05.07.2016 | Minutes and reports | Decontamination Projects

Report by the Bundestag's Commission on the Storage of High-Level Radioactive Materials

Following a long and intensive debate, the Commission on the Storage of High-Level Radioactive Waste adopted its final report on the morning of 28 June 2016 and submitted it to Bundestag and Bundesrat on 5 July 2016. Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks also accepted a copy of the final report on behalf of the German government.

The Commission with its 33 members had the legal task of discussing the basis for the future search for a final disposal site for high-level waste in particular and draw up corresponding recommendations for action. Members were representatives from the scientific community and public interest groups with eight representatives each and members of the regional governments and the Bundestag. The members took turns chairing the Commission. Since 2014, the Commission has met in 34 sessions and a number of meetings of small working or editorial groups, studying the many aspects related with the topic of final disposal. It also included experience gathered previously and also looked at similar projects in other countries. In its report, the Commission advocates storage, in particular of high-level radioactive waste, in a deep geological formation. However, it must be ensured that the requirements for safe retrieval are met in order to be able to fix potential mistakes at a later time.

In the comprehensive report the Commission also drew up a proposal for an unbiased procedure for identifying such a disposal site with the highest possible safety level for a time span of one million years. This proposal includes a tiered selection process. Without bias, potentially suitable locations will be determined. Using a science-based catalogue of criteria the number of places will be reduced. The remaining sites will be compared and a final disposal site will be selected. The search will be accompanied by public participation at local and regional level.

Up to the end of September 2016, the public can also participate in the Commission's report by commenting online. The Repository Site Selection Act will then be evaluated based on the report. The site selection procedure will commence once the evaluation is concluded.

The Bundestag has already made decisions based on the recommendations by establishing the National Societal Commission and re-organising administrative structures.