Nuclear Waste

Nuclear waste is being transported to Gorleben, and again people are demonstrating against this. (Gorleben is a place in Germany, where this waste is to be kept for… forever? We have the ‘nice’ term Endlager for this)

Don’t get me wrong, I can understand that people don’t want this highly dangerous materials near their homes or loved ones. I can understand perfectly well, because I have relatives near one of those designated locations. I can also understand that people ask for better solutions than just putting that stuff underground and hoping everything will be alright.

But as far as I know transporting the nuclear waste in high security containers by train on reserved tracks and by lorry on reserved roads is not exactly what I would call dangerous. Those transports become dangerous when people chain themselves to the tracks or – yes that has happend, too – concrete themselves on the tracks. Sometime people even start to remove the track bed, which is probably the most stupid and most dangerous thing the demonstrators can do. This could derail the train and thus really cause a nuclear desaster.

The transport become dangerous, because demonstrators try to sabotage the transports. As long as none of the demonstrators is putting up such a silly show, the transports are safe. They do not, by no means, proove these transports to be dangerous, if they are the ones who commit acts of sabotage.

For some time I have been living near one of the tracks which is often used for the nuclear waste transports. And personally, I don’t see much sense in those actions. It only triggers police helicopters to parol the tracks all night – thanks, I did not really want to sleep anyways. You have ten thousand police men in heavy armor, where 100 could be more than enough, if demonstrators would not sabotage all the time.

Personally, everytime I see people behaving that stupid, two things, which could be done, come to my mind:

  1. A train is pretty strong compared to a human being. Simple middle school level physics are more than enough to explain, what would happen to an unfortunate human being hit by a train. So if these people want to put their lives on the line, its their fault. Let the train drive through. I bet after the first demonstrator has been mauled, others will keep away from the tracks. I know that there is no legal background for actions like this, and I am well aware of the fact that the train driver will not be fond of killing people.
  2. After the transport is over, sum up all costs (police forces, equipment, damage to tracks, costs through delay, etc…..) divide it by the number of offenders who have been arrested and send them a bill. And then make them pay until the end of their days. Maybe they realize, why those transports become more and more expensive each time.

We have been using nuclear power for decades. We never thought about where to put the nuclear waste (or we dumped it into the seas, of which I highly disapprove), so now we have to fidn solutions. Maybe Endlager are not the right thing after all. But what else should be done? I don’t know. Honestly, I have not been to any demonstration against nuclear waste transports, because I simply have no idea what could be done instead. If someone out there has a good alternative, come forward with it. (Leaving it in France is no solution! We have to take responsibility for the mess we made ourselves! If we ask a French company to ‘recycle’ the nuclear stuff, we have to take it back afterwards!)

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4 thoughts on “Nuclear Waste

  1. There are no good alternatives. And that’s the reason why we are there protesting. It’s not only a protest against this “Endlager”, it’s a protest against nuclear power in general. The nuclear waste is radiating for tens of thousands of years. Now look back in human history for that time. What do we know about it? Close to nothing. How should we keep the knowledge, that this is a dangerous place for so long? It’s not possible. So we should first stop producing nuclear waste (so it doesn’t get more and more), and then think about a way to keep it as safe as possible.

  2. I totally agree, that we need an alternative to nuclear power in the first place. But that still doesn’t justify to ‘throw’ oneself in front of a train or taking action to derail it.

  3. Please don’t take things I write too literally. I like to be sarcastic and cynical, and I am in one way or the other really pissed by some of the actions demonstrators take.

    Of course, people do not throw themselves in front of a train like jumping out from the bushes “Here I am!”. But chaining oneself to the tracks can come pretty close to this.

    I have heard multiple times about people digging away the track bed on 10 to 30m or something. If such a damage to the tracks goes unnoticed, it can be enough to derail a train (depending on how much of the tracks foundation is removed). I do not know, if the people who did that wanted to derail the train or not, maybe they did not even think about the consequences of their actions.

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