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Ultimate waste disposal, Germany

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Maintenance-free, chronologically unlimited and safe elimination of radioactive waste without intended recuperation. In Germany the storage of radioactive waste in deep geological formations is considered the best solution. The following repositories are under examination or being operated in Germany:

  • Procedures and techniques for ultimate radioactive waste disposal were developed and tested in the disused former salt mine →Asse near Wolfenbüttel and low and medium active waste was stored there until 1978. The long term stability of the storage area is highly doubtful due to saline inflow. According to the current state of decision makers the long-term safety can only be ensured for the Asse site after all the waste has been retrieved.

  • Suitability examinations and licensing procedures for the former ore mine Konrad have been under way since 1975. Here, the ultimate disposal of waste with a negligible thermal effect on the surrounding rock is planned. On June 5, 2002, the licence for the emplacement of a waste package volume of 300.000 m3 of radioactive waste with negligible heat generation was issued. The Federal Administrative Court on March 26, 2007 confirmed the lawfulness of the licence. Completion of the repository is expected in 2019.

  • The Gorleben salt dome has been investigated for its suitability as a repository for all types of solid radioactive waste, i.e. also heat-generating waste, since 1979. A final suitability statement for the Gorleben salt dome will be possible only after the underground reconnaissance. The evaluation of all reconnaissance results to date confirms its suitability. In the opinion of the Federal Government, there are doubts concerning the suitability of the salt dome. Therefore, the investigation was suspended.

  • The storage of radioactive waste in the ERAM repository near Morsleben in Saxony-Anhalt was terminated in 1999. At present, 36,754 cubic meters of low and medium active waste is stored in the Morsleben repository. The Federal Office for Radiation Protection is initiating a procedure for official approval of a plan to shut down the repository.

 

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