Row intensifies over German nuclear waste

Environment minister, Social Democrats, battle it out as waste transports approach

Germany's Christian Democrat environment minister Angela Merkel is defending nuclear waste transports against increasingly fierce attacks from the main Social Democrat (SPD) opposition party as a general election approaches. The SPD is accusing the government of ignoring growing public concern, as preparations continue for controversial shipments of low and intermediate-level radioactive waste from German nuclear power stations to a temporary storage site in Westphalia (ENDS Daily 6 February). Yesterday, Dr Merkel hit back, saying she was "amazed" that the Social Democrats should seek to "rattle people" by attacking an established policy that they had always known about. "Castor transports" of nuclear waste "don't deserve such a high political profile," she said. A spokesperson for the SPD told ENDS Daily that the party was increasingly opposed to nuclear power, and, if it won this autumn's election, would aim to stop its use in Germany. He said: "Of course, it would be a slow process of about 10-20 years, but the longer we wait to begin, the harder it will be."

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