Further Postponement of the Final Repository Question is Irresponsible

Berlin, 22.07.2009

The German Atomic Forum has this to say regarding the statements from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety about not wanting to continue the exploration work in Gorleben even after expiry of the moratorium in 2010:

Solving the final repository question is an urgent necessity regardless of one`s opinion on the use of nuclear energy. A suitable, that is to say safe, final repository for low and medium active waste has already been found in Germany in the Konrad mine.

The Gorleben exploration mine has been surveyed for decades for the storage of radioactive waste. The exploration, however, was interrupted in 2000 by at least 3 and at most 10 years for the clarification of design and safety-related questions. No later than on publication of the synthesis report by the BfS (Federal Office for Radiation Protection) in November 2005, however, it was documented that all questions of doubt had been clarified and there were no longer any reasons for the stoppage. Hence, the German Atomic Forum is again requesting an immediate lifting of the moratorium and the continuation of unprejudiced exploration. It is imperative, however, that exploration, as specified in the nuclear energy agreement, be continued no later than on expiry of the moratorium in the autumn of 2010.

On this matter Dr. Walter Hohlefelder, President of the German Atomic Forum said, "An extension of the Gorleben moratorium would shift the problem to future generations in an irresponsible manner. After many years of deadlock, we now need clarity about the suitability of the Gorleben salt dome. Apart from the fact that the Ministry`s position breaches the nuclear energy agreement, which Mr Gabriel is otherwise so keen to invoke, the process shows that for him it is not a matter of solving the final repository question but rather of taking Gorleben hostage against nuclear energy in Germany. It may be possible to put this down to the election campaign but it is not responsible politics."

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