The German Bundestag decided today to staff the “Commission on Storage of High-Active Waste”. This means that the first step towards commencement of this Commission’s work has now been taken. The Commission’s assignment and its broad lineup of representatives from politics, civil society and science of very different backgrounds must now be utilized quickly, objectively and ideology-free to implement the safe disposal of heat-generating radioactive waste in Germany.
The Commission’s essential task is to develop recommendations regarding the site selection process for a final repository for heat-generating radioactive waste as well as to develop selection and exclusion criteria for final repository sites. This must be carried out transparently and objectively without prejudice to guarantee the credibility of the Commission’s work. The benchmark must be the safety of a future final repository and not the interests of individual groups or political motives.
During all attempts to reach a political consensus, it should be borne in mind that the integrity and credibility of a new site selection process also depends on the Gorleben site remaining in the process while ensuring all the legal requirements and necessary maintenance work. According to the latest scientific information, there is nothing to argue against the site’s suitability from a safety point of view and a new search process would be doubtful from the beginning if the site were to be abandoned for political reasons.
The Commission can draw on approximately 50 years of final repository research, a large number of expert assessment reports and extensive process experience in Germany alone. In this respect, the Commission’s work will also contribute to wider public information regarding the facts surrounding the question of the final disposal of heat-generating radioactive waste both in Germany and internationally.
It is regrettable that, in spite of extensive and time-consuming efforts on the part of politicians, the environmental organizations have still not nominated any representative for the Commission.