Because the Hessian Ministry of the Environment considers the Castor transport to be immovable, the wagons roll towards Biblis despite the lockdown. The protest against it should be limited.
When the number of infections rose in March, the Castor transport from Sellafield to Biblis in southern Hesse, which was planned at the time, was canceled at short notice. But now the special train with the six bins full of highly radioactive nuclear waste is supposed to roll, lockdown light or not.
“This transport is a logistical masterpiece, it has a long lead time, it cannot be canceled overnight”, explains Dietlinde Petrick from the Hessian Ministry of the Environment. She refers to international agreements that regulated the return of the nuclear waste from the reprocessing plant in Sellafield, UK, to Germany. In addition, this is stipulated in the Atomic Energy Act, said Petrick on Thursday in an online press conference on the transport that has already started.
According to the Society for Nuclear Service (GNS), which handles the transport for the power plant operators, and from opponents of nuclear power: Inside, a ship with the six Castors left the English port of Barrow-in-Furness on Tuesday evening. It is expected on Saturday in a north German seaport, probably this will be Nordenham near Bremerhaven (the organizers do not publish an exact route for such transports for safety reasons).
By rail, the containers are expected to reach Biblis in southern Hesse via Hanover, Frankfurt and Darmstadt on Monday or Tuesday. There they are to be stored in the decommissioned nuclear power plant until there is a repository in Germany.
There are serious concerns about repatriation right now. The police union GdP has called for a cancellation in view of the worsening corona crisis. The police are expected to enforce the corona requirements and health protection, said GdP Vice Jörg Radek on Thursday the editorial network Germany. “From our point of view, it is incompatible that the police should accompany a nuclear transport across Germany at the beginning of November,” said Radek.
Official information there is no schedule or route for Castor transports for safety reasons. Around November 1st around the ship with six castors coming from England is expected to dock in Nordenham in Lower Saxony. By train the nuclear waste containers are probably brought to Biblis in southern Hesse via Hanover, Göttingen, Fulda, Frankfurt and Darmstadt. They should arrive there around November 4th. pgh
“Given the current pandemic, it is irresponsible to carry out protection-intensive Castor transports,” said Torsten Felstehausen, environmental policy spokesman for the left parliamentary group in the Hessian state parliament. An action alliance made up of anti-nuclear power groups calls for vigils across the country.
Virginie Wegner, press spokeswoman for the Hessian State Criminal Police Office, admitted that securing the transport was a “challenging situation” and that the situation was “dynamic”. The state police and the federal police are well prepared, however, and there is an extensive hygiene concept. Mouth and nose coverings must always be worn, there are “hygiene scouts” on the go to ensure compliance with the rules, and a mix of emergency services from different groups should be avoided. When staying overnight, the police officers would have single and double rooms instead of the usual collective accommodation, for example in gyms, said Wegner.
Michael Köbl, head of the communications department at GNS, also reported on extensive hygiene precautions to prevent the accompanying staff from being infected with the corona virus. The employees were in the home office before the assignment, the groups would be deployed separately from each other, protective equipment had to be worn. In addition, the body temperature is measured regularly during the mission.
Usually several thousand emergency services accompany the nuclear waste transports nationwide. The number of protesters is usually just as large. This time it could look a little different.
Herbert Würth, one of the spokespersons for the “Stop Castor” alliance, assumes that fewer people than usual will come to the track to announce their protest. The elderly in particular may be concerned about their health and avoid crowds.
A spokesman for the federal police said on Thursday that they are betting that “the protest potential will be lower due to the corona”. You would expect demonstrations a little off the track. In general, due to the resolutions of the federal government and the states to contain the corona infections, “significantly less population on the street” can be expected.
This also means a lower risk of infection for the officers deployed. So it is intended that the respective task forces should remain in their region. “The use then largely corresponds to the regular service,” said the spokesman. “However, the risk would increase if there were disruptions.” Up to now, this was also common for Castor transports.