Nuclear Decommissioning and Disposal
For decades nuclear power plants contributed to the German electricity production. After the accident at the Japanese NPP Fukushima I in 2011, the 13th amendment to the German Law on the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy and Protection against its Hazards – “Nuclear Law” – finalized the commercial production of electricity in nuclear power plants. Eight plants had their licenses for power generation revoked immediately; the other nine plants will be powered down permanently one by one until 2022.
During operation, as well as decommission of nuclear power plants, radioactive waste is produced. Treating and disposing of those waste is an important and central task which the institute NET, and especially the work group “Nuclear Decommissioning and Disposal” have taken on. Apart from the focus on decommissioning nuclear facilities, the radioactive waste’s secure final disposal is another important long-term task. High-level waste – spent fuel elements – for instance have to be barred from the biosphere for at least one million years.
Criterias for choosing and evaluating possible sites for a German final depository are currently compiled by the Committee on the Storage of Highly Active Wastes, of which former head of institute Professor Bruno Thomauske is a member.