No fast-track expansion of former iron mine

BERLIN. The dispute about plans to turn Schacht Konrad, a former iron ore mine near Salzgitter, into a final storage for nuclear waste, is sharpening. The conservative CDU-CSU opposition parties failed with a parliamentary motion to start storage as soon as possible, the Greens accused the Lower Saxony state government of refusing a final storage solution.

Greens deputy Marianne Tritz said in the Bundestag that Lower Saxony was making a lot of noise about Schacht Konrad, but didn't follow up its words with deeds. Although litigation papers against the planning procedure for Konrad had been filed a year and a half ago, there had been no response yet from the state government. "Anyone refusing a solution of the final storage problem like this should be careful about accusing others of procrastination," said Tritz.

The CDU/CSU had initiated the debate. It accused the federal government of procrastination in the nuclear disposal policy and demanded a change of course. Instead of the current single-storage strategy - which would rule out Schacht Konrad - two final storages should again be planned, they demanded. To that end, the exploration of the Gorleben salt deposit should resume. Schacht Konrad should be expanded without further delay to take in medium and low radioactive wastes, as soon as a first-instance court judgement was passed in the cuirrent cases.

The CDU energy expert, Kurt-Dieter Grill, said "The disposal policy of the government is expensive, senseless, wrong and offloads the responsibility on coming generations." The government parties rejected the motion and declared that it would stay with the single-storage concept. It again kept open the time schedule for further procedures.

Wilhelm Schmidt, Social Democrat deputy from Salzgitter, said, "Resistance against Schacht Konrad will continue." One of the issues, he said, was location interests of the region. Schmidt also demanded a serious danger analysis for the former salt mine Asse II near Wolfenbüttel. There needed to be a check, he said, whether the 1,300 containing medium radioactive waste could stay in the former mine.

Anti-nuclear activists allege that for years eleven cubic metres of brine have been seeping into the Asse II pit every day, endangering the barrels. If the radioactive waste comes into contact with water or the brine, the barrels would rust, they argue, allowing radioactivity to enter the ground water.

(Translated by Diet Simon)

Bearbeitet am: 27.07.2005/ad

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