Germany will restart the search for a site to store its most dangerous nuclear waste, working to achieve a “national consensus” on the issue first, the environment minister said.
Norbert Roettgen said today he’d work with the country’s 16 state governors on a law enabling the search by next summer. Roettgen wouldn’t say how long it would take to decide on a site, only that there would be “no taboos” on the location.
“This is a watershed point,” he said after meeting representatives from the states in Berlin for the first such talks on the issue in 35 years. “We will not pass this on to a foreign country or the next generation.”
The decision signals Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition is backing away from a plan to put the waste in Gorleben, a town in the nation’s north along the Elbe River that’s been the focus for efforts to situate a facility for decades.
Germany, which seeks to shutter its atomic reactors by 2022, has spent more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) of taxpayers’ money since the 1980s to determine whether the Gorleben site is appropriate. A previous government of Social Democrats and Greens blocked research at that site for 10 years through 2010.
The public and scientists will be integrated into the process to strike a consensus and find “the safest possible” site, Winfried Kretschmann, the governor of Baden-Wuerttemberg, said at the briefing.
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