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vom 19.10.2005

Castor train postponed, Lüneburg demo

Translatet by  Diet Simon

Gorleben, northern Germany, 19 October - - Opponents of nuclear energy say they have information that the next train of 12 caskets of highly radioactive waste will leave a plutonium factory in France on 19 November and arrive at a storage hall near this village on 21 or 22 November.

The transport was originally scheduled for 6 and 7 November, according to the Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow Dannenberg (BI, Civic Action Initiative for Environmental Protection).

“Nothing is certain,” says a BI spokesman, “so we’re also making preparations for the train starting the run already on the 5th of November. We’ve experienced such tricks and manoeuvres by the police in connection with Castor transports to Ahaus.”

(Ahaus is the location of a similar light-construction hall to Gorleben’s for storing nuclear waste. Ahaus is near Münster in northwest Germany, close to the Netherlands, where the nearest larger town is Enschede.)

Their spokesman, Francis Althoff, says the two-week postponement was made to avoid the affront of doing the transport on the anniversary of the death of a French protester, 21-year-old Sébastien Briat, who was run over on 7 November in France by last year’s waste train. At many railway stations throughout Germany, mourning memorial functions are being prepared for 6 p.m. on 7 November.

A broad alliance of 30 environmental action groups, renewable energy proponents and anti-nuclear initiatives is calling for a nationwide demonstration in nearby Lüneburg on 5 November.

The BI says in a media release that the train is now likely to leave the loading station in Valogne, Normandy, on 19 November. It will be returning waste originally from German power stations, which has been processed at a plutonium factory in La Hague. (

The BI accuses those responsible in industry of “purely financial interests” and the politicians of “planless failure”.

“The ninth controversial transport of highly radioactive waste to Gorleben is again to be rammed through with deployment of five-digit police numbers, against the will of the population, although it has been known since the early 80s that the final repository planned for Gorleben cannot stop radioactive material entering the biosphere,” says Althoff.

Further transports to the hall would make it ever more likely that Gorleben would become the final atomic toilet.

“The fury of nuclear opponents is additionally stoked by the federal environment ministry’s recently confirming in a letter to the county’s atomic installations committee that the overburden on the Gorleben salt dome does not act as a protective barrier,” the spokesman sums up.

On the transport days the BI again expects demonstration ban zones between Lüneburg and Gorleben along 70 kilometres and up to a kilometre wide. The BI has filed a complaint against this at the highest German court, the Federal Constitutional Court.

For previous coverage see

For more on the resistance to last year’s Castor train go to and at the “SUCHE” spot in the left column enter Briat or Gorleben in the first window, then click “Suche starten”. The coverage will be in English and German. “Mehr/weiter” (bottom right-hand corner) takes you to following pages, “Zurück” takes you back. Google turns up images of Castor caskets and trains at its Images search function.


Francis Althoff 05843 986789
Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow Dannenberg
Drawehner Str. 3
29439 Lüchow

Tel: 05841-4684 Fax: 3197

Meanwhile an appellate court in Lüneburg has ruled that building barricades on forest paths is only an “administrative offence” that does not automatically empower police to arrest anyone for any longer period. The court ruled in favour of three demonstrators seized by police last November as they erected a barricade of logs and kept in detention for 24 hours.

Earlier an administrative court in Lüneburg had ruled as illegal the closing off of an entire village by hundreds of police vehicles one night in November 2003. A woman teacher on her way home was not allowed to pass nor was a soldier trying to return to his barracks.

Observers doubt that the judgments will have any influence on police actions in the coming transport situation.

Because of a recent fire in containers used to house police, which destroyed hundreds of sleeping places, it’s expected that 2,000 more police than usual are to be brought in this time.

A leading Social Democrat, Wolfgang Jüttner, the party’s head in Lower Saxony, where Gorleben is located, says he doesn’t think the new Conservative-led government will reverse the exit from nuclear power.

“I think the issue is a very easy one for the Social Democrats to win” in the coalition negotiations. The Conservatives’ demand to keep stations running longer would be defeated because the power companies weren’t really interested in that, Jüttner was quoted as saying.

He added that the nomination of Social Democrat Sigmar Gabriel as environment minister gave rise to hope that renewable energy sources would continue to be promoted as previously by the federal government.

Jüttner also expects that exploration of the Gorleben salt deposit will stay suspended and that other possible sites be sought. The laws for this were ready to go.

Renate Backhaus, nuclear expert in the BUND environment alliance, suggests that “The aim of the big power companies is to continue using nuclear generation over the long them. That would increase the atomic risk further. We need a genuine atomic exit and no extension of running times.”

Jörg Mühlenhoff of EUROSOLAR, the European association for renewable energies, comments that “Renewable energies make the further operation of atomic power stations in German superfluous. In contrast to atomic power, they contribute to climate protection and have created 150,000 jobs. This path must not be closed.”

The GLOBAL 2000/Friends of the Earth organisation in neighbouring Austria has warned that letting German nukes producer power longer would also raise the risks for the Austrian population.

Although the Conservatives had failed to win a majority in the recent German election, the extension plans were not off the table, “which increases the risk of the Austrian population falling victim to an atomic catastrophe,” said the anti-nuclear spokesperson of GLOBAL 2000.


She noted that there’s no safe final storage anywhere in the world for the thousands of tonnes of depleted fuel rods that have accumulated.

Austria has a law prohibiting the operation of nuclear power stations for the production of electricity, thus abandoning the use of nuclear energy and setting itself the task of creating a nuclear energy free zone in central Europe.

A Eurobarometer survey conducted in February and March 2005 analysing EU public opinion on nuclear energy has revealed an underlying lack of knowledge concerning nuclear power, alongside a growing distrust of governments and the media on radioactive waste management issues.

Despite being the nation that proved most informed on the issue and one of its biggest supporters, Sweden has proposed abandoning the nuclear route within the next forty years. Along with Belgium, Germany and Spain, the Swedish government has decided to phase out nuclear power altogether and rely purely on hydro and bio-energy. Conversely, the Czech Republic is planning to build two new reactors. Nuclear energy was least popular in Austria where 88% of interviewees stated that they were opposed to this type of energy.

Bearbeitet am: 19.10.2005/ad

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