After serving for decades as a storage location for German radioactive nuclear waste, the government said it would close the Gorleben mine. Locals and environmental groups have protested against the facility for years.
The Gorleben mine in the German state of Lower Saxony will close, the country’s Environment Ministry announced on Friday.
The mine in the Wendland region became the center of a long-running controversy after it was proposed as a possible site for the disposal of radioactive nuclear waste.
The Gorleben mine controversy
Gorleben had been earmarked as a site for nuclear waste disposal almost 40 years ago.
But locals rejected the decision, arguing that the salt in the ground could weaken containment structures and cause radioactive leaks. The site became the focus of Germany’s anti-nuclear movement with activists staging sit-in protests and blocking trains bringing containers of nuclear waste to the facility.
Germany’s nuclear waste problem
Germany is seeking a safe place to store 1,900 containers of radioactive waste. The containers make up only 5% of the country’s nuclear waste but 99% of its radioactivity, according to BGE chairman Stefan Studt.
BGE has named 90 areas around the country as potential places for permanent waste disposal.
The sites are currently being vetted taking into account a number of factors, including population density.