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Canada Out for Gorleben: The 1.6 billion euro debacle

00:10  29 september  2020
00:10  29 september  2020 Source:   wiwo.de

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The Gorleben salt dome is a proposed deep geological repository in a salt dome in Gorleben in the Lüchow-Dannenberg district in the far north-east of Lower Saxony for low-, medium- and high-level radioactive waste. At the end of 1973 the search began for a final salt dome storage.

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Schon 1986 wurde im niedersächsischen Gorleben ein Bergwerk errichtet, um die Eignung des Salzstocks für die Endlagerung von Atommüll zu prüfen. 1,6 Milliarden Euro kosteten die bisherigen Untersuchungen, sie wurden erst 2013 abgeschlossen. © dpa A mine was built in Gorleben in Lower Saxony in 1986 to test the suitability of the salt dome for the final disposal of nuclear waste. The previous examinations cost 1.6 billion euros and were only completed in 2013.

The search for a repository for nuclear waste is entering a new phase. The power plant operators have already paid 1.6 billion euros without seeing any results.

There are people who have made it their life's work to fight against the nuclear repository in Gorleben. More than 30 years have passed and today everything looks like they'll be right. The Federal Association for Final Storage (BGE) announced today that the Gorleben site is not suitable. The search continues - open-ended, as is insured. After all, according to the official interim report on the search for a repository, around 54 percent of Germany's area is “geologically suitable”, including parts of the capital. The fact that no other location is as well researched as Gorleben hardly matters.

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A mine was built in Gorleben in Lower Saxony in 1986 to test the suitability of the salt dome for the final disposal of nuclear waste. The previous examinations cost 1.6 billion euros and were only completed in 2013. Result: "Despite the exploration that has not yet been completed, it can be determined from the previous investigations that from a geoscientific point of view there is no evidence against the suitability of the salt dome".

More than 90 percent of the costs for the exploration were borne by the energy supply companies. The mine is also kept open until a decision is made about the locations, which also devours a lot of money: an annual amount of low millions. The Federal Ministry for the Environment estimated the cost of this at 40 million euros for 2015 and 30 million euros for 2016. This is not a bargain, so it is all the more surprising that it is only now being announced that the rock is unsuitable. "Gorleben has indeed met all the minimum requirements, but was not sufficient in the overall geoscientific perspective," said BGE managing director Steffen Kanitz on Monday morning in Berlin. The subsoil has inadequate retention capacity and the overburden is not completely intact.

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The search continues, since 2017 there has been at least one clear financing concept for this: the fund for financing nuclear waste disposal (Kenfo), into which the energy industry has paid 24.1 billion euros. According to the Atomic Energy Act, all costs that arise for the final storage of nuclear waste must be borne proportionally by the respective producers of this waste. With the transfer to the fund, the state assumes the possible further risks for the final and interim storage of the nuclear waste. However, the corporations remain responsible for the decommissioning and demolition of the nuclear power plants, as well as the packaging of the garbage.

The funds are intended to ensure the disposal of nuclear waste in the long term, so it is invested profitably. So far, however, the money has become less: of the 24 billion euros originally paid in, only 23.2 billion were left at the end of last year. This is also due to the costs for the interim storage of the radioactive waste and the search for a repository. The longer the search takes, the less money there will be in the fund to later finance the operation of the repository. The remaining costs would then stick to the state. When the Kenfo was founded, opponents of nuclear power criticized the fact that the power plant operators were not paying enough.

It is the task of the Federal Association for Final Storage that the search is ended on time. The company currently has 900 employees for this, cost of personnel costs: 86.5 million euros. They have to get rid of the buck by 2031: Then all possible locations should be explored and proposed to the Bundestag.

More on the topic: Researchers and investors put billions on nuclear fusion and atomic fission. But in this country they don't want to know anything about the revival of the controversial technology.

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