Federal Government Backs Extension of EWN Interim Nuclear Waste Storage

In an answer to a minor interpellation by Alliance ’90/The Greens, the Federal Government said it supported the lawsuit by the state-owned Energiewerke Nord (EWN) against a decision by the state of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania denying storage of nuclear waste in its Interim Storage North facility beyond the currently applicable time limit.

In 2009 EWN, whose sole shareholder is the Federal Ministry of Finance, applied for an unlimited interim permit for nuclear waste from other nuclear power plants. The application was turned down by the competent state Ministry of the Interior. Minister of the Interior, Lorenz Caffier said, the interim storage facility should not become a permanent storage place.

The Federal Government justifies its support for the lawsuit brought by EWN against this decision by arguing that the application by EWN asked to lift the time limit for storing radioactive waste conditioned for storage until it can be brought to a permanent waste disposal site. It did not request that either the permitted amount of waste to be stored nor the limits of radioactivity permitted pursuant to the Radiation Protection Ordinance be amended, the government said.

Maintaining the possibility for conditioning radioactive waste and a longer interim storage, including from other nuclear facilities, e.g. research reactors operated by the German state, was vital, the government said. Otherwise considerable investments by the German state of roughly EUR 240 million in this modern facility that was unique in Germany from a technical point of view would be wasted and the federal budget burdenend with additional costs for similar facilities elsewhere in Germany. Hence, the government considered the lawsuit brought by EWN against the state of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania a step that protected federal interests, which it supported.

Source: Bundestag (ref. no. 17/6718)

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