Close collaboration between the geological services of the federal states and the Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung (BGE) leads to greater transparency in the process of selecting a site for a repository for high-level radioactive waste. With the latest update to the data report on the exclusion criteria, the BGE achieves a publication status of around 92% of data relating to decisions for the Sub-areas Interim Report with respect to the largest portion of the data: the geological data relating to the exclusion criteria.
In the context of the update to the data report on the exclusion criteria, the BGE has also revised the layer relating to the excluded areas in the interactive map. For the first time, it is now possible to identify at a glance which of the underlying data for the application of exclusion criteria pursuant to the Geological Data Act (GeolDG) has already been made available to the public. Above all, however, the interactive map provides interested parties with a postcode search tool in order to determine how affected they are. They can also obtain a clearer overview of how the sub-areas came about by showing or hiding the excluded areas. Moreover, the tool enables them to view the bore logs that were analysed for the Sub-areas Interim Report.
The BGE now also offers a dataset for download by users who have a geographic information system of their own and want to work with the data directly. This “geodatabase” containing the freely available data pursuant to the Geological Data Act is available to download here under the heading “Maps and GIS-compatible data”.
Background information: the Geological Data Act and its impact
It was only in the quarter prior to the publication of the Sub-areas Interim Report (28 September 2020) that the Bundestag and Bundesrat approved the Geological Data Act. This allows the BGE to publish the geological basis for decisions regarding the identification of sub-areas that may offer a favourable overall geological situation for the final disposal of high-level radioactive waste. The state geological services now also have a legal basis for publishing their data.
In the context of the site selection procedure, the BGE sent categorisation proposals for the data relating to decision-making to the geological services immediately after the Act entered into force. These services are tasked with either checking and implementing the categorisation proposal or making a different assessment. Until the publication of the Sub-areas Interim Report, it was only possible to do so for a small part of the data within this short period of time. This is because, in some cases, the geological services could only act once the task had actually been assigned to them.
The BGE is now publishing the sixth version of the data report on the exclusion criteria. This time, it primarily concerns drilling data. Since the most recent update, in October 2021, the geological services have categorised further data and the BGE can now produce a new, updated version of the data report.
Publication of private, specially protected geodata
The Geological Data Act also gives the BGE the option to publish data that is subject to special protection and in private ownership. The BGE has already published a first instalment of this specially protected data, for which a special procedure set out in section 34 of the Geological Data Act must be adhered to. In this procedure, the BGE undertakes a sovereign task as a federally owned company and issues the data owner with a notification. If no objection is filed within four weeks, the BGE can publish the relevant data six weeks after delivery of the notification. There are currently 10 such procedures underway in relation to drilling data.
The BGE is a federally owned company within the portfolio of the Federal Environment Ministry. On 25 April 2017, the BGE assumed responsibility from the Federal Office for Radiation Protection as the operator of the Asse II mine and the Konrad and Morsleben repositories. Its other tasks include searching for a repository site for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste produced in Germany on the basis of the Repository Site Selection Act, which entered into force in May 2017. The managing directors are Stefan Studt (Chair), Steffen Kanitz (Deputy Chair) and Dr Thomas Lautsch (Technical Manager).