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19 Feb 2020, 14:10
Rachel Waldholz

Environmentalists protest new nuclear waste shipments into Germany

dpa / Frankfurter Rundschau / Neues Deutschland

Environmentalists are raising concerns about the planned transport of reprocessed nuclear waste from England back to Germany, newswire dpa reports. Last week, the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BASE) approved the first of three planned shipments that will return reprocessed nuclear waste from France and England to Germany. The waste was originally sent from German nuclear plants to be reprocessed at facilities in Sellafield, England and La Hague, France. German utilities are contractually obliged to take back some of the radioactive waste created in the process, according to a press release from GNS, the company which manages the shipments on behalf of German utilities. Three shipments are planned for this year and next.

On Tuesday, the environmental group BUND Hessen filed an objection to the first shipment, to the Biblis interim storage facility in Hesse, citing safety concerns, dpa reports.

Activists are already organizing more widely against the shipments, reports Reimar Paul in the newspaper Neues Deutschland. Activists staged a series of protests against the new transports at the beginning of February. They argued that, while Germany has an obligation to take back the waste, it should not do so until it has a permanent storage solution. Otherwise, it will have to transport the material twice. Paul reports that some activists also worry the new round of shipments are part of an effort to rehabilitate nuclear power as a potential solution for climate change. The last shipment of nuclear waste into Germany was in 2011, to the storage site at Gorleben, and faced major protests, Paul reports.

Germany has a long history of anti-nuclear activism and has committed to phasing out all nuclear power by 2022.

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