Following this week's massive protests of the the latest shipment of radioactive waste to the depot in Lower Saxony, Bouffier told daily Süddeutsche Zeitung that the country needs to be prepared to abandon Gorleben.
“It can't be that that we base everything on the NIMBY principle,” he said, referring to “not in my back yard” types of attitudes to storing nuclear waste.
Until now the German states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Hesse have rejected exploration of their possible storage sites, making Bouffier the first to speak in favour of such activity.
But Bouffier insisted that “neither Greenpeace nor newspapers or state governments” would decide whether Gorleben will remain a nuclear waste depot.
“That is for scientists to decide,” he told the paper.
The debate over nuclear waste in Germany was reignited this week as thousands of protestors gathered along the route to Gorleben, hindering 11 Castor containers holding 123 tonnes of radioactive waste.
While Gorleben has seen protests for years, their renewed vigour is connected to Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision last month to extend the use of Germany's nuclear reactors for another 14 years.