Agency report identifies 90 areas in Germany suitable as nuclear waste repository

BERLIN, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Germany had 90 areas with favorable geological conditions to facilitate the final storage of nuclear waste, the federal agency for radioactive waste disposal (BGE) announced on Monday.

According to the interim report of the BGE, around 54 percent of Germany's total territory, or about 194,000 square kms, were classified as potential sites for nuclear waste repository.

"The geology in Germany is so favorable that we can say with conviction that the one site with the best possible safety for the repository of high-level radioactive waste can be found," said BGE managing director Stefan Studt during a press conference.

However, identifying a potential area is "still a long way off" from becoming a repository site in Germany, said Studt but stressed the chances of finding a site in Germany that offers safety for a million years are "very good."

The BGE report did not make a preliminary decision on a possible repository site for high-level radioactive waste in Germany, but only identified the so-called sub-areas where a "favorable overall geological condition for the storage of highly radioactive waste can be expected."

The German government is scheduled to close all of its nuclear power plants by 2022. The process of looking for a repository site for nuclear waste in Germany has been ongoing since 2017. The BGE interim report started the first of the three phases and would also serve as a basis to involve the public.

"We have achieved the first widely visible progress in the search for a repository," said Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, adding that "this is a good news. Because it is a task for society as a whole."

In the coming months and years, the list of potential locations would be gradually narrowed down further. According to BGE, after the completion of the underground exploration, the final recommendation of a site is expected in 2031.

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