The demonstrators have set up so-called resistance camps close to the
railway line and are threatening to attack the tracks and stage
sit-ins at strategic points.
A 17,000-strong police force is on high alert for potentially violent
clashes with the anti-nuclear campaigners.
It is the first such shipment since 1997, when pitched battles raged
for days between riot police and protesters.
Over the weekend, peaceful demonstrations were held along the route to
the storage site.
The shipment left by rail from La Hague in France at first light, and
will cross the German border on Monday night.
This normally quiet, rural corner of Germany is now swarming with
battle-ready police - their aim, to prevent thousands of anti-nuclear
protesters from blocking the railway line leading to the town of
That is where the train from France is expected to deposit its cargo
of six nuclear fuel containers late on Tuesday.
The radioactive waste must then be loaded on to trucks for transfer by
road to Gorleben.
The well-organised activists face what is almost certainly the biggest
post-war police operation mounted on German soil.
The looming battle at Gorleben is the consequence of a highly-charged
debate in Germany about nuclear power.
Last year, the coalition government of Social Democrats and Greens
struck a deal to phase out nuclear energy.
But the compromise reached with industry would allow some reactors to
remain in service for more than 20 years - far too long for
While the government argues that Germany has a moral duty to take back
its reprocessed nuclear waste, opponents see disrupting the shipments
as the most effective way of forcing an early shutdown of the
It is thought Germany will need to take back two shipments a year for
at least the next decade.
more information: http://www.oneworldweb.de/castor, http://www.x1000malquer.de, http://www.indymedia.de, http://www.greenpeace.de, http://www.greenpeace.fr