Greenpeace's Actions Demonstrate Risks of UK's Nuclear Waste Trains

Aug. 4, 2006
Journalist placed fake bomb on train, Greenpeace was able to access train schedules

A timetable of nuclear waste trains passing through Battersea has been published to shake up transport bosses before a terrorist attack or serious crash occurs.

Greenpeace has published the timetable on its website to put pressure on Direct Rail Services to beef up security, after an undercover newspaper reporter placed a fake bomb on a stationery freight last week.

The environmental charity fears for the safety of thousands of people where the trains carrying nuclear waste from power stations in Suffolk, Essex and Kent to a reprocessing plant in Cumbria stop or pass through.

The timetable, which the Wandsworth Guardian has decided not to publish, shows the train stops at Wandsworth Road and Clapham High Street, and passes through Battersea.

A Greenpeace spokesman said: "It is irresponsible to be travelling with this dangerous nuclear waste, there is no need for it to be travelling around the country.

"It is very dangerous waste and it should be stored on site.

"People have the right to know that this is being ferried right under their noses."

An independent study last year said a high explosive terrorist attack could shower the capital with dangerous material and lead to deaths and mass evacuations.

David Polden, a member of Nuclear Trains Action Group, said: "There is no security whatever. How could you have security at virtually every point around the country?

"They should not be carried around at all, that is the solution.

"Burying the material on site, that is the only sensible place for the waste."

A spokeswoman for Direct Rail Services (DRS), a government agency which transports the waste, said it was "irresponsible" to publish the timetable.

She stressed the timbetable varied from day to day.

And she said DRS security had been approved by the Office for Civil Nuclear Security, the regulatory body.

She said: "I feel that Greenpeace is very irresponsible by publishing the information on the website but we are also confident that our security procedures are robust enough to deal with any potential threats."

She said DRS parent body, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, was carrying out a full investigation into the reporter's fake bomb.