Newly published figures from the Lower Saxony state cancer registry show that in the area around Asse, the site of a controversial nuclear waste dump near Wolffenbuettel, some cancer rates are higher than normal. Between 2002 and 2009 there were 12 cases of leukemia in the greater Asse region. The area had twice the rate expected for men. While there was no significant increase in leukemia for women, their rate of thyroid cancer was three times as high as normal. The government has not yet determined if the increase is related to the proximity to the nuclear waste site. A working group of representatives from Lower Saxony’s environment, social, and health ministries as well as the federal agency for radiation protection is set to meet over the next few weeks to take a closer look at the data. Joerg Roehmann, the district administrator in Wolfenbuettel, said in an interview with German public television that the numbers needed to be analyzed and put into context before any … [Read more...] about Higher rates of cancer found in area near dilapidated nuclear waste dump
Anti-nuclear demonstrators are a common sight in Germany. Virtually every year, thousands of activists chain themselves to railroad tracks and clash with police to protest against nuclear transports to and from France, where German nuclear waste is reprocessed. Activists have now been given a fresh reason for being up in arms, as Germany and Russia have agreed to airlift 300 kilograms of enriched uranium out of Germany -- much of it suitable for building atomic bombs. According to authorities, some 200 of the 300 kilogram shipment consists of highly-enriched uranium, which theoretically could be used to fuel around 10 nuclear weapons. Irresponsible Green campaigners believe nuclear waste should not cross borders The decision caused a storm of protest from German anti-nuclear campaigners, who have long been protesting against shipping nuclear fuels across Europe. They say an airlift of the material to Russia would be irresponsible. "We cannot understand at all why this … [Read more...] about Environmentalists Angry About Air Transport of Nuclear Waste
The federal government's proposal to store nuclear waste near the town of Morsleben faces opposition from the government of Saxony-Anhalt, the state's Environment Minister Petra Wernicke told the Mittleldeutsche Zeitung. The 1.5 million euros ($2 million) above-ground Morsleben facility would be built near an atomic storage site in an old salt mine that is scheduled for closure. The proposed type and quantity of atomic waste to be stored at Morsleben remains unclear. No official decision Greenpeace activists protest in Gorleben, a nuclear waste storage facility The governmental agency in charge of radiation protection told the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung it was not ready to comment on the issue and noted that no building plans for the facility have been presented. While Wernicke confirmed that no official announcement has been made, she said the state government has already received information about the construction costs and timeline. The Morsleben facility would act … [Read more...] about German Government Plans New Nuclear Waste Dump
The environmental activist group Greenpeace said on Wednesday that it had obtained official documents, which prove that the salt mines in the German town of Gorleben should not have been used as a disposal site for nuclear waste. "There was never a scientific selection procedure that concluded the salt mines in Gorleben would be the best choice," Greenpeace nuclear expert Mathias Edler told reporters at a press conference in Berlin. "Geological criteria for a nuclear disposal site in the salt mines played a minor role." Greenpeace said the more than 12,000 pages of partly classified documents, which date back to the mid-1970's, are from the Lower Saxony state chancellery, environment ministry, and the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources. The group said it would post all of its findings, as well as all of the documents, on the Internet. Gorleben has been used as a temporary nuclear waste repository since 1983. Last month, after a 10-year moratorium, … [Read more...] about Greenpeace says Gorleben is not suitable as a nuclear waste dump
Saxony is seeking permission to fly nuclear waste back to Russia for reprocessing before the end of the year, the German environment ministry confirmed on Sunday. The federal office for radiation protection must first approve the transport. "We have always stood against transporting nuclear waste by air," said Heinz Smital, a Greenpeace nuclear expert based in Hamburg. "The consequences of an air attack or accident on a plane carrying radioactive material are unpredictable. Uranium, which has been 80 percent enriched, can be weapons grade," he added. Although the nuclear material to be transported on Dec. 1 contains only 36 percent uranium, it could easily become a "dirty bomb" in the wrong hands, Smital told Die Welt daily. Air transport more vulnerable Security experts say that air transport is particularly vulnerable to an international terrorist attack. Nuclear waste transports in Germany are usually accompanied by protests "Arrangements for transporting … [Read more...] about German Nuclear Waste to Go Back to Mother Russia by Air
