nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Germany’s costly nuclear waste dump correction

Environment state secretary Jochen Flasbarth, who described the situation in Asse II as “disastrous”, told journalists in Berlin that the current plan was to store the Asse waste, once retrieved, with the high-level radioactive waste for which the government is still searching a site…….

The Asse case shows how difficult it can be to undo a decision related to nuclear waste storage. It will take longer to retrieve the waste than it did to dump it

waste cavern Germany

text-relevantWhy Germany is digging up its nuclear waste, By  , EU Observer, WOLFENBUETTEL, GERMANY, TODAY, 2 Feb 16  “….. in hindsight, the Asse II salt mine should never have been used in the 1960s and 1970s as a site to dump nuclear waste, said Ingo Bautz of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection………To anti-nuclear activists, Asse is a prime example of government not listening to citizens’ concerns. “Incidents were predicted,” said Wolfgang Ehmke, activist in the Gorleben region.

But the waste had to be stored somewhere, so the voices that warned against selecting Asse II were ignored.

“The potential risks for the future were accepted,” Bautz said, during a recent press visit to the mine organised by Clean Energy Wire, a non-profit group supported by the Mercator and European Climate foundations.

Road signs, deep underground

Until 1978, low and intermediate-level radioactive waste was stored in Asse II, the only such site in Germany.

Ten years later, the operator of the mine discovered leaks of radioactive brine. But it was not until 2008, when media reported about it, that the leaks became public knowledge.

The German government took control of the mine and tasked the Federal Office for Radiation Protection with its decommissioning.

The office concluded that the risk of groundwater contamination was too big, and the only truly safe option was to retrieve all the waste from the mine and store it elsewhere. In all, 126,000 containers filled with contaminated clothes, paper and equipment were stored in Asse, the office said.

“This task is very difficult,” said Bautz, who joined journalists to travel into the mine, 658m below the surface.

The lift plunged to the bottom at 36km/h. Inside the mine, the temperature was about 30C even though it was freezing above ground.

The mine is so large that workers have to use cars to get around. In one tunnel an LED road sign typically found in residential areas tells drivers to watch their speed……..

Since the mine is over a century old, it needs to be protected against a collapse or flooding. It will also need another lift to use for retrieving the waste.

And because of safety regulations regarding evacuation, only 120 people can be down in the mine at the same time. Workers are monitored for any exposure to radiation……..

In 2011, the EU adopted a rule obliging each country that has produced nuclear waste to have policies on how to manage their waste. Last August, all member states were due to report about their national programmes for the first time.

Germany told the commission it planned to put “all types of radioactive waste in deep geological disposal facilities with the aim to guarantee isolation from the biosphere in the long term, thus ensuring the safety of man and the environment without any need for maintenance”.

Environment state secretary Jochen Flasbarth, who described the situation in Asse II as “disastrous”, told journalists in Berlin that the current plan was to store the Asse waste, once retrieved, with the high-level radioactive waste for which the government is still searching a site…….

The Asse case shows how difficult it can be to undo a decision related to nuclear waste storage. It will take longer to retrieve the waste than it did to dump it…….

This is second part in a two-part series about Germany’s nuclear waste. Part one was about how Gorleben refused to be the country’s permanent waste repository.  https://euobserver.com/beyond-brussels/132085

Advertisements

February 3, 2016 - Posted by | Germany, wastes

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: