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Protests over nuclear train

Demonstrators say a decision to stop a train carrying nuclear waste in an urban area put people at risk

ANTI-NUCLEAR activists who have been protesting the journey through France of a train carrying German nuclear waste claim a decision to halt it in the station of Rémilly near Metz put people at risk.

The train, which set off from Normandy on Wednesday, was halted for 24 hours at the town in Lorraine.

It has now set off again on its trip to Germany, and is expected to shortly cross the border, passing through Forbach.

It is carrying 11 wagons, filled with 14 tons of vitrified waste.

Militants denounced the decision to stop it at Rémilly. “This completely idiotic stop in an urban area puts the residents in danger and exposes the railway staff to risks of radiation exposure,” said a spokesman for pressure group Sortir du Nucléaire last night.

In Normandy there were two hours of delays before the train set off through France, with violent clashes between police and protesters.

The Interior Ministry said the halt was necessary to make sure the last leg of the journey was carried out safely.

“The demonstrations in Normandy were violent so we are taking all necessary precautions to make sure that the convoy continues under optimal conditions.”

Anti-nuclear activists are also known to be gathering in Germany, where the containers will be unloaded onto lorries to make the last leg of the journey to the stocking site at Gorleben.

The material had been treated in the Netherlands and came originally from German power stations. The train was the last of a convoy of 12.

According to nuclear power operator Areva the containers meet required safety norms. “You would have to stand 2m from the train for 14 hours to gain the same exposure to radiation was when having an x-ray,” a spokesman said.

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