GNS Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Service mbH handed over its interim storage activities to the German Federation as of 1st August 2017. GNS and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) had signed the purchase contract on 24th July 2017 for the BGZ Gesellschaft für Zwischenlagerung mbH, Essen founded specifically for this purpose by GNS. Today, 1st August 2017, the nuclear licences for the new company were also granted alongside entry in the commercial register.
The approximately 150 employees required for organisation of interim storage in Ahaus, Gorleben and at the Essen site also belong to the BGZ in addition to the former GNS interim storage facilities in Ahaus and Gorleben. Thus, the interim storage facilities at the power plant sites that will likewise be transferred to the German Federation in the coming years will be organisationally and technically managed from Essen in future alongside both the Ahaus and Gorleben central interim storage facilities.
The BGZ is being taken over without payment of a purchase price and without any burdens on the German Federation. Handover of GNS' former interim storage activities to the German Federation forms part of the extensive restructuring of responsibilities in nuclear waste management. The background is formed by the regulations of the law on restructuring of nuclear waste management passed in December last year. According to the latter, responsibility for interim storage and final disposal is in future to be the business of the State. The financial burden will be borne by the German energy supply companies as waste producers, who paid the necessary liquid resources for this purpose into a fund under public law in early July 2017. Both the centralised and decentralised interim storage facilities of the German energy supply companies are being taken over by the Federation.
Dr. Hannes Wimmer, the chairman of GNS General Management, declares on the occasion of signing of the contract:
"Handing over our interim storage activities to the Federation marks the end of an era for us. GNS has been operating the central interim storage facilities in Ahaus and Gorleben on behalf of the German energy suppliers since 1990. Since then, over more than 27 years we have not only been guaranteeing on our own safe and reliable operation of both storage facilities at all times with our on-site operating teams. Based on our experience as a cask manufacturer and disposer too, we have developed the methods applied in all German interim storage facilities and also at the power plant sites and have introduced them in everyday operation. During all these years, no incidents whatsoever or even impermissible releases of radioactivity have ever occurred in our facilities.
We can be proud that as part of restructuring of the disposal situation in Germany, our tried and trusted interim storage organisation including all its previous employees will be able to continue this success story as a Federal undertaking. We wish the BGZ and its team all the best in its future duties and are looking forward to the cooperation to be renewed in several areas!"
Even after interim storage has been handed over, GNS will keep its company head office in Essen and work with its remaining approximately 450 employees in the usual business sectors involving management and disposal of radioactive residual materials and waste in Germany as well as for international customers.