The logistics centre for the Konrad repository

The federally owned BGZ Gesellschaft für Zwischenlagerung mbH is planning the construction of a logistics centre in Beverungen-Würgassen for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste destined for the Konrad repository (LoK).

More than 300,000 m³ of low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste from the operation of nuclear power plants and from research, industry and medicine must be disposed of in Germany. This nuclear waste is stored in over three dozen interim storage facilities for disposal in the Konrad repository. The challenge: Only specific compositions of various waste containers can be disposed of in the Konrad repository. In order to ensure that the final repository can be supplied quickly and smoothly, the containers with nuclear waste from the various intermediate storage facilities must first be assembled in precisely fitting batches.

To solve this challenge and significantly accelerate final disposal, BGZ wishes to build the logistics centre for the Konrad repository (LoK) on the site of the former Würgassen nuclear power plant in Beverungen (Höxter District, NRW). Containers with pre-packaged radioactive waste from the interim storage facilities will be collected in this facility and assembled in precisely fitting batches as required for onward transport to the final repository.

Further information on all the individual components of the planned facility can be found in the Chapter Planning.

Our Task

Construction and planning of a logistics centre

The Federal Government is responsible for the final disposal of radioactive waste in Germany. The safest solution for all types of radioactive waste is final disposal in deep underground rock strata. Under the Waste Management Transfer Act (EntsorgÜG) the federally owned BGZ Gesellschaft für Zwischenlagerung mbH is responsible for storing waste from the operation and dismantling of nuclear power plants until final disposal.

The decommissioned Konrad Shaft iron ore mine in Lower Saxony is currently being developed into a repository for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste (LAW/MAW) by the Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung mbH (BGE). The repository is scheduled for completion in 2027.

The plan approval decision for the repository requires detailed specifications for the emplacement of the radioactive waste. The waste must therefore be delivered in precisely fitting batches. The Konrad repository site is far too small, however, to keep large quantities of waste in stock. The waste must therefore be delivered “just-in-time”. Delivering the right waste compositions at exactly the right time from decentralised interim storage facilities is a difficult task. These are often filled according to the so-called “last in – first out principle”. In the LoK, on the other hand, batches can be put together in the way required for emplacement. This means that radioactive waste can be disposed of around ten years faster, resulting in a significant improvement in safety for all.

The Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUV) commissioned BGZ with the planning, construction and operation of the logistics centre for the Konrad repository (LoK). Based on the search process carried out by BGZ since 2018, BGZ recommended the area in Würgassen as most suitable for further site-specific planning and investigations. Low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste (LAW/MAW) will be brought here and arranged in precisely fitting batches for final disposal.

The legal basis for the construction of a LoK is the Waste Management Transfer Act, which refers to a “central reception storage facility for radioactive waste with negligible heat generation as an input storage facility for the Konrad repository”. The prompt planning and construction of such a repository was agreed in the coalition agreement between the CDU, CSU and SPD for the 19th legislative period. The SPD, BÜNDNIS 90/Die Grünen and FDP coalition government also affirmed the need for such a facility in the Coalition Agreement for the 20th legislative period. Responsibility is held by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV).

In a nutshell

  • Germany is currently building a repository for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste.
  • Until final disposal, BGZ is responsible for the interim storage of waste from the operation and dismantling of the nuclear power plants.
  • BGZ is planning a logistics centre for the Konrad repository (LoK) in order to optimise and speed up disposal.
  • BGZ has been assigned this task by the Federal Government.

The precise wording of the Waste Management Transfer Act and the coalition agreement is as follows:

“The third party pursuant to Section 2 (1), first sentence, may establish a central reception storage facility for radioactive waste with negligible heat generation as a receiving storage facility for the Konrad repository.”

Section 3 (3) of the Waste Management Transfer Act. (The Federal Government has assigned the task of interim storage to BGZ as a “third party”).

“A central reception storage facility must be established in order to begin with emplacement operations promptly. We therefore wish to establish such a reception storage facility and begin planning without delay.”

