Site selection procedure
The site selection procedure is defined in the StandAG (Repository Site Selection Act). The aim of the act is to find the best possible repository site for mainly heat-generating radioactive waste.
The procedure consists of several steps. After one step has been completed, the legislator decides what the next step in the site search procedure will be. The search is carried out by means of a science-based and transparent procedure. Full participation by the public is envisaged at all times.
Step 1 – Selection of possible regions for sites
The BGE determines possible regions for sites as per specified requirements and criteria. To this end, unsuitable areas must first be excluded, such as earthquake regions. Representative preliminary safety research is also carried out in the regions where potential sites are located. On this basis, the BGE draws up recommendations for the sites where a surface survey is to take place and submits these recommendations to the BfE. The Bundestag then decides on the sites where a surface survey will be carried out.
Step 2 – Surface surveys
Before a surface survey can begin, the BGE drafts proposals for site-specific exploratory programmes and test criteria. These proposals are examined by the BfE, which then decides which exploratory programmes and test criteria will be used. The BGE also creates advanced preliminary safety tests for the survey programmes. On the basis of its findings, the BGE submits a selection of sites and the associated exploratory programmes for subsequent underground surveying to the BfE. The Bundestag then decides on the sites in which underground surveys are to take place.
Step 3 – Underground surveys
Before the underground surveys start, the BGE drafts proposals for an in-depth geological survey programme and for site-specific test criteria. These proposals are also examined by the BfE, which then defines the final measures. The BGE subsequently performs the underground survey investigation and prepares comprehensive preliminary safety investigations for the operating phase and the phase after closure of a possible repository. The results are then sent to the BfE, which carries out an 'environmental impact assessment'.
Step 4 – Site proposal and decision
On the basis of the findings, the BfE will propose the site at which a repository for mainly heat-generating radioactive waste is to be constructed. The German Bundestag will then pass legislation defining the site.
Schematic representation of a site search