6 May (NucNet): A change in priorities is needed at Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection in an effort to resolve outstanding questions about the storage and disposal of radioactive waste in Germany, German Atomic Forum president Ralf Güldner has said.
In a speech at the opening of the Annual Meeting on Nuclear Technology in Frankfurt today, Mr Güldner said a “robust consensus” needs to be found on the development of the Schacht Konrad nationwide repository for low-level and intermediate-level radioactive waste, and a deep geologic repository.
Mr Güldner said there is still uncertainty about storage conditions at Schacht Konrad and an urgent need for clear information from the licensing authority about how pending problems will be solved.
He also called for more certainty on plans for the intermediate storage of vitrified waste from reprocessing overseas. Vitrified waste from reprocessing is already being stored at Gorleben, but some is still awaiting transportation from the UK.
In June 2013, Germany’s Bundestag agreed to allow a commission of experts to launch a search for a new nuclear waste disposal site. The law ended radioactive transports to Gorleben for the time being.
German parliamentarians must approve a final repository for nuclear waste by 2031 at the latest.
Mr Güldner also said nuclear operators need regulatory certainty on the issue of decommissioning, but there are regulatory challenges that need to be clarified.
In May 2011, Germany’s ruling coalition government agreed a date of 2022 for the final shutdown of the last of the country’s 17 commercial nuclear reactor units with eight reactors shut down immediately.