Protests as nuclear train heads to Germany

A train carrying nuclear waste will be met by protestors when it leaves the northern town of Valognes on Wednesday as it heads to a storage facility in Gorleben in Germany.

Protestors have set up camp close to the station from which the train will leave and have promised to try to block the train’s departure. 

BFM TV reported on Wednesday morning that around 400 had gathered to protest. 

Weekly magazine L’Express reported that local authorities in the Normandy town have taken exceptional measures to assure the safety of residents.

These include the closure of schools and colleges as well as roads close to the rail line.

Train operator SNCF has also halted a number of train services in the region to make sure the line is kept free as the train makes its way to Germany.

“This train has several times the radioactivity that was released during the Chernobyl and Fukushima catastrophes,” said Laura Hameaux of the anti-nuclear group Sortir Du Nucléaire. She said the risks of derailment, fire or terrorist attack on the train could prove dangerous.

French nuclear operator Areva said the necessary precautions had been taken.

“This train is a rolling fortress,” said Julien Duperray, a spokesman for the company. He said the containers could “resist a fall of nine metres and a fire of 800 degrees celsius for 30 minutes.”

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