Development of the "Konrad Mine" Repository Must now Go on

Berlin, 08.03.2006

The German Atomic Forum emphatically welcomes today`s dismissal of the case against the plan approval decision for the "Konrad Mine" repository by the Lüneburg Supreme Administrative Court. "This means that the plan approval decision of the Lower Saxon environment ministry of 2002 has been confirmed in every respect," Dr. Walter Hohlefelder, President of the German Atomic Forum, commented on the ruling. To await this clarification of the court in the main proceedings, the Federal Government and the power utilities had agreed in their Agreement of 11 June 2001 that the former withdraw its application for immediate enforcement of the plan approval decision. "The development of the "Konrad Mine" repository will now at last have to be resumed. If the repository is developed without delay, emplacement could start around the year 2013," said Dr. Hohlefelder.

"Now that is possible to develop the "Konrad Mine" repository, one major component of the German waste management concept - which by international standards is far advanced - can now be implemented," Dr. Hohlefelder continued. The former "Konrad" iron ore mine near Salzgitter is licensed as a repository for around 300,000 cubic metres of low- and medium-level radioactive waste. It will take in approx. 85% of all radioactive waste arising in Germany. Of this, two thirds will come from the power utilities in the long run. A large part of the currently existing waste, however, originates from the public sector, e. g. from research or medical applications.

Exploration of the Gorleben salt dome as a possible repository for high-level radioactive waste is currently on hold. However, neither the expert opinions available since December 2005 on the methodical-conceptual and safety-related issues nor the geological findings obtained so far contradict the suitability of the salt dome. What is more, from a purely technical point of view, the waste management issue has already been resolved. "As the doubts presented in the Agreement between the Federal Government and the power utilities concerning the Gorleben salt dome have been removed, what counts now is that the exploration work at Gorleben - the result of which is no foregone conclusion - is brought to an end as quickly as possible so that we will have final clarity about the site." said Dr. Hohlefelder.

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