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New Nuclear Waste Transport Starts

August 29, 2001

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ A transport of nuclear waste set out by rail from western Germany for reprocessing in France Wednesday morning without any disturbance from anti-nuclear protesters, police said.

The shipment from the Biblis plant in Hesse state was expected to cross the border later Wednesday, bound for France’s La Hague reprocessing plant in Normandy.

Greenpeace protesters had blocked rail tracks heading out of the Biblis plant Tuesday evening by chaining themselves to the rails. Police ended that protest after several hours.

Protests regularly mark transports of atomic waste out of Germany by anti-nuclear activists, who argue that shipping the nuclear material endangers the public.

Germany sends spent nuclear fuel from 19 power plants abroad for reprocessing under contracts that oblige it to take back the resulting waste for storage. After a break of several years, waste shipments resumed in March.

In June, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and leading energy companies signed an agreement to shut down Germany’s nuclear power plants. The pact limits nuclear plants to an average of 32 years of operation, with the first plant scheduled to shut down in 2003.

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