22 June 2017: Asse brine: Waste management options extended

It has been possible to ensure the necessary management of the Asse brine, which is of no radiological concern, with another option. A contract between Asse-GmbH and K+S Entsorgung GmbH makes it possible to transport the brine to the decommissioned mine “Bergmannssegen – Hugo” near Sehnde. If necessary and depending on capacities, this agreement can apply to part of the Asse brine. The waste management option in Sehnde which has been agreed upon by contract thus presents a back-up solution. To establish the planned receiving facilities it is necessary to address constructional issues and to apply for the required licences. So far there are no concrete plans for taking brine from the Asse mine there.

Since the beginning of this year, a company located outside of Lower Saxony accepts the brine for further industrial use.  Currently, this volume amounts to about 11 cubic metres per day. In case the amount increases or the contract with the company ends, the mine near Sehnde presents another option to ensure the operation of the Asse mine.

K+S as operator of the mine also discharges pile water and production solutions of own sites at that particular mine. The procedure was approved of by the Lower Saxon Mining Authority. In comparison to the volumes discharged by K+S, the Asse brine is only a small part.

Asse brine of no radiological concern

Daily, about 12 cubic metres of brine flow into the Asse mine.  The major part of this, between 10 and 11 cubic metres per day, is collected by the BGE above the emplacement chambers containing the radioactive waste. The liquids do thus not come into contact with the waste stored in the Asse mine and are radiologically uncontaminated. Measurements on a regular basis prove that the water is of no concern. The values measured, eg. those for the radioactive material tritium, fall below the limit values for drinking water by the twentyfold. 

Multi-track strategy for brine management

The brine must be removed on a regular basis in order to ensure the facility’s ongoing operation. Therefore, the proof of where the brine can be transported is both licensing prerequisite and a basis for the legal mandate to safely decommission the Asse mine. For this reason, the BGE as responsible operator of the Asse mine has been pursuing a multi-track strategy right from the start.

Sampling at the main collecting point