Coalition Agreement between CDU, CSU and SPD for the 19th legislative period, lines 6672 – 6675.

“Approved repositories must be completed and put into operation quickly. This also includes site selection and the construction of the necessary logistics centre.”

Coalition agreement between SPD, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and FDP for the 20th legislative period, lines 2137 – 2138.

Site recommendation

Why does BGZ recommend Würgassen as a suitable site?

The Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUV) commissioned BGZ with the planning and construction of the logistics centre for the Konrad repository (LoK). Based on the search process conducted through to March 2020, BGZ recommended that the area in Würgassen should be selected for further site-specific planning and study.

Why did the BGZ decide on this site?

The BMUV asked the experts of the Nuclear Waste Management Commission (ESK) to submit a statement on the framework conditions for a LoK. The ESK complied with the BMUV’s request in July 2018 by publishing the statement “Safety-related and logistical requirements for a central reception storage facility for the Konrad repository”. The full text is available here in the ESK’s statement.

In a nutshell

  • BGZ site recommendation: Würgassen
  • Area soon available
  • Rail connection available
  • Two interim storage facilities are already in operation on the site
  • Not a nature reserve

Please note that the documents are available in German language only.

Please note that the documents are available in German language only.

Based on the recommendations of the ESK as well as the site-independent technical concept for a logistics centre, BGZ developed criteria for the selection of a site for the LoK:

BGZ also stipulated other criteria as important, in addition to the ESK’s recommendation, for the identification of a site within a radius of 150 – 200 km around the Konrad repository. First of all, an area of approximately 30 hectares is required for the LoK. This was derived from the site-independent technical concept. In addition, BGZ considers proximity to an existing rail connection and/or the short-term construction of such connection as decisive criteria. These criteria are also necessary to comply with the recommendation in the ESK’s statement according to which most waste packages should be delivered by rail. The requirement that the site should not be in a nature conservation area was also included from the outset in order to exclude areas recognised as worthy of protection, such as national natural heritage sites. BGZ also specified a distance of 300 metres from residential areas as an additional criterion in order to exclude from the outset sites in densely built-up residential areas.

On behalf of the BMU, BGZ then asked the Bundesanstalt für Immobilienaufgaben (BImA), the Bodenverwaltungs- und -verwertungs GmbH (BVVG), the Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg) and Deutsche Bahn (DB) to identify potential sites from their holdings. The three nuclear power plant sites located in the search area were also considered by BGZ because of their infrastructural connections and previous use. BGZ examined the sites brought to their attention in accordance with the defined requirements.

All sites were evaluated by BGZ in accordance with the task on hand on the basis of the information provided by the respective institutions and the accessible data. BGZ considered the criteria “distance from the nearest train tracks” and “road transport route to the Konrad Shaft” as relevant for the decision-making process.

BGZ compared sites and recommended the Würgassen site to the BMUV as the preferred site for a LoK. The site had previously been used for a nuclear power plant and it is currently in use for two intermediate storage facilities for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste and consequently offers a number of infrastructure and development advantages.

The Ministry submitted BGZ’s recommendation for expert review by the Öko-Institut, which confirmed the findings:

“BGZ identifies […] Würgassen as the most suitable site. Based on the available information, the Öko-Institut also comes to the same conclusion.”
Öko-Institut e. V., January 2020

In a statement for the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the ESK has reconfirmed the necessity of the Konrad Logistics Centre (LoK) for the rapid final disposal of low and intermediate level radioactive waste. The ESK also considers BGZ’s selection of the site at the former Würgassen nuclear power plant to be comprehensible.

Why Würgassen is a suitable site for the Konrad logistics centre

There are plans to build a logistics centre on the grounds of the former nuclear power plant in Würgassen. The logistics centre will deliver low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste to the Konrad repository. The video explains the search for a suitable site and why Würgassen is particularly suitable.

A journey into the future. The simulation shows how the facility can fit into the landscape on site.

A deliberate decision was made not to present an embellished impression by using a green roof, for example. Please note: The building complex is only shown schematically. Individual elements will change in the course of planning (status: 2021).

