May 27, 2018
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German nuclear waste finds way to get around protesters by taking to a river

Bad Wimpfen (Germany), Jun 28 (efe-epa).- Nuclear waste found a new way to travel through Germany, a country where concerned environmentalists have often interrupted its transport with road and rail blocks, by taking to the water on Wednesday.

Flanked by a heavy police escort, a river barge carrying containers with radioactive waste sealed inside circumvented anti-nuclear protesters, as seen in images captured by an epa photographer.

"This is the first time that CASTOR (cask for storage and transport of radioactive material) containers with nuclear waste have been transported by boat," the activists said in a statement.

The transport ship _ loaded with three dry casks containing the hazardous material that were shielded from view by a protective canopy _ glided over the Neckar River with the aid of a push boat and an accompanying tug as a backup.

Meanwhile, environmentalists belonging to German advocacy group Robin Wood deployed a large orange banner under a bridge that read "Stop waste instead of relocating it."

As part of the protest action, the green activists hung from ropes at a bridge in the town of Bad Wimpfen, located in the state of Baden-Württemberg, some 530 kilometers to the southwest of Berlin.

"Robin Wood considers this to be unnecessary and dangerous, and demands that the transports be halted," they added.

The boat was accompanied by police helicopters and vessels, while scores of officers watched on from the Neckar's banks to prevent possible disruptions.

The waste was being moved over a distance of about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the closed-down Obrigheim nuclear power plant to a temporary storage location in Neckarwestheim.

Robin Wood was founded by former Greenpeace members in the northern German port city of Bremen in 1982.

The anti-nuclear movement has a long history in Germany, with early protests and sit-ins taking place in 1975 to prevent the construction of a nuclear power station in the hamlet of Wyhl.

The catastrophic accident at Chernobyl, in Ukraine, provided greater impetus to the movement and spurred the electoral growth of the newly-created Green Party, which advocated the phaseout of all nuclear energy generation, to be replaced with clean and renewable alternatives.

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