The Moratorium on Gorleben, Three Years on: The Clock is Ticking

Berlin, 30.09.2003

The first three years of the moratorium on the exploration of the Gorleben salt dome have passed without Germany having made one single step on the way to the realisation of a repository for high-active waste. On the contrary: as a result of this forced break in the search for a repository, the extensive know-how in this research area is threatening to crumble away bit by bit. On 1 October 2000, exploration at Gorleben was halted for a period of at least three, but no longer than ten years because the Federal Government insisted on first having various repository-specific issues of a general nature clarified.

The German Atomic Forum therefore calls upon the Federal Government to start tackling the doubtful issues without further ado in order to pave the way for a final assessment of the Gorleben salt dome. All findings so far indicate that the Gorleben salt dome is suitable for the storage of high-active waste. The Federal Government has confirmed this in the agreement concluded with the power utilities. Also, the frequently demanded acceptance of the repository exists within large parts of the local population as well as within the regional government. Gorleben was chosen from more than 200 salt domes investigated by applying a catalogue of criteria and with public involvement.

The clock is ticking: the interim storage facilities at the nuclear power plant sites that were demanded by the Federal Government have operating licenses valid for no longer than 40 years. A repository has to be available by the year 2030 at the latest. Thus the Government, which according to the Atomic Energy Act is responsible for providing a repository, must not loose any time and is therefore urged once again not to delay the issue of final disposal, also for the sake of future generations.


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