Hundreds of protestors whistled and booed as container trucks hauling spent nuclear fuel and stopped the train carrying 12 containers several times during its 44-hour run from a processing factory in France to the German town of Dannenberg. The containers of reprocessed nuclear waste were offloaded and trucked 20 kilometers (12.43 miles) to Germany's main storage facility for waste in the small town of Gorleben. Police monitored the convoy by helicopters. Annual protest blocks rail Policemen carry away anti-nuclear protestors during a road block in Dannenberg Hundreds of anti-nuclear activists tried to prevent the waste reaching the dump on the final leg of its journey. Dozens of protesters chained themselves to concrete blocks Sunday evening on a road leading to Gorleben, while 400 activists staged a sit-in across a road in a bid to prevent the trucks leaving the town of Dannenberg. Protesters from Greenpeace climbed on trees and hung banners from the branches, but hundreds … [Read more...] about Nuclear Waste Arrives at German Storage Dump Amid Protests
The Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) had learned late last year that pieces of the ceiling of the 750-meter (2,500-foot) deep chamber were unstable and could collapse on top of the 6,000 radioactive waste drums below. The information about the Asse nuclear waste site was posted discreetly on the radiation office's Web site late Wednesday, Jan. 14. Lower Saxony Environment Minister Hans-Heinrich Sander said he was only informed of the damage to the storage site Thursday, but the radiation office said the ministry had been informed all along. The BfS said it could not rule out damage to the waste containers should the Asse site ceiling collapse, but gave its reassurances that it would reinforce the seals of the chamber with concrete to stop any radioactive dust or air escaping. Precautionary step The office says it will reinforce the chamber containing radioactive waste drums The office said the measures were only a precaution and that there was no immediate … [Read more...] about Damage Apparently Kept Secret at German Nuclear Waste Site
The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Socialist Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) finally agree on something: "We have come up with a good compromise," announced Ursula Heinen-Esser (CDU) and Michael Müller (SPD) Tuesday in Berlin. "But it was hard work." For the last two years, both politicians have co-chaired a commission with a complicated task: What characteristics must a final disposal site for nuclear waste in Germany have? Questions involved geological formations - that is, salt, granite or clay; depth below the earth's surface; various methods; and how citizens might participate in the search for an appropriate site. It all sounds technical and a bit boring, but to date, every debate related to nuclear energy in Germany has been highly political and very emotional. And so it is here. Yet the consensus is that Germany needs a central repository for the radioactive waste produced by the country's almost 20 nuclear power plants, the last of which are to be removed … [Read more...] about Germany to dump nuclear waste for good – but where?
The German government cabinet has announced a landmark deal with energy giants Vattenfall, Eon, RWE and EnBW that will see them pay 23.6 billion euros ($26 billion) into a public fund to dispose of nuclear waste. "We are making it clear who is responsible for nuclear disposal," said Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel in a statement. "We're ensuring the long-term financing for shutting down, dismantling and cleaning up [nuclear power plants] without society alone having to bear the costs and without making the economic situation of operators untenable." Germany decided to phrase out nuclear energy after the Fukushima catastrophe in 2011, but has yet to begin decommissioning and dismantling the majority of the country's 23 active nuclear plants. The operators have already agreed to set aside an additional 24 billion euros for that purpose. The additional money in Wednesday's deal is for the long-term clean-up of an estimated 21,000 cubic meters of highly radioactive waste and 190,000 … [Read more...] about German government does nuclear waste deal with energy companies
In 2016, 10 new nuclear reactors went online - and two more in the first half of 2017, according to the 2017 World Nuclear Industry Status Report published Tuesday. Six of these new nuclear power plants are based in China, which now ranks third on the list of the "big five" nuclear generating countries after the United States and France. The big five make up 70 percent of the world's nuclear energy, while the US and France account for almost half of global nuclear energy generation. In this time period, only four reactors were shut down. As nuclear reactors continue to go online, the question of what to do with nuclear waste becomes all the more pressing - and still hasn't been answered properly. In September this year, Germany begins the search to find a final storage solution for nuclear waste. A special commission is to scour the country for a suitable geological site to build a deep repository, where it can bury the toxic legacy of decades of nuclear … [Read more...] about Nuclear waste: Where to store it for eternity?