A train carrying highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel rods will pass Regensburg in Bavaria tomorrow or Wednesday, reports the local Greenpeace group. Their media release says the train with two Castor caskets will start out from the Isar2 nuclear power station at Essensbach near Landau and head for the plutonium factory at La Hague on the north-west French coast.
Regensburg and surroundings
Regensburg mayor, Hans Schaidinger
“Like with the transports in May, July and September, Regensburg (population 127,000) will lie on the route. During the transport Greenpeace activists will demonstrate with a banner at the railway bridge on Landshuter Strasse and then walk in procession to city hall.” Not even in the advent season did the mayor want to spare local people the dangers of the risky nuclear transport, wrote Jürgen Friedmann, spokesman for the Regensburg Greenpeace group.
Until Greenpeace revealed the transport route in May 2002, says the release, the tactic of the authorities was to keep everything secret. “Before our regular information work people didn’t have a clue about what’s transported past their homes,” writes Friedmann. "After finding out, many were shocked and spontaneously supported our aim to force the mayor to act,” Friedmann continues.
So far the mayor, Hans Schaidinger of the all-powerful Bavarian CSU party, had explained his lack of action by the matter being outside his purview, Friedmann explains. “Although formally there is nothing Herr Schaidinger can do, it is his duty to work for the protection of the population, but this duty doesn’t appear to be important to him,” says the Greenpeace spokesman. “Other city chiefs have been quite successful on this issue and our chief mayor should follow their example.”
”Atomic waste transports are a considerable danger to people along the route. In case of a serious accident the caskets containing highly radioactive waste could leak and contaminate the environment. Depending on how the accident proceeds, evacuations and resettlements might become necessary. That is why many local government resist atomic transports through their areas, often successfully.
”The socalled ‘recycling’ of the waste in the plant in La Hague is no solution of the atomic waste problem. The waste is merely broken down chemically into its components, radioactive waters contaminate large sea areas. The recycling process multiplies the volume of waste. Every additional transport into the recycling factories increases the radioactive contamination of the North Sea,” the media release concludes.
Greenpeace International said in 1999 that every year the La Hague plant, operated by the state-owned company COGEMA, discharges some 230 million litres of liquid nuclear waste into the sea, causing an "ongoing environmental catastrophe". "The companies of nuclear power stations around the world that ship nuclear waste fuel to La Hague, and the governments that support them, are guilty of wilfully contaminating the environment on an unprecedented scale," Greenpeace International said at the time.
The Isar2 pressurized water reactor power station is scheduled to operate until 2028.
During previous transports police would give no indication of the rail route to be taken. Greenpeace reported the route last time as Essenbach-Ohu (County of Landshut), Straubing, Regensburg, Ingolstadt, Ansbach, Würzburg, Aschaffenburg. There they lost the train but thought it would continue through Hesse state. Greenpeace demonstrated at various locations. Police said the trip went without a hitch.
Castor transports were banned for a while after some caskets were found to be leaking radioactivity in 1998.
Journalists please contact Jörg Dirksen on mobile phone #49-0172 - 85 64 8 94 and Jürgen Friedmann on #49-941 - 20 69 4 70