Germany To Close All Its Nuclear Power Plants, Faces Issue Of Nuclear Waste Disposal

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Germany is facing problems in disposing of the harmful waste generated from its nuclear power plants, and the experts are looking for a permanent storage site.

Written By Pragya Puri | Mumbai | Updated On:
Germany

Germany is facing problems in disposing of the harmful waste generated from its nuclear power plants, and the experts are looking for a storage site. According to a team of researchers, Germany has decided to shut all its nuclear power plants but the question remains how will it store the high-level radioactive waste accounting for more than 28,000 cubic meters. 

Where to dump nuclear waste?

Professor Miranda Schreurs, who is part of the research team says that they are looking for a storage site. There are several major challenges that the researchers need to keep in mind while disposing of nuclear waste which includes: transportation of radioactive waste from one location to another without any leakage, finding a proper location to dispose it off where it is away from soil and groundwater. At the same time, the researchers will have to spread information regarding its disposal to the human communities residing near the place. Most importantly, the researchers will have to seek a community that will be willing to dump nuclear waste. 

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Germany's Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in its official statement said that they are looking for a permanent repository for highly radioactive waste that will enable them to dump the waste properly with maximum security and safety for the next million years. The decision to shut all its nuclear power plants came in the wake of the Fukushima disaster took place in 2011 caused tremendous loss. It also alarmed the German government regarding the safety concerns pertaining to nuclear power plants. Earlier there were no potential sites in Germany but currently, nuclear waste is being stored in temporary facilities.

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Schreurs said that the temporary facilities can only store nuclear waste for a few decades. He further added that nuclear waste is highly radioactive and lethal which comprises of used fuel rods from nuclear power plants and if a person tries to open one of the canisters with those nuclear rods, they are susceptible to instant death. The rods are hot and difficult to transport, therefore it is important to keep them in cool containers several kilometers under the ground. According to Schreurs, the site for the waste of nuclear disposal has to be extremely stable without any earthquakes, water currents or the presence of porous rocks. Beds of granite work best for nuclear disposal but Germany lacks an abundance of granite. 

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