Exploration of Gorleben as Permanent Nuclear Waste Disposal Site to Start Again

10 years after the exploration of a salt dome in Gorleben as a permanent disposal site for nuclear waste was suspended, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) shall again start examining the suitability of the Gorleben site.

Yesterday, Lower Saxony’s Environment Minister Hans-Heinrich Sander (FDP) informed the state government that the framework operating plan (Rahmenbetriebsplan) for the assessment of Gorleben as a nuclear waste site has been approved until 30 September 2020. The main operating plan (Hauptbetriebsplan) for specific examination measures has been approved until September 2012.

The exploration of the salt dome is done pursuant to mining law. It covers the suitability from a mining point of view. The original framework operating plan was already approved on 9 September 1983 and has been amended repeatedly.

Research activities shall start again in October, and shall be concluded in five to seven years, Mr Sander said. He called for a transparent process in which municipal politicians and state citizens were fully informed. We want the German state to disclose all scientific information, be they geologically positive or negative, Mr Sander emphasized.

The opposition, especially the Green party, heavily criticized the decision. The issue of a permanent nuclear waste site in Gorleben is highly controversial. Opponents of nuclear energy have long alleged that Gorleben was chosen as a long-term storage site for political reasons before its safety had been properly determined and that alternative locations were not given proper consideration.

Sources: Press Release Environmental Ministry Lower SaxonyWelt Online

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