Castor: 50,000 block nuclear waste train

IssueDecember 2010 - January 2011
News by David Polden

Over 50,000 protesters mobilised to delay the twelfth annual transport of highly-radioactive material (123 tonnes in 11 carriages) from La Hague, France, to storage at Gorleben, Germany, in early November.

In France, five activists locked-on with arm tubes under the rails, stopping the train for 3½ hours. Police cut them free so carelessly that three required surgery. In southern Germany, a blockade by over 1,500 forced the train to change route. People dangling from bridges also impeded progress. As the train neared its terminus, it was met by some 50,000 protesters in Harlingen, near Dannenberg. Despite the cold, 3,000 lay down on the track on 8 November.

Police had to arrest 800 activists, and detain them in an open-air prison encircled by police vans, to clear the blockade. The last 20km was by road, and protesters blockaded by lying on the road, dragging logs and trees onto the road, parking 600 tractors on the road, and driving massive flocks of sheep and goats onto the road. Taking almost four days, this was the slowest-ever transport. There seems to be an increased willingness in Germany to engage in mass civil disobedience on this issue because of the German government’s decision to repeal a law to close all 17 German nuclear plants by 2022, and instead to extend their lives for up to 14 years.

Topics: Nuclear power