After more than 30 years of political controversy, the adoption of the Site Selection Act (StandAG) in the German Bundesrat today documents a non-partisan consensus on the question of the final disposal of high active waste. This may provide the opportunity for an unemotional future dialogue in the interests of a responsible and expeditious political solution.
The DAtF expressly welcomes the fact that the Gorleben salt dome is to remain in the site selection process. After all, so far no results have emerged from the decades of exploration that argue against its suitability as a final repository for high active waste.
The federal government, however, must safeguard the inclusion of the Gorleben salt dome in the site selection process both legally and operatively. A transparent and confidence-creating process should also include the scientific evaluation of the general and site-specific findings obtained in Germany to date and their objective consideration in the continuing process.
The operators of Germany’s nuclear power plants as those essentially responsible for the high active waste fully accept that it is their responsibility to bear the necessary cost for final waste disposal. In line with this position, the operators have so far invested more than 1.6 billion euros in the unprejudiced investigation of the Gorleben salt dome. There is no basis for the operators to take over the costs for the selection of an alternative site as long as no final evaluation of Gorleben’s suitability has been made. The Site Selection Act will not alter this legal interpretation because there is still no factual necessity to search for a new site.
The DAtF is convinced that Germany has a very good solution in the Gorleben interim storage facility and the associated technical infrastructure. Since the Act excludes the interim storage of further vitrified residual materials arising from reprocessing in Gorleben, it is now the duty of politicians to develop alternative solutions. In addition to the technical and logistical impacts which this will have on operators, it is the public sector that will have to bear the considerable additional financial expenditure involved.
The DAtF and its members will use their technical expertise to supervise the continuing process constructively. The aim in this case must be for the federal government to shoulder its responsibility to provide a secure final repository for high active waste within a short time.