Hendricks presents concept for taking back castor casks

Radioactive waste to be stored at four sites

Radioactive waste to be stored at four sites

Federal Minister Barbara Hendricks presented a general concept for taking back radioactive waste from reprocessing plants in France and England. According to the concept, the 26 castor casks are to be distributed evenly across Germany to four interim storage sites. Minister Hendricks also reached an agreement with the German nuclear power plant operators laying down the corner stones for further steps. The companies welcomed the submission of a concept by the BMUB and committed to reviewing it thoroughly. In this context they will also review withdrawing any legal proceedings brought before the court regarding the ban of the transport of castor casks to the storage site at Gorleben. For the time being, all court proceedings are to be suspended.

The concept does not determine which sites are to be used. "The concept is intended as a guideline for nuclear plant operators on how they can fulfil their legal obligations of taking back and storing the radioactive waste in caskets from reprocessing plants abroad", Hendricks explained after a meeting with the heads of the companies in Berlin. "It is now up to the companies to make decisions on which sites to apply for." It is not the Länder but the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) that makes the decisions on the necessary licensing procedures regarding transport and storage.

Under the BMUB's concept, five casks with vitrified medium radioactive wastes from the reprocessing plant in France will be stored in the interim storage facility Philippsburg in Baden-Württemberg. The 21 casks with the vitrified highly radioactive waste from the reprocessing plant in Sellafield will be distributed among the interim storage facilities in Biblis (Hesse), Brokdorf (Schleswig-Holstein) and Isar (Bavaria).

The contracts between the German energy utilities and reprocessing plants abroad lay down that the casks will be sent back in instalments, starting with the five casks from France in 2017 and further instalments from 2018 to 2020 from Great Britain. There is consensus that the exact number of casks to be stored in the respective interim storage facilities and the final determination of sites by the energy companies will remain open for the time being. A working group to be made up of members from the various stakeholders will make the decisions.

Hendricks explained that, in addition to Philippsburg, Biblis, Brokdorf and Isar were chosen because these sites are best suited from the technical, legal, procedural and political point of view. "This makes it possible for utility companies to take back the castor casks in timely instalments." She also stressed the question of fairness in distributing the burden of using nuclear energy evenly over all Länder.

Johannes Teyssen (EON), Peter Terium (RWE), Tuomo Hatakka (Vattenfall) und Hans-Josef Zimmer (EnBW) took part in the meeting on behalf of the utility companies.

19.06.2015 | Press release No. 148/15 | Nuclear Safety