<p>Railroad cars carrying some 123 tons of nuclear waste glow red-hot in an infrared picture taken in <a id="agxe" title="Valognes (map)" href="http://maps.nationalgeographic.com/map-machine#s=r&amp;c=49.508773768948906, -1.4684799313545107&amp;z=12">Valognes (map)</a>, France, in November and released by Greenpeace International as part of an antinuclear-power campaign that included arranging protests that delayed the train's progress.</p><p>The train is hauling a so-called CASTOR convoy, named after the type of container carried: Cask for Storage and Transport Of Radioactive material. These trademarked casks have been used since 1995 to transport nuclear waste from German power plants to <a id="z9w3" title="France" href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/france-guide/">France</a> for reprocessing, then back to <a id="x:hb" title="Germany" href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/germany-guide/">Germany</a> for storage.</p><p>"High-level waste is in fact hot," said nuclear energy and proliferation expert <a href="http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/experts/368/matthew_bunn.html">Matthew Bunn</a>. "It doesn’t mean anything in particular in terms of how dangerous it is."</p><p>(Related <a id="x3xc" title="pictures: &quot;Leaking Nuclear Waste Fills Former Salt Mine.&quot;" href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/07/photogalleries/100708-radioactive-nuclear-waste-science-salt-mine-dump-pictures-asse-ii-germany/">pictures: "Leaking Nuclear Waste Fills Former Salt Mine.")</a></p><p><em>—Brian Handwerk</em></p>

Heated Compartments

Railroad cars carrying some 123 tons of nuclear waste glow red-hot in an infrared picture taken in Valognes (map), France, in November and released by Greenpeace International as part of an antinuclear-power campaign that included arranging protests that delayed the train's progress.

The train is hauling a so-called CASTOR convoy, named after the type of container carried: Cask for Storage and Transport Of Radioactive material. These trademarked casks have been used since 1995 to transport nuclear waste from German power plants to France for reprocessing, then back to Germany for storage.

"High-level waste is in fact hot," said nuclear energy and proliferation expert Matthew Bunn. "It doesn’t mean anything in particular in terms of how dangerous it is."

(Related pictures: "Leaking Nuclear Waste Fills Former Salt Mine.")

—Brian Handwerk

Image courtesy Greenpeace

Pictures: "Red Hot" Nuclear-Waste Train Glows in Infrared

Nuclear waste glows red in new thermal pictures of a controversial European train. But does that mean it's dangerous?

Read This Next

Grief drove a photographer to India. She found joy.
Why do we age?
What causes earthquakes?

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet