Environment Minister Altmaier: Open-ended search for repository site can begin
The act governing the selection of a repository site for high-level radioactive waste (Standortauswahlgesetz) has been published in the Federal Law Gazette today and will enter into force tomorrow. "This is the starting point for an open-ended search for a repository site", stated Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier. He continued that the development of this act proves the success of the fundamental democratic consensus in Germany. "One of the most controversial issues in our country has been solved by a broad political consensus, thanks to the willingness to compromise of all those involved - in the Federation, the Laender and the political parties", stressed Peter Altmaier.
Once the act has entered into force it must be fully implemented in practice. Altmaier: "Now the hard work really starts. Once again we will need a cross-party consensus. We would prefer that the commission responsible for preparing the selection procedure be appointed by consensus before the parliamentary elections. This would serve to show that the spirit of consensus will prevail in the future, too."
The site selection procedure will be prepared by a commission comprising all parts of society, its 33 members will come from academia and the various groups of society as well as the Federal Parliament and the Bundesrat (Federal Council). The commission is to draw up and present proposals concerning i.a. security requirements and geological selection/exclusion criteria by the end of 2015. The decision on the major steps of the selection procedure lies with the German Bundestag, which will pass respective acts. In particular, these will include decisions on the sites for above-ground and underground exploration and at the end of the procedure the decision on the site, for which a repository licence will be applied for.