GRS to carry out safety analysis for Gorleben

20 August 2010

Germany’s Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) has commissioned the association for plant and reactor safety (GRS) to carry out a preliminary safety analysis for Gorleben. The preliminary safety analysis is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.

The main goal of the project is to develop a clearly documented forecast, on the basis of existing information, of whether the Gorleben site can comply with the new safety requirements for the final disposal of heat-generating, radioactive waste. As part of the project GRS has been asked to summarise all available information on the salt dome and the results of exploration activities to date.

Besides the GRS, a number of renowned institutions with expertise and knowledge on the Gorleben site have agreed to contribute to the preliminary safety analysis: the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), DBE Technology, the Institute for Nuclear Waste Disposal (INE) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Institute for Rock Mechanics (IfG) in Leipzig.

The preliminary safety analysis will be peer-reviewed by international experts to make sure that international standards and the state of the art in science and technology are being respected. The analysis will serve as a basis for planning further exploration. Only when the exploration process has been concluded and if the potential suitability of the salt dome has been established would the licensing authority in Lower Saxony start a planning approval procedure to review whether a license can be issued under nuclear energy legislation.

The focus of the preliminary safety analysis will be on the question of long-term safety, i.e. it must be demonstrated in a transparent way whether the site is suited for safe final disposal at all, and if so, under which conditions. Moreover, an optimised final disposal concept will be developed, taking into account operational safety, and the future need for additional examination and exploration will be assessed.

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