, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Angela Merkel was German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit) from 17 November 1994 to 27 October 1998. In early 1996, The Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz (BfS) (the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection) wrote to the Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit (Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety) warning of the problems of the Asse II nuclear waste dump and the unsuitably of salt deposits for nuclear waste storage (dump). The Asse II salt mine was already leaking at the rate of 10 m3, i.e. 10,000 liters per day. As a Ph.D. in chemistry, Merkel should have known that burying nuclear waste in salt was a dangerously stupid idea and understood the problem more clearly than most. But, she also received a warning and chose to ignore it. (See commentary and letter further below). Only recently it has been decided that the Asse II radioactive waste must be dug up and moved to the surface and then elsewhere. Unlike the US, which remains undaunted in its stupidity of continuing to stuff radioactive waste in a salt mine at WIPP, despite the problems of collapse, explosion and contamination, Germany has apparently learned from its mistake(s), albeit belatedly. Even some children know that salt speeds up metal corrosion, so a chemistry Ph.D., like Merkel, had to know.

In 2011, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) measured an activity of 240,000 Becquerels [radioactive disintegrations (shots) per second] of Cesium 137 per liter in a borehole in front of chamber 12 at Asse. This is the highest level of cesium 137 found thus far in a sample from the Asse dump. It was an increase from 90,000 Becquerels in 2008. The high values ​​were measured in the vicinity of a brine sump known to have contaminated salt solution since 1994. (See: “Strahlenschützer melden erhöhte Radioaktivität in der Asse” Spiegel Online, 14. April 2011)

There were 29 water breaches in the Asse II salt mine- now radioactive waste dump- from 1906 to 1988 and 32 new ones from 1988 to 2008. Captured brine water is transported from Asse II to the abandonned K+S AG mines (Bad Salzdetfurth, Adolfsglückand Mariaglück. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asse_II_mine. The US salt mine – nuclear waste dump, WIPP, has been leaking from the beginning too: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/the-weeping-wipp-road-wipp-leaking-from-the-get-go/

In 1993 water was entering the Asse II salt mine, filled with nuclear waste, at a rate of five cubic meters (5000 liters) per day. In 1994, an expert commissioned by the Lower Saxony Ministry of the Environment stated that uncontrollable flooding could no longer be excluded. Today, around 12,000 liters of salt-containing [and hence corrosive] groundwater flow into the mine every day – this corresponds to the content of around 50 bathtubs. Nobody knows how many of the around 126,000 barrels and containers that have been stored in the Asse II salt mine have now leaked. What is known is that radioactive leaks seep out from the radioactive waste chambers, and radioactivity in the long term could get into the groundwater.

It is only when the barrels are retrieved that the danger to the environment and to people can be remedied permanently. This is the only way to prevent radioactive materials from escaping and contaminating groundwater. This is why the nuclear waste is to be recovered from the salt mine and first placed above ground. The costs are estimated at around four billion euros. From 1967 to 1975, there was no charge for the dumping of radioactive waste in the Asse II mine – the waste producers did not pay for about 50 percent of the barrels stored. From December 1975 onwards, between DM 150 and 3700 per container was collected depending on the barrel and container size and dose rate. Thus, a total of DM 16.5 million was collected. At current cleanup estimations of around EUR 4 billion, this figure accounts for just 0.4 percent of the actual costs. Based on an excerpt of the original German article found here: https://www.greenpeace.de/themen/energiewende-atomkraft/atommull/asse-ii-der-endlager-gau

From a web site recently banned by Germany: https://linksunten.indymedia.org/de/node/9434
Merkel has known for 13 years that nuclear dump is dangerous
Verfasst von: Viktoria Thumann, Greenpeace (Account: Nuclear Worrier). Übersetzt von: Diet Simon (adapting a Greenpeace release) (Account: Nuclear Worrier). Verfasst am: 06.08.2009 – 06:13. Kommentare: 3
German chancellor (prime minister) Angela Merkel was warned 13 years ago that a nuclear waste dump in the north might contaminate drinking water supplies, but she extended its operating period anyway.
This is claimed by Greenpeace Germany, citing a 1996 letter from the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) to the federal environment ministry, which Merkel then headed as minister, about the Asse II abandoned salt mine near Braunschweig now taking in 12 cubic metres of brine daily.
BfS research has found that storing nuclear waste in salt deposits poses great security risks. The agency says if Asse II were to fill with water, people in the area would be exposed to 100 times as much radiation [50 mSv/yr] as now set by law as the maximum allowed. (For a more technical explanation of Asse II see http://www.miller-mccune.com:80/europe/Salting-it-away-1370.)

Greenpeace demands that the federal parliament hold an inquiry to find out whether these BfS warnings should have led to the government abandoning its plans to store nuclear waste permanently in salt already in 1996. 

”Merkel is a key figure in final storage policy and has to be made to testify to a federal parliamentary committee,” wrote Greenpeace nuclear expert, Mathias Edler.

“She knew that it isn’t safe to store nuclear waste in salt. Asse and Morsleben (Ed: another mine dump in north Germany) should have been shut down immediately, work on Gorleben should have been stopped.” A salt deposit near the north German village Gorleben is intended as the final German waste repository although so far it has been officially declared as being only exploratory. The BfS has said work there went substantially beyond exploration and part of the mine dug specifically for the purpose could already work as a repository.

In the parliament of Lower Saxony, the state where all these three dumps are located, an inquiry has begun into the Asse II case. The government majority, which is of the same conservative CDU party as Merkel, has prevented her being called to testify.

Already in 1996 the BfS warned that “great difficulties” in Asse II could call into question the concept of depositing nuclear waste in salt mines. The Morsleben repository was “no longer tenable”, the BfS wrote and the planned final repository in Gorleben “endangered”. 

Despite the warning of the BfS, the then federal environment minister Merkel changed nuclear law in April 1998 to add another five years of operation permission to Morsleben, a dump taken over from former communist East Germany.

Greenpeace litigated in the Magdeburg upper administrative court which ordered dumping stopped on 25 September 1998.

Merkel also drove further expansion of the Gorleben exploration by changing nuclear law.
“Neither the possibilities of garnering information nor the financial means of an inquiry at state level are sufficient to clear up a scandal of these dimensions,” says Greenpeace.

“All three dumps are operated by the federal government, so that now the federal parliament has to investigate,” says Mathias Edler.

Nuclear policy looks like becoming one of the hot issues in Germany’s federal election on 27 September.
* Themen:

* Ökologie

* Regionen:

* Deutschland

* D-Norden

* Orte:

* Morsleben

* Gorleben

* Wolfenbüttel

(Emphasis our own.)


Click to access 20080901_NMU_Statusbericht_Schachtanlage-Asse_0.pdf

Click to access BriefBfS_01_0.pdf


WIPP in 2014

Brief BfS

Click to access BriefBfS_01_0.pdf