According to the findings of the Federal Association for Final Storage (BGE), 90 areas in Germany have favorable geological conditions for a nuclear waste storage facility. The salt dome of Gorleben in Lower Saxony is not included, according to the sub-areas of the interim report published on Monday.
In total, the sub-areas cover an area of about 194,000 square kilometers, which offers favorable geological conditions for a storage site for the high-level radioactive waste, the BGE reports. This is about 54 percent of the area of the Federal Republic. BGE maps show that Northern Germany, the East German states, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are particularly affected.
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Most of the affected area consists of layers of clay stone covering almost 130,000 square kilometers. They are mainly located in Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg, and to a lesser extent in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. Crystalline layers are also widely represented as potential storage areas, especially in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Saxony.
BGE has been looking for a storage location for high-level radioactive waste since 2017. This mainly concerns approximately 1,900 Castor containers with approximately 27,000 cubic meters of nuclear waste, which must be deposited underground in Germany after the nuclear phase-out. They are currently stored in aboveground temporary storage facilities, often in former nuclear power plant locations.
Ultimately, the Bundestag must decide
After decades of conflict over the Gorleben warehouse in Lower Saxony, the search was reset to zero years ago – in principle, no location should be excluded from the search. In 2031, a location decision must be taken in a transparent, scientifically based process. The political decision ultimately rests with the Bundestag.
The consensus on the procedure for finding a repository is considered fragile. Only recently did Bavaria’s Environment Minister Thorsten Glauber (free voters) question the process. “This process will cause unrest in Germany for decades and will cost billions,” he said. With Gorleben there is a well researched site for a safe and almost ready-to-use storage place. You have “withdrawn the key for political reasons only”. Glauber’s position was promptly criticized. Bavaria was one of the main beneficiaries of nuclear energy. Avoiding a solution is really damaging and cowardly, ‘Green boss Robert Habeck criticized in an interview with the Tagesspiegel.