Gorleben Castor Resistance in Germany 2011/indymedia article translation
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Castor 2011? Saw, Remove Ballast, Scoop...!
Probably between 25 and 28 November 2011 another Castor transport with nuclear waste will be shipped from La Hague, France to the Lower Saxonian intermediate storage Gorleben, Germany. With a preliminary end of the nuclear power plant lifetime extension and the shutdown of some NPPs, the German Federal Government, by their standards, did quite a lot to pacify the German anti-nuclear movement that regained strength after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. Germany is facing a energy turnaround say the news and the advertisements for the energy suppliers. This article explains the political backgrounds of the resistance in the Wendland region that doesn't calm down since decades, neither today. In addition, there will be and overview about possible forms of activism and necessary information about legal protection.
Political Backgrounds of the Anti-Castor Protests
When the Castor transport is shipped to Gorleben, different kinds of people will stand up against it. Over the last decades, nuclear transports to the Wendland region have turned into the biggest focal point of the anti-nuclear movement worldwide. They are the place where nuclear policy is most easily targetable, particularly because of the deep entrenchment of the protest movement in the Wendland region. Nearly the whole population, young and old, supports the movement. The lack of dogmatism is a very strong point of the resistance. It is also a good opportunity to draw attention to parts of anti-nulear politics that are not directly connected to Gorleben and are harder to attack than the Castor transport.
Uranium Mining, NPPS and "Reprocessing"
Final Disposal Issues / Gorleben as a Nuclear Disposal Site
Worldwide, there is no final disposal site for high-level radioactive waste. Likewise, this is hardly possible. Plutonium has a half life of 24,000 years. That means that it would need to be isolated securely from the environment for millions of years. A period of time that is hardly imaginable. No language, no symbol has existed even nearly for this time. To warn generations in 48,000 years, when 25% of the plutonium is still sending out radioactive rays, is very difficult. Not to speak of that for such a period of time, wherever you bury it, it is barely possible to ensure that nothing of the waste is released. In the repository ASSE, only a few years where enough for ground water to make its way to the radioactive waste, something that was considered to be unthinkable before. With this background, to produce nuclear waste is irresponsible to all following generations. Gorleben is a good symbol for the problem that there is no secure final repository worldwide. The salt dome in Gorleben was not chosen because it is the best suitable place in Germany for instance, but because of "geopolitical reasons", as they say. In plain language: Gorleben was located near the border to the GDR. In addition to that, the area is sparsely populated and it was not expected that the rather conservative farmers could stand up. Now the farmers have been standing up and the GDR does not exist anymore – Gorleben however is still intended to be "explored" just because it was begun with. And in order to create facts, the salt dome is extended within the framework of "exploration" to virtually become a final repository, even though there is no permission for this. More facts are created with every Castor transport to the interim repository. Along the lines of "but the waste has to go somewhere!" the stored Castors shall be buried in the salt dome at some point in the future – despite every concern. But nuclear waste shouldn't be put "somewhere", it has to be isolated from the environment as securely as possible. Since the "exploration" of the salt dome is in progress, an official suitability assessment is under way, but no results have been presented yet. Many independent assessments however came to the conclusion that Gorleben is no way suitable as a secure final repository, that a natural gas deposit could lead to problems and that the salt stock could flood if Gorleben is built as improperly as ASSE. All this doesn't build confidence in the long term storage project Gorleben.
A text about the final repository problem: endlager.pdf German
radiation limit at interim storage Gorleben nearly reached
At the interim repository, the Castor containers are the only protection from radiation. And it is known that the containers let through a part of the radiation. At the moment, press report that the radioactive contamination around this "potato barn" has significantly increased, supposedly because of the last hot transport. The measured values are close to the annual limit values for "persons exposed to radiation" (e.g. NPP workers). It is probable that the radioactive exposure will exceed the limit value after the next Castor transport. The close-by residents will have to endure a radioactive exposure higher than the workers of a nuclear power plant. A logical conclusion would be to stop the next Castor transport. But because of national interests the responsible authorities don't want to know about this. The citizens' initiatives are taking the issue to court, but one can assume that, despite the evident facts, the courts will act along the reason of state and accept the violation of radiation safety limits.
see also: Contratom: Meß- und Rechentricks für den Castor German
Castor transports and power
Castor transports to the Wendland are a huge manifestation of state power. Probably the nuclear waste could not have been stored in Gorleben if there hadn't been violent police forces to accompany each transport. The rejection of Castor transports is widespread in the Wendland and does not depend on political attitude. By libertarian or even just democratic standards a nuclear repository in Wendland would not be possible. Nearly the whole population fights since decades against Gorleben as a nuclear site. But just as long they are ignored by the authorities. The implementation of energy politics is a national interest. And so every Wendland Castor transport is accompanied by tens of thousands of police who put the whole region in an exceptional state and have order to break the resistance - with violence, if necessary.
The massive police presence in the region (already months before the transport) led to a thing some sociologists call “Lüchow-Dannenberg-Syndrome” by now: The “criminal” statistics rise when there is more police concentrated somewhere. This is explained through a lower number of unreported cases. When more police is deployed than usual, they also pursue “crimes” that usually would be ignored or overlooked. Mostly bagatelles. The phenomenon carries the name of the district Lüchow-Dannenberg because it is most clearly observable in the Wendland, where you can run into a police block 5 times within 10 km.
In the Wendland, state power can be experienced like almost nowhere else in Germany. But it can also be attacked like almost nowhere else in Germany. Particularly in sabotaging of the police force. But also decision-makers (like e.g. the district council) and profiteers (E-on etc.) can be considered with protests.
Depending on who is in national power at the moment, prominent politicians can be found on the verge of the protests in the Wendland. They want to present themselves as part of the movement to get political credits, even if the Castor transport was accompanied with 20,000 police under their own rule. The political power interests of the parties are barely different from each other (not only with regard to Gorleben). That's why politicians who want to take part in actions can also become targets of these.
Actions against the Castor transport 2011
First said: This article also describes actions that exceed a certain degree of illegality and can have unpleasant legal consequences if you are getting picked up by the police. This merely documents the diversity of the forms of actions that have already taken place in the past and therefore the police is familiar with. That means that this article doesn't provide insights that police doesn't have yet.
Which actions will eventually take place depends on what single people prepare. The mentioning in this article is no guarantee that these actions will also take place. It's up to you!
This translation is based upon the article Castor 2011? Sägen, Schottern, Schaufeln...! by "(((A)))" which was released under a creative commons licence on Indymedia Germany. Some small changes have been made to make it more understandable for international readers.