Issue: January 2018, Final storage – First steps
Starter’s orders for final storage
Foreword by Michael Sailer, CEO, Oeko-Institut
In July 2016, the German Commission on the Storage of High-Level Radioactive Waste presented its final report. I myself was a member of the Commission, which spent a total of two years working to define a procedure for the selection of a final storage site for Germany’s nuclear waste. In summer 2016, the new Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BfE) began work and soon afterwards, the Federal Company for Radioactive Waste Disposal (BGE) was established as the operator of the final storage facility. In March 2017, the German Bundestag approved the amended Repository Site Selection Act (Standortauswahlgesetz). This means that a sound scientific, political and organisational framework is in place for the forthcoming search. Despite the challenges that this has involved, the process thus has democratic legitimacy, and that is immensely important. We can view this as an initial success, and it is something which I myself worked long and hard to achieve. Now the real work starts on putting these theoretical bases into practice. Our approach to the search and the identification of a site must be diligent and unbiased at all times. The public in the potential site regions must be involved, and every stage of the process must be as clear and transparent as possible. This issue of eco@work describes the challenges that lie ahead. It also provides answers to the question of what awaits us, as a society, during the decommissioning and dismantling of our nuclear power plants now and in future.
I am particularly pleased that this issue includes an interview with Professor Klaus Töpfer, who is contributing to the search for a final storage site as a member of the new National Support Body (Nationales Begleitgremium). He reports on the initial stages of its work and explains how he believes it will be possible from the outset to engage with local citizens and involve them at every stage of the process.
At the Oeko-Institut, we will continue to provide constructive and critical support for the search for a final storage site: I myself will contribute, as will my colleagues who feature in this issue of eco@work and other staff who are working on this topic.
I hope you enjoy this issue of eco@work and wish you a good New Year.