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Lively interest in the first technical conference on spent fuel storage, held in Essen by DMT and GNS
More than two hundred participants from Germany and other European countries convened last Thursday as technology services company DMT GmbH & Co. KG hosted the “First Technical Conference on Mining for Final Repositories”. In collaboration with the GNS – Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Service mbH, also located in Essen – DMT had extended an invitation to a series of lectures. The objective was to create a new platform for exchanging experience and maintaining contacts with colleagues in business and representatives of the government agencies responsible for this field.
Dr. Ute Blohm-Hieber outlines the setting in which the EU Directive was adopted.
1st Technical Conference on Spent Fuel Storage
The decision by the German Federal Government to do away with atomic power after 2022 has moved the final disposal of radioactive wastes into the public eye once again. The Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) has formed a working group made up of representatives from the state and federal governments. That group was charged with initiating legislation to authorize the search for a suitable repository site. Georg Arens from the BMU explained the current status of discussions.
Binding guideposts were set at European level with the adoption of the Council Directive on the Management of Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste. Dr. Ute Blohm-Hieber, head of the European Commission’s Nuclear Energy, Transport, Decommissioning and Waste Management Department, outlined the setting in which the EU Directive was adopted. She made it clear that immediate action is required, since forty years or more can pass between initial exploration and putting a final repository into operation.
The current status of fact-finding efforts by DMT and of the test phase for the retrieval of radioactive wastes from the ASSE II repository was explained by Matthias Ranft of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS).
Wilhelm Bollingerfehr (DBE Technology) spoke on concepts for final storage of heat-liberating radioactive wastes, this in the framework of the preliminary safety analysis for the Gorleben site. In concluding, Philip Birkhäuser (Nagra, the National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste, Switzerland) explained concepts for geophysical exploration of potential repository sites.
“The response to this conference, which went far beyond our original expectations, underscores the significance of safe, long-term storage of radioactive substances,” explained Prof. Günther Apel, Director of DMT’s Mining Services Division, following the event. Dr. Hannes Wimmer, Chairman of the Executive Board at GNS added: “In view of the importance of this particular topic, we are striving to establish a regular forum for exchanging technical information in an environment such as this.”