Germany’s nuclear waste repository search to miss 2031 decision deadline - media
dpa / Der Spiegel
Germany will not meet its 2031 deadline to decide on a permanent repository for highly radioactive nuclear waste as intended by federal law, according to a report citing the country’s environment ministry. The Federal Company for Radioactive Waste Disposal (BGE), which was commissioned to search for a disposal site, reportedly stated that the 2031 target cannot be met due to “the high requirements for the selection of the location with the best possible security” according to news agency dpa in an article carred by Der Spiegel. For the first time, the BGE report presents time frames for all phases of the site selection process, taking into consideration deadline risks and the potential for acceleration, the ministry said. It concluded that safety priorities should take precedence over time specifications. Commenting on the delay, BASE, the environment ministry agency that oversees the search for a suitable storage site, said the BGE had "so far not submitted a plan as to how the procedure, which is in fact extensive, should be carried out within the remaining nine years."
Meanwhile, Germany’s parliament formally agreed to a runtime extension for the country’s remaining three nuclear power plants on 11 November. Chancellor Olaf Scholz made the decision in October that the plants will not be taken offline on 31 December this year as originally planned but will continue running until 15 April 2023. There are currently 16 temporary storage sites for radioactive waste in Germany. A recent proposal by Switzerland to open a nuclear repository near the German border has put neighbouring communities and federal lawmakers on alert. They said that further consultations among all stakeholders in the region are necessary before deciding on a final location.