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Press release No. 14/23 - Konrad Repository

“The BGE is building a safe repository”

12/19/2023: Environment Minister Christian Meyer rejects the applications, submitted by two environmental associations, for the withdrawal or revocation of the planning approval decision for the Konrad repository from 2002.

The applicants now have eight weeks to formulate a response, after which the Environment Minister of Lower Saxony will present the final decision.

The Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung (BGE) has great respect for this decision and the comprehensive review of the applications by the Ministry of Environment in Hanover. It understands the concerns of the environmental associations BUND and NABU, which renewed their calls for a judicial review of the decision in 2021. The BGE is building a safe repository for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste.  The fact that the license is over 20 years old does not imply the construction of an outdated repository. In 2007, the Federal Administrative Court, as the court of last instance, decided that the planning approval decision of 2002 was legally valid.

“The company and the operators of interim storage facilities and former nuclear power plants are eagerly awaiting the Konrad repository,” says Dr Thomas Lautsch, technical managing director of the BGE. “For dismantling to take place, the waste must then be stored – and we’re therefore doing all that we can to complete the construction of the Konrad repository.”

The Konrad repository is being built in a former iron-ore mine and involves the construction of an entirely new emplacement area. Here, 303,000 cubic metres of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste are to be emplaced at a depth of over 800 metres. “Safety comes first for the BGE in all of its work,” says Lautsch, explaining that this is why the construction of the surface and underground installations needed for emplacement is such a laborious task. As well as creating the technical prerequisites, the geology makes a particularly important contribution to safety. “The Konrad repository lies under a thick layer of clay that can reliably prevent the transport of radionuclides into the biosphere,” Lautsch explains. “The mine is very dry and exceptionally stable.”

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. In addition to the decommissioning of the Gorleben mine, 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 Director is Dr Thomas Lautsch.