One possible route.
Or if they rail it, take your pick - the Railways are not talking.
Steffen Flath, environment minister of Saxony.
Fritz Behrens, interior minister of North-Rhine Westphalia.
High-density cross-border nuclear activities.
Peer Steinbrück, premier of North-Rhine Westphalia.
The usual type of Castor-casket train.
Flath (Christian Democrat) said he assumed that North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) would now finally convene coordination talks with the other states along the route so that the trucking could begin in November. Flath added that he expected NRW “to finally stop blocking legally valid licenses”.
Flath severely criticised the NRW interior minister, Fritz Behrens (Social Democrat) #file_4# for going against the court ruling by rejecting transportation of the Castor waste caskets before the end of the year. He called it “morally reprehensible” that a minister of a state “so openly stands against laws valid in Germany”.
Saxon anti-nuclear activists have announced “massive resistance”. The spokesman for the “Aktionsbündnis Castor-Stopp Dresden”, Andreas Eckert, said from Rossendorf the route would be hampered by sit-down blockades and encampments. He said in Dresden alone 200 to 300 anti-Castor activists could mobilise at short notice.
There’s to be a “Sunday Stroll” coming Sunday at the gates of the former East German atomic research centre in Rossendorf. Organisers expect about 150 demonstrators. The local anti-nuclear alliance last demonstrated in spring.
In the heavily nuclearised Münsterland region where Ahaus is situated, close to Germany’s only nuclear enrichment factory at Gronau, #file_5# activists have also pledged new protests. A permanent vigil is to be mounted outside the fuel rod storage hall. The activists say they want to signal to the NRW government that the resistance in Ahaus is not letting up. The initiatives demanded that NRW premier, Peer Steinbrück, (Social Democrat) #file_6# take action. He should come to Ahaus to explain how his government intended to prevent more nuclear transports.
A spokesman for the Federal Radiation Protection Agency in Salzgitter said the court ruling could not be challenged. The agency licensed the trucking from a shut-down experimental reactor at Rossendorf near Dresden to a storage hall in Ahaus in March.
The agency president, Wolfram König, emphasised that “the allegations made” by NRW interior minister, Fritz Behrens (Social Democrat) had proved completely untenable. The ruling confirmed, König added, that his agency had not misused its authority to ride roughshod over the interests of NRW.
Before being turned down in Lüneburg now, North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) had already failed with an urgent request to the administrative court in Braunschweig (Brunswick). In any case, activists allege that the legal actions are just shadow-boxing and that the NRW government is not serious about trying to stop the transports.
Behrens expressed “disappointment” at the ruling. He added that as far as NRW was concerned, there would be no transportation of Castor caskets from Rossendorf to Ahaus this year. He emphasised: “This decision cannot be made plausible to people in North-Rhine-Westphalia.”
It was incomprehensible, he said, why the state had to senselessly deploy thousands of police and so carelessly squander millions of tax revenue. He said he regarded the licensing of 18 single transports as “illegal”. NRW would examine further legal options.
A spokesman for the NRW interior ministry said the state’s police would need “many weeks” to prepare for such a transport. Moreover, many police officers were to be assigned in November to a nuclear waste transport to the storage hall in Gorleben in Lower Saxony. After that, because of the onset of winter, transports could not take place for safety reasons.
Saxony says special shock absorbers for the trucks will be delivered by mid-November. Their use can reduce the number of runs to three. Each would carry six of the 18 Castor caskets containing 951 spent fuel rods. Saxony says the trucking can begin at the earliest on 22 November. It would take until then for enough fastening equipment to be available. NRW had demanded a single consignment by train.
It’s been more than six years since the gates of the Ahaus dump closed after newly delivered Castor caskets. That time in 1998 anti-nuclear activists from all over Germany came and made the transport to Ahaus risky, keeping thousands of police breathless with riots and blockades. #file_8#
While the activists, whose numbers have shrunk, have been demonstrating themselves to exhaustion since spring, the real battle this time is being waged in words between politicians and jurists.
The consignments from Rossendorf could break a dam that in coming years could cost NRW hundreds of millions of euros just to secure nuclear transports. In 2009 at the latest the USA will no longer accept any fuel rods. But if the Rossendorf shipments can be prevented in a way acceptable to both disputing states, this would be a model to other states.
Time is in NRW’s favour. Experts agree that from a certain point in December road transports are no longer realistic because of wintry conditions. The Castors have to run not just 600 km of autobahn, but also medium-high mountain ranges with hilly roads dangerous when slippery. A nuclear waste truck stuck on an iced-up hilly road would be a horror scenario for the security agencies.
(My thanks to Dr. Peter Kollewe, Redaktionssekretär at Neues Deutschland, for allowing me to draw heavily on their report.)
Meanwhile signs are increasing that from 18 October German nuclear waste is again to be railed to the French plutonium factory at La Hague.
A post here said on Friday 8 October an empty Castor arrived at the shut down Brokdorf nuclear power station and a low-loader truck was sighted for street transportation of the Castor for loading onto a train at the Brunsbüttel nuke.
The poster cites reliable sources that this will be the last consignment out of Brokdorf.
Usually reliable sources are quoted as saying the train to La Hague is expected at the Franco-German border next Wednesday, 20 October.
Nothing is known about which border crossing will be used - Saarbrücken-Forbach or Wörth–Lauterbourg – and when it will happen.
This train is to carry four Castors, the other sending nukes are not yet known.
Road transport from Brokdorf to Brunsbüttel is expected Monday evening, 18 October, railing from Brunsbüttel on Tuesday night, 19 October.
During the night Tuesday to Wednesday, experience has shown, the departure of at least one more nuclear waste transport is expected from the power stations at Stade or Grohnde.
More on this in German at http://de.indymedia.org/2004/10/96211.shtml.
There is also a post there by MegA-Waltrop to assemble in Waltrop for a security check of track and rail crossings. “Since politicians sleep on we’ll take the matter in our own hands,” says the post.
”To reveal any security flaws at the rail installations, interested inspectors, helpers and supporter will meet on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Sportzentrum Nord in Waltrop (railway crossing Friedhofstraße).
”Bring lamps, lanterns, etc. Solid shoes would also go well.
“We would welcome it if other parts of the railway line were also subjected to safety checks before the Castors arrive. So, off you go. We wish all ‘security officers’ lots of success!”