According to the Federal Environment Ministry, the search for a repository for German nuclear waste will be delayed beyond the target date of 2031. As the ministry explained when asked by dpa, the process “cannot be completed by 2031, taking into account the high requirements for selecting the location with the best possible security”.

So far, Germany has wanted to have the location for the disposal of its high-level radioactive waste determined by then. The “Ostsee-Zeitung” had already reported delays in the schedule a few days ago, citing the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BASE).

In its confirmation of the date, which can no longer be maintained, the Ministry of Steffi Lemke (Greens) relies on a paper from the Bundesgesellschaft für EndRepository mbH (BGE), which is entrusted with the search for a repository. In this paper, “for the first time, time corridors for all phases of the site selection process are presented, taking into account deadline risks and potential for acceleration,” it said. The Ministry of the Environment concludes that time specifications should also be subordinated to the principle of the best possible safety.

The search for a repository for the highly radioactive waste produced in Germany has been difficult for years. Despite tough procedures, a location should be fixed by 2031. From 2050 the repository should be put into operation. The so-called Site Selection Act explicitly states: “The aim is to determine the site for the year 2031.”

BASE, which oversees the search for a repository in Germany, announced the delay on Thursday in response to a dpa request: “The project sponsor commissioned with the search – the Bundesgesellschaft für EndRepository (BGE) mbH – has not yet given BASE to supervise the selection process Plan presented how he can carry out what is indeed an extensive process within the remaining nine years.”

The Federal Ministry for the Environment stated that it would now hold talks with the company responsible for the site search and BASE about the further process and the conclusions from the outdated schedule.