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German Government to Restart Search for Nuclear Waste Site

Nov. 11 (Bloomberg) -- 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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stefan Nicola in Berlin at snicola2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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