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Nuclear waste: an expert presents the warehouse concept in question

Marcos Buser has lost Faith in a deep geological repository for high-level radioactive waste, as Switzerland seeks to build. The geologist was a member of the expert group Ekra, developed at the beginning of the zero years, the concept of deep geological storage, which today is anchored in the nuclear energy act.

Now, he distances himself from this approach. The Ekra concept had been undermined by the National cooperative for the storage of radioactive waste (Nagra) and the Swiss Federal office of energy (sfoe)"". "The Storage of radioactive waste in the underground and their retrieval from the depth is to be demonstrated in pilot plants under real conditions, before the implementation of definitive underground solutions can be conceived," he writes in his just published book, "what to do with the nuclear waste?". With the Option of Retrievability, the next generations will be able to respond to new technologies, the spent fuel processing elements for generating energy or less harmful.

"Our companies need more time to develop technically and politically feasible and acceptable solutions," he writes. In Switzerland, Buser is missing is an independent risk debate. Ideally it would be him, the BFE would be a work in order to document the search for a repository site from the historical perspective. "The causes of incorrect assessments and Decisions, to clarify, in the past," says Buser.

No underground storage in Europe

happen to The retention of highly radioactive nuclear waste is in accordance with the property plan of the Federal government to 2060. For Nagra the objections Busers are unfounded: "That deep geological repositories are the safest and therefore best solution, is among experts internationally broadly accepted consensus. The concept of Ekra is included in the Swiss nuclear energy act and anchored", is her response. It was undisputed that Retrievability must be guaranteed. Radioactive waste should be in a deep geological repository placed in storage, if the Nagra underground in test zones, one-to-one evidence that they had the technology, the waste back. There is as yet no deep geological repository for highly active nuclear waste in Europe is but in operation. And no one can shoot further delays due to political resistance, or new scientific findings.

Behind Busers departure is a lengthy process. For well over forty years, he is in the field of nuclear energy. He always has followed the development of the disposal concepts is critical. The Nagra had expected at the end of the 1970s with the operation of the repository before the year 2000. At the beginning of anhydrite was the suitable substrate for the Repository, then a crystalline Rock, such as granite, now it is the opalinus clay. Have shaped Buser, the experience in Germany. For decades, it had been used to the salt mine in Asse as a Repository, to serious problems with water appeared inflows and the leaking mine now needs to be filled.

the same goes for the mine in Morsleben, which is now also attached to a standstill. Germany is now back at the beginning, the long search for a site for a deep geological repository. In 2014 it was in the Repository, Wipp (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant), a salt mine in the U.S. state of New Mexico, an accident. The assumption: A storage tank with highly radioactive waste was the result of a chemical reaction leak. Business interruption and clean-up costs about US $ 600 million.

A bearing that remains in the collective consciousness

in 2014, Buser written on behalf of the Swiss Federal nuclear safety Inspectorate (Ensi) the report "Beware versus Repository". It's about a principle that was already discussed at the end of the 1980s in Germany and Switzerland. It provides a long-term monitoring, which will be borne by the company. Buser comes to the conclusion that it is not a long-term stability of companies can be set, and an eternal "Beware" of radioactive waste in an above-ground permanent camp is illusory. This view Buser is today. "But a temporary solution is urgently necessary to it, the growing risks of hastily implemented deep camps like in Germany and the United States to deal with," says Buser.

In his "Dual-concept", which he is currently preparing and which is supported by various environmental organizations, he proposes therefore, in the European context, to leave the radioactive waste for longer in between camps, to a sophisticated deep storage for the next generations is feasible. "A long time between camps, directly under the surface, would be the more honest reaction of the industry to the unresolved issue", says Nils Epprecht, head of the Swiss energy Foundation. For Buser are high between the bearing "risk plants, which should be particularly protected, both with regard to the storage, as well as the organization." This could better be by underground installations. There are plenty of locations in our country, which would enable a cavern solution for Packed highly active Material.

the nuclear waste that is in hundreds of meters depth of burial, may be better protected against malicious external intervention as a warehouse closer to the surface, said Florian Kasser, Greenpeace. But the safe storage of nuclear waste should not take place only from a technical angle of view, but also socio-cultural. "A bearing, such as Marcos Buser outlined, it remains in the collective consciousness."

Busers idea polarized

The Central interim storage in Würenlingen downstream of the weak up to highly active waste from the Swiss nuclear power plants. "Is this crash in the future, in front of the plane, terrorist attacks or war events safe and secure?", ask Buser. He gives the answer himself: no. Aircraft engines would be heavier, aircraft are bigger, the fire times were far longer than previously thought. The same is true for the two decentralised interim storage at the NUCLEAR power plant in Gösgen and Beznau. "The longer-term protection is insufficient." Who knows what will happen in the next few decades in our society.

The operation licence of the interim storage facility is unlimited. The Transport and storage containers with the highly radioactive waste have been designed for a period of forty years. The waste is now stored but sometimes longer in the containers, because the operation of the Deep geological repository is currently planned to begin in 2060. The Swiss Federal office of energy writes: "for this reason, the Ensi of 2015, launched a project to any need for action in the tank and aging in the fuel behavior during to identify the intermediate storage. The research showed that for the intermediate storage of a comprehensive and systematic ageing management is necessary." When it comes to safety of the Swiss nuclear facilities are complied with the legal requirements according to the BFE.

Busers idea polarized. Bastien Girod, national Council of the Green party, speaks of a "very good proposal". The benefits of a long-term interim storage facility, it is important for the risks to be compared with, for example, that the waste should be transported. Girod wants to consider such questions with experts in-depth. In the red-green camp but there are also fears: such A camp could be to the eternal provisional arrangement, since it would be more cost-effective than a low stock.

The financial aspect, however, is the Busers concerns of power over the circle of opponents of Nuclear power also interesting. "If it is better, more cost-effective, yet safe solutions out there than a deep stock, we should examine these possibilities", says SVP-national Council of Christian Imark. GLP national councillor Martin Bäumle holds the risk that a duration between the bearing device with the time in oblivion, for greater than the geological risk in the deep bearing, with a guaranteed Retrievability. CVP national councillor Stefan Müller-Altermatt finally, it would be for "negligently, voluntarily cancel, especially as the site discussions are already at an advanced stage".

as well As always. Regular reassessment is required. "The nuclear energy law requires the disposal subject to a disposal program," writes the BFE. "This needs to be updated every five years."

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 22.04.2019, 17:35 PM

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