- Trial Phase: Current Works
- Operation of the mine
- Emergency Preparedness
- Radiation Protection
- Environmental monitoring
- Control and surveillance
- Decommissioning Concept
- Decommissioning Planning
- Plan-approval procedure
Why does the BfS intend to recover the waste from the Asse mine if this is possible?
The prime aim in the decommissioning of Asse is the long-term safety of man and environment. As the operator of Asse, the BfS needs to furnish proof that the selected decommissioning option does not put at risk man and environment in the area, even in the long term. According to the present state of knowledge, this can only be achieved by retrieving the waste from the Asse mine.
Legal requirements need to be fulfilled
Some of the key reasons for the decision about the options to decommission Asse are legal and technical requirements that need to be fulfilled in radioactive waste disposal. The BfS is legally obliged to furnish proof that the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act relating to the protection of man and environment are complied with. In terms of disposal, especially the legally prescribed assessment of long-term safety is of particular importance. According to the current state of knowledge, the long-term safety of Asse cannot be proven if the waste remains in the mine. This is especially because of the great uncertainties and gaps in knowledge, among others with respect to the emplaced radioactive inventory and the pathways existing in the rock and the resulting inflow of brine.
Should the waste remain in the mine, the BfS does not only base its statements relating to the long-term safety of Asse on its own considerations but also in particular on the statements and expert opinions of the Gesellschaft für Reaktorsicherheit, the Ökoinstitut and the former operator, Helmholtz. Attempts made by other institutions to prove the long-term safety of Asse with the waste remaining in the mine, have not been successful.
Decision for decommissioning after comparison
The decision about the further approach to the decommissioning of Asse has been taken as a result of a comparison of the different decommissioning options carried out on the basis of pre-defined professional criteria. In the comparison of options, the central legal and technical issues to be complied with were defined and investigated for each option. After this had been done, it showed that the long-term safety can only be guaranteed for the option to retrieve the waste. Given that the long-term safety is of key significance in the risk assessment for radioactive waste disposal, the decision was taken to support the retrieval of the waste – although other decommissioning options enjoyed advantages in other respects..
The assessment of long-term safety is also one of the key reasons that the BfS has selected a different decommissioning option for another relic, the Morsleben repository in Saxony-Anhalt. According to the BfS, for Morsleben, it is possible to prove long-term safety even if the radioactive waste will remain in the repository.
State of 2016.08.18