25 Years of Gorleben - and no End in Sight

Berlin, 21.02.2002

25 years ago, on February 22, 1977, the Lower Saxon Land government named the Gorleben salt dome to the Federal Government as a possible site for a repository for high-active waste (HAW). Gorleben was selected from more than 200 other examined salt domes by application of a catalogue of certain criteria. Since then, the site has been at the centre of controversial debates and emotional rallies. This has not changed since the phase-out-oriented energy policy of the federal government. Quite on the contrary. In the agreement of June 2000 between the federal government and the power utilities, the government had urged for a corresponding moratorium on final storage. It was specified that exploration activities should rest for at least three, but for no longer than ten years. A special commission set up by the Federal Environment Minister is now to develop criteria for the selection of a suitable repository site. While only last week the US President told Congress that he considers the repository site of Yucca Mountain in Nevada to be suitable, our federal government has yet again postponed a necessary decision for the time being.

The fact that salt rock was chosen as the most suitable host formation for a repository stems from an expert opinion which was prepared by the former Federal Institute for Ground Research (now the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources) way back in 1963. The Gorleben salt dome has now been explored for 25 years, and the geological data acquired so far speak quite clearly for Gorleben as a repository. The costs for the years of scientific exploration so far amount to about 1.3 billion ?, of which more than 90 % has been paid by the power utilities.

The German Atomic Forum can presently see no arguments that would speak against Gorleben as a suitable site for a repository. The bases for the safe enclosure of high-active waste exist, and the technical problems have been resolved. Therefore the German Atomic Forum will not release politicians from their responsibility to provide a suitable repository as quickly as possible.


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