Germany has named 90 locations that could safely house containers of radioactive nuclear waste permanently. The controversy over what to do with waste from the country’s nuclear power plants has been long and divisive.
Germany formally launched its new search for a permanent nuclear waste disposal site on Monday.
BGE, the nation’s waste management organization, named 90 areas around the country as possible candidates for the permanent waste disposal. It said in a long-awaited report that a location needs to be found by 2031. The aim is to start storing containers of radioactive waste at the site by 2050.
Germany is seeking a safe place to store 1,900 containers of waste. The containers make up only 5% of the country’s nuclear waste but 99% of its radioactivity, according to BGE chairman Stefan Studt.
The plan now is to discuss things step by step with the local communities in the 90 regions shortlisted. That is one reason why the process is scheduled to take so long. Construction is to begin on a new permanent storage facility for nuclear waste in 2031. That’s eleven years from now.
It’s also hoped that the low-level and intermediate-level waste that was practically dumped in the scandal-ridden mine of Asse for decades can also be moved to permanent storage. Apart from the indiscriminate disposal of nuclear waste, that mine is also in danger of collapsing.
The German Environment Minister, Svenja Schulze (SPD), welcomed the development. She and 2 state environment ministers co-wrote an opinion piece on Spiegel: “We are confident that this process will enable us to find a location that provides the greatest possible safety and security – not just for the next 50,000 years, rather for a million years or more.”
If nuclear waste can actually be disposed at the new facility starting 2050, that would still put Germany in the international vanguard: 70 years after humankind began using nuclear energy, not a single permanent waste storage site has been officially opened anywhere in the world.