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BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – According to the knowledge of the Federal Association for Final Storage, 90 areas in Germany have favorable geological conditions for a nuclear waste repository. The Gorleben salt dome in Lower Saxony is not included, as can be seen from the sub-areas of the interim report published on Monday.

If one takes into account the overlapping of some areas, according to the report, 54 percent of the land area in Germany is designated as a sub-area. Sub-areas are located in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony, but also in the eastern German states.

A pre-determination of a location is far from being connected with this. In the coming months and years, the possible locations will gradually be narrowed down by taking additional criteria into account, such as population density.

Nevertheless, the debate about the final disposal of highly radioactive nuclear waste should get going – especially in the areas that are now to be examined more closely.

The repository is to be built underground in salt, clay or crystalline, i.e. above all granite. The location should be found in 2031, and containers with radioactive waste should be stored underground from 2050.

The report first lists all regions in Germany, “which are expected to have favorable geological conditions for the safe disposal of radioactive waste”, as stipulated by the relevant law. That is why there are still quite a few and sometimes quite large areas. It will only become more specific in the years to come. So-called siting regions are selected from the sub-areas, which are explored more precisely during the day. Some of them are then also explored underground.

After a long period of trouble about the Gorleben salt dome, the search for a repository was completely restarted. Starting from a “white map”, on which every location is fundamentally possible, possible locations are now gradually narrowed down according to scientific criteria. In the end, however, politicians should make the decision about the location – based on the scientific findings. Citizens, communities and organizations can get involved in the process through various formats.

Above all, there had been trouble with Gorleben, which had become a symbol of the anti-nuclear movement. Even before the report was published, some called for the salt dome to be excluded from the search as “politically burnt”. But the Bavarian state government has also caused anger because it questions the search process and insists that the underground in Bavaria is not suitable. Both put the principle of the “white map” into question, which is only gradually being narrowed down on the basis of measurable criteria.

The Greens, among others, insist on this principle, whose roots also lie in the anti-nuclear movement. “Now it’s time for science to do it and it should be left to do it in peace,” said Bundestag parliamentary group vice-president Oliver Krischer of the dpa. In the Gorleben case, there was primarily a political decision. In the 1970s it was decided to set up a repository there. That’s why “a region rebelled almost completely” ./ hoe / ted / DP / zb


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