As well as the film, an app for smartphones and tablets has also been created that allows the logistics centre (status: 2021) to be projected onto any surface and viewed completely from any angle. The “BGZ AR” app is available for iOS-based devices in the Apple Store and for Android devices in the Google Playstore. Here too, it is important to remember that individual elements of the building complex will change in the course of planning and are therefore not true to reality.

 

Planning

Site-specific planning

BGZ launched a new phase with a press conference on 6 March 2020: On the same day, site-specific planning began for the logistics centre for the Konrad repository on the site of the former Würgassen nuclear power plant.

Ten days later, on 16 March, BGZ signed a notarised contract to secure a purchase option for the land at the Würgassen site with the owner of the site, PreussenElektra GmbH. Bearing in mind the still outstanding approval procedure, BGZ has thus secured the necessary land for the construction of the logistics centre.

In a nutshell

  • 28 plots of land were studied in more detail as part of the site search.
  • Specific planning for the Würgassen site began on 6 March 2020.
  • Construction work on the LoK could begin in the course of 2026.
  • Commissioning of the logistics centre for the Konrad repository is planned for 2029.

The road to the logistics centre for the Konrad repository

Suitable sites were sought for the logistics centre during the preliminary planning phase. 28 plots of land – mainly in the ownership of the Federal Government – were considered in accordance with the recommendations made by the Nuclear Waste Management Commission and additional criteria established by BGZ. Nine plots of land were ultimately shortlisted by BGZ. The site of the former Würgassen nuclear power plant proved to be the most suitable. The exact reasons for the selection of the site by BGZ are detailed here.

The Federal Ministry for the Environment approved the site chosen by BGZ after it had been confirmed in an expert review produced by the Öko-Institut.

Following the assessment since 2020 of the suitability of the property, the next step was the detailed planning. This will be followed by applications for several approval procedures. These will be submitted to the Detmold district government and other recipients while the district of Höxter, on the other hand, is responsible for the building permit. BGZ will provide regular public information on their progress. The residents of the region also have the opportunity to voice their objections and concerns about the planned construction during the approval procedure. The approval authorities will then discuss and evaluate these criticisms in the procedure. Construction of the logistics centre is scheduled to begin in 2026. The LoK will then be ready for operation in 2029.

“BGZ identifies […] Würgassen as the most suitable site. Based on the available information, the Öko-Institut also comes to the same conclusion.”

Öko-Institut e. V., January 2020

Please note that the documents are available in German language only.

Please note that the documents are available in German language only.

Structure and functioning of the Konrad logistics centre

The logistics centre for the Konrad repository (LoK) is a facility in which low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste (LAW/MAW) will be combined into batches and prepared for final disposal.

Waste originating from the operation, decommissioning and dismantling of nuclear power plants as well as from the medical, research and commercial sectors will be assembled in the logistics centre as it is requested by the Konrad repository.

Schematic representation of the logistics centre for the Konrad repository:

In a nutshell

  • Logistics centre for the Konrad repository with a storage capacity of up to 60,000m3.
  • The LoK will also be decommissioned once the Konrad repository has been filled.
  • Shorter operating time of the Konrad repository.
  • Ultimately this will enable interim storage facilities in the whole of Germany to be cleared faster.

“… a reception storage facility [is] indispensable for optimised charging of the Konrad repository.”

Nuclear Waste Management Commission (ESK), July 2018

Benefits

The LoK will optimise and thereby speed up the overall process of disposing of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste. This will have the following effects:

1. The LoK will reduce the amount of time needed for emplacement operations at the Konrad repository

The logistics centre in Würgassen will simplify and speed up the process of disposing of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste in the Konrad repository. This will improve all-round safety as only an underground repository such as Konrad can guarantee that this waste can be disposed of permanently without danger to people or the environment.

