• Germany's news in English

Gas could threaten nuclear waste depot

The Local · 15 Sep 2010, 16:28

Published: 15 Sep 2010 16:28 GMT+02:00

“It is totally incomprehensible to me that despite all of these deficiencies Gorleben is still being examined for its suitability as a storage facility, and not any alternative sites,” geologist Klaus Duphorn said.

According to Duphorn, there would have to be no gas above a depth of 1,500 metres in the salt dome, but this could “hardly” be confirmed, he said.

East German files from 1969, when the communist regime drilled into the salt dome just over the border from Gorleben in Lower Saxony, show that there was a deadly accident involving a gas explosion some five kilometres from where the nuclear waste is located.

That incident proves that there are two geological layers under the mine that hold natural gas, Duphorn said.

“This gas is highly explosive. The ignition point is at 20 degrees Celsius if it meets oxygen,” he warned.

Other geological deficiencies mean that caverns could shift, creating cracks that might allow for the contamination of groundwater, he said.

Duphorn, 76, was the first official geologist hired by the German government to survey Gorleben. His opinion, however, was later kept out of the official appraisal, he said, alleging this was because of his unfavourable conclusions.

Despite repeated allegations about questionable safety conditions and illegal development at Gorleben, exploration of the site is set to resume in October after a 10-year hiatus.

Story continues below…

In March a media report said that Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen was considering stripping the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) of its nuclear waste duties in order to end the moratorium on new exploration and expedite further storage at the site.

Nuclear energy is deeply unpopular in Germany and protests are often staged at Gorleben, which has come to symbolise activists’ concerns about its safety.

DAPD/The Local/ka

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

01:02 September 16, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, I'm an American citizen. Yet I care very much about what goes on in Deutschland. And I agree, that one of the biggest problems with nuclear energy is adequate disposal. The truth is, no rational person wants such waste close to them. Let's be honest.
09:53 September 16, 2010 by T.J. Morton
I have to disagree with you @Logic Guy. Properly engineered containers, and properly surveyed sites would make me comfortable with a spent fuel repository nearby.

I am nearly certain that there is more to this story than meets the eye. If indeed, this Geologist had well documented shortcomings about the adequacy of this site, and, his opinion was left out of the report, then I would not classify Gorleben as a well surveyed site.

It seems, however, that this article only reports Mr. Duphorn's version of the story. I don't see any attempt to uncover reasons why his opinion was left out of the report other than his allegation.
Today's headlines
'We'll freeze Turkey talks' warns EU as arrests continue
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched a radical purge against anyone suspected of complicity in the coup attempt. Photo: DPA

As Turkish authorities on Friday widened their sweeping post-coup crackdown to the business sector, the European Union's enlargement commissioner implicitly warned that the bloc would freeze Turkey's accession talks if the crackdown violated the rule of law.

I’m ashamed of Germany’s refugee failure: Green leader
Cem Özdemir. Photo: DPA

The head of the Green Party has responded angrily to Angela Merkel’s speech on refugees on Friday, saying he feels “ashamed at Germany’s failure".

German satirists mock Erdogan (and his penis)
Photo: DPA

Tempting fate?

Huge pro-Erdogan rally puts strain on Turkish community
Erdogan supporters at a rally in 2014. Photo: DPA

Tens of thousands of supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plan to rally in Cologne on Sunday, as tensions over Turkey's failed coup have put German authorities on edge.

How the Berlin startup scene is wasting its potential
Photo: DPA

"The truth is, there really isn't a truly successful international Berlin startup."

Five years' jail for German darknet weapons dealer
Photo: DPA

He had sold weapons to known Isis-sympathizers and far-right extremists.

Prickly Bavarian calls out cops on hedgehogs' noisy sex
Photo: DPA

Caught in the act.

International or German state school - which one's best?
Photo: DPA

Deciding between sending your child to a German state school or a private international school isn't easy. Max Bringmann has experienced both.

13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make

Sure-fire ways to get off on the wrong foot in the German language.

Captain Schweinsteiger retires from international football
Bastian Schweinsteiger. Photo: DPA

He has won a World Cup with Die Mannschaft and captained them at Euro 2016. On Friday Bastian Schweinsteiger announced his retirement from the national team.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Five things to know about guns in Germany
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd