waste is unsafe.

Under agreements with Britain and France, Germany sends nuclear waste for reprocessing in both countries but is obliged to take back the resulting waste.

France orders nuclear inquiry
07 May 98 |  Europe

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