2. The LoK will enable interim storage facilities to be cleared more quickly

The radioactive waste destined for the Konrad repository must be selected according to a large number of parameters (e.g. heat generation, container shape, size, material composition, radioactivity) and assembled into precisely fitting emplacement batches (in accordance with the final storage conditions for the Konrad Shaft).
It is impossible, or only possible over a very long period of time and with huge logistical effort, to compile emplacement batches for the Konrad repository at the interim storage sites. The packaged waste is often not directly accessible at these sites. In contrast, each interim storage facility can deliver its waste in a form suitable for final disposal directly to the LoK without any restrictions.

Brief explanation: The logistics centre for the Konrad repository

A large part of Germany’s low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste will be disposed of in the Konrad repository in Salzgitter. In order to ensure that the final repository can be supplied quickly and smoothly, the containers with nuclear waste must first be assembled in precisely fitting batches. This is where the planned logistics centre in Würgassen comes into play. The following film explains why such a facility is needed and how the assembling process will work.

The structure of the LoK

The LoK is a large building complex consisting of various parts:

  • A storage area for waste that has already been properly packed for final storage in special containers; the storage capacity is around 60,000 m3, equal to a capacity of around 15,000 waste containers
  • A handling building with separate arrival and departure areas for trains and lorries as well as a weather protection hall for the storage of transport equipment
  • An operations building with all necessary technical facilities for the building complex (e.g. heating, ventilation, sanitary areas)
  • A workshop and a storage hall for vehicles

A road bypass surrounds the central building complex and ensures easy access to the individual areas.

Other buildings at the LoK include an office building with associated archives and meeting rooms, a main and track gate, and a transfer area for incoming and outgoing trains. This is designed as a covered weather shelter. Operating staff can check the trains arriving or departing here in the dry.

Sustainability aspects play a major role in the planning and subsequent operation of the LoK. The plant will therefore be equipped with a geothermal heat pump. The roof surfaces of the LoK will also be used to produce electricity with photovoltaic systems. Green roofs will ensure that the LoK blends into the landscape and that rainwater is retained. In addition, charging stations for e-mobility will be provided on the site so that employees and others can easily charge their e-vehicles during working hours.

The LoK will begin operations in 2029. The facility will only be needed until the emplacement operation in the Konrad repository is completed. Later it will be possible to use the LoK for other (non-nuclear) purposes, e.g. commercial use, or it will be completely dismantled by BGZ.

Technical concept

The purpose of the site-independent concept is to describe the individual areas of the LoK with their functions and technical equipment.

The site-independent concept is an important aspect of preliminary planning. It has been developed in several stages and regularly supplemented. The version published here is the final document including the appendix. Please note that the documents available for download are in German language only.

This technical concept has been tailored to the Würgassen site and developed into a site-specific concept.

Please note that the documents are available in German language only.

Please note that the documents are available in German language only.

Please note that the documents are available in German language only.

Transport

Transport of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste

Low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste is currently kept in interim storage facilities throughout Germany. In total around 303,000m3 will be disposed of in the approved Konrad repository. On their way there, they will first be taken to the logistics centre, where they will be assembled into precisely fitting batches for emplacement in the Konrad repository.

BGZ’s objective is to transport most of the waste to and from the logistics centre by rail. BGZ expects a maximum of ten train journeys and no more than 20 lorry transports per day (Monday to Friday). These figures include empty runs. In reality, daily transports will generally be significantly lower. Round or rectangular waste containers will be transported in standardised transport containers (20-foot steel containers).

Illustration of the size of transport containers relative to a person

 

Transport by road

Waste containers will be transported in regular lorries with semi-trailers using public roads, as shown here for example. According to the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations (StVZO), transport vehicles weighing up to 44 tonnes may use any public roads in Germany. Deliveries made to the logistics centre will weigh less than this. There will be no need for additional security measures, such as the escort vehicles familiar from heavy haulage. BGZ’s goal is to minimise the number of lorry transports as far as possible and to shift them to rail. For example, at interim storage sites that do not have a railway siding, lorries will only drive to the nearest freight station, where the containers will be loaded onto trains.

Transport by rail

Most deliveries to and from the logistics centre will be made by freight train. Waste containers will be transported in transport containers to the logistics centre from interim storage facilities. This kind of train can consist of up to eleven wagons.

