Operators of Nuclear Facilities Refuse the Repository Concept of the Minister for the Environment

Berlin, 25.05.2004

At the beginning of the Annual Meeting on Nuclear Technology in Düsseldorf, Walter Hohlefelder, President of the German Atomic Forum (DAtF), has countered the plans of Jürgen Trittin, the German Environment Minister, with a flat denial. The plans were regarding a complete reorientation on the final disposal of radioactive waste. Next to a decision in favour of one single repository for all kinds of radioactive waste and a complete new beginning for the siting, the concept of the Minister for the Environment intended to transfer the task of establishing a repository from the Federal Government to an association which the operators of nuclear facilities would have to join obligatorily. According to Dr. Hohlefelder, the new disposal concept of the Minister for the Environment would not only turn accrued investments into dead capital but also cause a tremendous explosion of cost and the deferment of the repository issue until doomsday. He demanded to speed up the realisation of the already approved repository project "Konrad" and to continue a further investigation of the salt dome in Gorleben as agreed with the Federal Government. Dr. Hohlefelder stated that the disposal plans of the Federal Ministry for the Environment could neither be justified from a factual point of view nor could they be considered acceptable economically or from a political view.

The President of the DAtF explicitly emphasised the commitment of the Federal Government to the realisation of the Agreement of June 2001. For example, the operation of the nuclear power plants was free of political interferences. He said that this applied in particular to the guaranteed disposal of the spent fuel elements from nuclear power plants. Blocking of the power plants due spent fuel elements that could not be dispatched was no longer a problem. Dr. Hohlefelder stressed that the electric power utilities firmly sticked to the arrangements made.

In regard to the expected energy problems due to the phase-out of nuclear energy, he concurrrently summoned the Federal Government to thoroughly check each of its political targets in the field of energy for its compatibility and feasibility. The President warned that an energy policy with a unilateral engagement for climate protection and the concurrent phase-out of CO2-free nuclear energy constituted a high risk for the long-term provision of energy and stable electricity prices in Germany.

This year, more than 1,000 experts from 18 nations covering the fields of politics, economy and research are participating in the Annual Meeting on Nuclear Technology.

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