For years the search has been underway in Germany for a nuclear waste disposal site, but there is as yet no sign of one being found. The criteria are, firstly, geological characteristics, with population density coming later.
Germany is densely populated in comparison with the EU as a whole, so the question arises as to whether there would be more suitable sites in other parts of the EU.
On 07 October 2020, German Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Engin Eroglu of the Renew Europe Group addressed a parliamentary question to the European Commission.
MEP Eroglu enquired “are there EU-wide comparative studies showing where disposal facilities might best be sited?” Considering the fact that “Euratom is at the heart of the EU’s history and it would therefore make sense to close this chapter of the EU by searching for and operating suitable sites together”, MEP Eroglu asked, “are efforts being made in this regard?”
On 02 December, Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson responded on behalf of the European Commission. She responded that “the responsible and safe management of radioactive waste is a priority for the European Commission, and is at the core of Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom” and “the directive sets out that the Member States bear ultimate responsibility for disposal of radioactive waste they generated”.
Commissioner Simson reported that “disposal of radioactive waste in another Member State is possible only if an agreement exists between the respective parties and the country of destination fulfils strict safety conditions” and “it is important to note that several Member States have a ban on import of radioactive waste for disposal on their territory”. She also referenced the 2019 report on the implementation of the directive and said that in the report “the Commission observed that Member States have progressed in demonstrating that they have been taking reasonable actions to ensure that no undue burden is imposed on future generations and that radioactive waste and spent fuel is managed safely”.
Commissioner Simson further clarified that “the Commission also encouraged Member States to decide swiftly on disposal of radioactive waste” and “it recommended that Member States considering shared solutions cluster up, take practical measures, including site-specific matters and engage in multinational cooperation”.
In ending, Commissioner Simson asserted that “the Commission welcomes cooperation among Member States, nonetheless has no competence to site a disposal facility” and “the Commission has not carried out any studies on best disposal sites or similar EU-wide comparative studies”.
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/nuclear-waste-radioactive-trash-1471361/