Gorleben: 10 years of Castor transports Last nuclear waste transport to  plutonium factory

Press release 22 April 05

  It's been 10 years since the first convoy carrying highly radioactive waste rolled into Gorleben in Lower Saxony. For the activist group Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow Dannenberg (BI), which is preparing an artistic function to commemorate the 19th anniversary of Chernobyl, it was a "raven-black day" day after 13 years of successful prevention of storage through the courts.

On 25 April 1995, a day before the ninth anniversary of the Chernobyl reactor meltdown, the transports rolled through the front gate to the interim storage hall at 5.12 p.m.. Earlier, police and paramilitary border guards used water cannon, helicopters and dog squads to move thousands of people out of the way; they had used lots of imagination to try to stop the convoy. The people in the Wendland region have had to suffer the nine largest police deployments in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Yet the disposal quandary remains unsolved. Instead, the deadly radioactive waste lands in an interim storage hall with the safety standard of a potato barn. The nuclear industry operators of the above-ground hall refer to it as merely a protection against the weather. Despite this, more Castor transports are to roll, thereby manifesting as the site of final storage the Gorleben underground salt deposit that has been in dispute for 28 years.

A spokesman of the BI accuses: "Our constitutionally guaranteed rights to physical integrity [Every person shall have the right to life and physical integrity], freedom to demonstrate [All Germans shall have the right to assemble peacefully and unarmed without prior notification or permission.] and informational self-determination are invalidated by the deployment of gigantic police contingents for the financial interests of the nuclear industry. Demonstration ban zones more than 70 kilometres long between Lüneburg and Dannenberg further cement this intolerable condition that flies in the face of a democratically constituted society."

The BI has information that on Tuesday evening (26 April), the Chernobyl anniversary, the last Castor transport is to leave the shut down nuclear station at Stade for the French plutonium factory at La Hague for recycling. There will be a demonstration at 6 p.m. at the Harburg Rathaus S-Bahn rail station and a warning vigil at 8 p.m. at Bahnhof Buchholz, as well as other protests against nuclear waste transportation to France. "The recycling heavily pollutes the environment through chimney and ocean discharges, "charges a BI spokesman. " As it is processed in the plutonium factory, the German nuclear waste delivered will for years to come radioactively pollute the north of Normandy."

The Gorleben BI also sees an explosive legal situation after transportation to the plutonium factories stops. Legislation on the operation of nuclear power stations has so far demanded proof of waste disposal either by dangerous recycling or the so-called "direct final storage".

But there is no final storage facility into which waste could be stored directly. The BI slams as scandalous that apparently the risky storage in light-construction halls is now to be declared as direct final storage. "There is no safe final storage for highly radioactive waste anywhere in the world although nuclear waste has been produced for 60 years. Carting it into radiating 'potato barns' cannot seriously be claimed as proof of disposal, "the BI spokesman argues.

Francis Althoff, phone #49 (0)5843 986789

(Translated by Diet Simon)

Bearbeitet am: 27.07.2005/ad

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