German anti-nuclear protests heat up ahead of 21 September election

About one thousand Castor caskets full of nuclear waste are produced by just one atomic power station during its operative life without there being a final repository for it anywhere.

That’s a point the German anti-nuclear activist group Campact is making with demonstrations in 12 cities of the country, which goes to the polls on 27 September.

The conservatives of Chancellor Angela Merkel, keen backers of nuclear power, are tipped to win by a large margin.

Last Friday Compact put on its spectacular show in Berlin, the capital, on Saturday they were in Hamburg, the second-largest city.

Part of the action is a huge lifelike mock-up of a Castor casket, the kind of receptacle in which waste is transported and stored.

Meanwhile 30 farm tractors from the Gorleben waste dump area are rolling towards Berlin, to be joined by 100 more later, for a demo on 5 September expected to draw tens of thousands of protesters. More than 1,000 people and 120 tractors sent them on their journey of hundreds of kilometres. At this writing they had passed through Lueneburg, Uelzen and Braunschweig.

A leftwing newspaper, “taz”, reports that nuclear power companies are giving their apprentices time off work to attend a pro-nuclear demonstration at the Biblis power station, one of whose two blocks is to be shut down by the end of this year. It is situated in a heavily industrialised and populated central German area encompassing Frankfurt/Main, Darmstadt and Mannheim. The power companies deny that they’re pressuring the trainees, but one source in the RWE company said there’s a clear order to take part. If all do, that would make 10,000 pro-nuclear demonstrators.

Meanwhile the Federal Radiation protection agency reports that a lump of 20,000 tonnes is likely to drop 40 to 45 metres out of the ceiling of a former salt mine in Morsleben which is one of several dodgy nuclear waste dumps in Germany.

The agency says there’s even a possibility that the entire ceiling could collapse. People in the area would be able to feel it, glasses would wobble. Brine is running in the mine and has even formed stalagtites.

Morsleben used to be the nuclear dump of the former communist East Germany and Ms Merkel, then environment minister, allowed dumping to continue there despite warnings by scientists that it was unsafe. It was finally stopped by a court order, initiated by Greenpeace.