/ languages

Choisir langue

France - Greenpeace activist

Police remove Greenpeace activist from rail tracks

Article published on the 2009-12-07 Latest update 2009-12-07 10:35 TU

Yannick Rousselet began his protest on Sunday night(Photo: Nicolas Chauveau/Greenpeace)

Yannick Rousselet began his protest on Sunday night
(Photo: Nicolas Chauveau/Greenpeace)

French police had to remove a Greenpeace activist from a railway line near Cherbourg on Monday after he had chained himself to it in a bid to block the export of uranium to Russia.

Yannick Rousselet, head of Greenpeace's anti-nuclear campaign in France, began his protest late on Sunday, laying on the tracks and chaining both arms to the railway.

After the chains were cut, Rousselet was questioned at a Cherbourg police station.

The train was able to travel from a factory run by the nuclear giant Areva to the northern port of Cherbourg where the cargo is to be loaded onto a ship headed for Russia.

"Despite our modest means, we have been able to thwart Areva's plan to discretely resume its waste traffic on the day when the world's eyes are on Copenhagen," said Rousselet in a statement.

Areva chairman Anne Lauvergeon defended nuclear energy as environmentally safe.

"Nuclear energy does not produce CO2 gas. This is truly the way to fight climate change," she told French radio.

"This demonstrates that Greenpeace is fighting the wrong battle."

According to Areva, the low-grade uranium will be enriched in Russia before being sent back to France to produce nuclear fuel.

Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo has ordered a probe into the uranium shipments after questions were raised over a shortfall in the amount returned to France.

Areva maintains the low-grade uranium shipments are not nuclear waste, which are barred from export under French law.