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Germany

Nuclear Train Reaches German Depot

A train carrying highly radioactive nuclear waste reached a German dump Tuesday at the end of a 600-kilometer (370-mile) odyssey from northern France clouded by the death of an environmentalist. Police said thousands of protesters along the route forced the convoy carrying 12 containers of spent fuel rods to make several stops before arriving at the Gorleben storage facility in northern Germany early Tuesday. The 60-hour shipment had left the waste retreatment plant at La Hague in northern France late Saturday but it was halted Sunday afternoon after a young demonstrator who had chained himself to the railway was run over and killed. The train resumed the trek late Sunday and arrived Monday in the town of Dannenberg, the hotbed of the anti-nuclear protests, before being loaded onto 12 trucks for the last 20-kilometer stretch of the journey to Gorleben. An estimated 11,000 German officers were deployed to guard the consignment, which was the seventh to be returned to Germany since 1996. The shipments are traditionally marred by protests by activists who argue they are dangerous and that the waste will contaminate the water table at Gorleben. Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin of the Greens party defended the government's atomic energy policies, which include plans to phase out its nuclear power plants over the next two decades. (AFP)