- Trial Phase: Current Works
- Operation of the mine
- Emergency Preparedness
- Radiation Protection
- Environmental monitoring
- Control and surveillance
- Decommissioning Concept
- Decommissioning Planning
- Plan-approval procedure
Wanted: Taking over responsibility
Despite great political and societal agreement upon the burdens of a failed handling of nuclear wastes using the example of the Asse mine, the successful management of the challenges ahead requires broad and public support.
"What I am experiencing at present is that some discussions achieve the exact opposite of what the parties concerned actually want", Wolfram König, President of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) said on the occasion of a press briefing in Hannover. It could be observed how, in the end, an emotional outrage leads a situation where objective and solution-oriented discussions hardly stand any chance. König took a stand to two current examples: One, the debate on the removal of the salt water that is free of radioactive contamination; second, debates on principles of the safe decommissioning of Asse being provoked repeatedly.
"What we are experiencing is that the disposal of the uncontaminated salt water is used to create images as if it were nuclear waste," König said. This would probably prevent possible environmentally friendly solutions and would lead to the risk of losing suppliers or negotiating partners. The removal of the salt water flowing constantly into the Asse mine from outside is absolutely vital for the long-term and safe operation of the Asse mine – and thus for the actual task of decommissioning the facility in compliance with the standards of the strict nuclear law.
Already since 2012, BfS has been examining numerous variants. The objective is to pursue more than one track. Dependencies of only one option must be avoided, since the removal of the salt water is a requirement for the facility's operation. Without having a solution for the disposal of the salt water, the legal task of recovering the radioactive wastes cannot be fulfilled.
"I find it difficult to understand those who demand that retrieval be implemented quickly, but who do not offer taking on responsibility regarding the question as to where to dispose of the uncontaminated salt water", König said.
Another example mentioned by König was a current statement of the Commission on Radiological Protection on the decommissioning of the Asse mine. In its most recent recommendations, the Commission criticised the Act on the Retrieval of Radioactive Waste that was adopted by Parliament in 2013 by a very broad political majority. The Commission recommends to present evidence for the wastes remaining in the mine and conveys the impression that this option can be taken up successfully. The concrete basis of this hope remains unknown to the responsible facility operator and is in direct conflict with the legal order to safely close the facility after having retrieved the wastes.
"Since I took over the operator responsibility eight years back, such discussions and waves of outrage have been accompanying the responsible solution to an environmental problem left to us by others. In no case have they contributed to the remaining paths to an environmentally friendly remediation of the Asse mine leading to a better goal,", König finally said.
State of 2016.12.07