The environmental lobby group says that an accident or a terrorist attack on a train could “spread radiation over 100 kilometres, and cause over 8,000 deaths”.

It also claims that the trains are regularly passing through commuter train stations and past hospitals, schools and houses.

Greenpeace nuclear campaigner Sarah North said: “Hundreds of thousands of people in the UK are unwittingly exposed to the dangers of nuclear waste every week.

“Trains carrying radioactive waste trundle through the UK’s villages, towns and cities every week – and we think the public has a right to know. So we’ve published a timetable of nuclear transports in the UK.

“The timetable is frighteningly easy to work out – just ask any train-spotter – and anyone could do it. So we’re doing it first, to make sure the government acts before terrorists do.”

But a spokesperson from the Department of Trade and Industry said: “There isn’t a set timetable for nuclear trains. They vary deliberately. The transportation of nuclear [waste] adheres to strict and stringent national and international regulations.”

He added that when nuclear waste is transported by rail, it is in containers that are tested to make sure they can withstand accidents.

Gretchen Hendriks

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