Transport from the logistics centre to the Konrad repository is planned as a rail shuttle operation. At the logistics centre, the individual waste containers will be placed in a transport container and then loaded onto the freight wagon in the handling area. In the Konrad repository, the waste containers will be unloaded from the transport containers after which the train will return to the logistics centre. The empty transport containers will then be taken off the wagon again and stored in a weather protection hall to be loaded again with waste containers.

The sort of freight wagon used with two transport containers is shown here as an example.

Deutsche Bahn has confirmed that the route is fundamentally suitable for freight traffic. The maximum number of 10 train journeys per day (Monday to Friday) from or to the logistics centre (including empty runs) can easily be integrated with passenger services on this route.

Security in the transport of radioactive materials

The transport of low- and intermediate-level radioactive materials and related security issues are regulated by the Radiation Protection Act and the Dangerous Goods Act. These in turn are based on international regulations. Low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste is transported everyday in Germany: Around 500,000 deliveries of this type are made nationwide every year. As a rule, these deliveries do not attract public attention – in contrast to the large number of transports of highly radioactive waste in CASTOR containers that are familiar to the public from media reports.

As far as the hazardousness of deliveries to and from the logistics centre is concerned, the comprehensive “Konrad Transport Study” from 2009 showed that the waste transports converging in the region of the Konrad repository do not pose a radiological risk to the population, to transport personnel or to the environment. This finding applies equally to the logistics centre, as the same waste is involved.

Information about the Konrad repository operated by BGE

The Konrad Shaft: An ore deposit becomes a repository

The Konrad Shaft in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony, operated by the Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung mbH (BGE), is the first repository in Germany to be approved under nuclear law. The former iron ore mine is being converted into a repository for the disposal of up to 303,000m3 of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste.

Iron ore was extracted from the Konrad mine from 1965 to 1976. However, mining was not profitable and was finally discontinued in the mid-1970s.

It was at this time that thoughts first turned to the possibility of using the mine in the future as a final repository for radioactive waste. A study of the mine by the then Gesellschaft für Strahlen- und Umweltforschung (Society for Radiation and Environmental Research), now Helmholtz Zentrum München (German Research Center for Environmental Health) was undertaken between 1975 and 1982. The German Metrology Institute Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), which was responsible for final disposal at the time, finally applied for a plan approval procedure to be initiated in 1982. The public hearing, to which about 290,000 objections were submitted, was held in 1992. These objections were bundled into 950 topics by the newly established Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS). The plan approval decision was issued by the Lower Saxony Ministry of the Environment in 2002.

Municipalities, districts, churches and private individuals filed a total of eight lawsuits against the decision; these were dismissed by the Higher Administrative Court in Lüneburg in 2006. An appeal was not allowed. The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig confirmed the ruling in March 2007. The plan approval decision was thus confirmed by the courts 30 years after the first studies. Implementation has been possible ever since.

In January 2008, the Lower Saxony State Office for Mining, Energy and Geology (LBEG) approved the main operating plan, which enables the mining work necessary for the conversion of the Konrad Shaft into a repository for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste. Since 25 April 2017, the Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung mbH (BGE) has been responsible for the Konrad repository, which was previously the responsibility of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS). The basis for the change of operator was the “Act on Organisational Restructuring in the Field of Final Disposal”, which came into force on 30 July 2016.

The repository is scheduled to go into operation in 2027. Further information about the Konrad repository can be found at BGE Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung.

Dialogue and transparency

Dialogue and transparency

“Dialogue with the public is our obligatory goal”. This understanding of our task is set down in the BGZ Guidelines. Our work is enriched by ongoing exchanges of views and information with citizens, the media and groups in society. This is only possible if information is made available transparently. BGZ engages in dialogue and provides information about the LoK to interested parties.

Since publication of the plans in Würgassen in March 2020, BGZ has kept the public informed about the LoK on an ongoing basis, has sought talks on site and has answered countless questions. The Corona pandemic initially put the brakes on face-to-face discussions in particular. However, we have made every effort in many new forms to meet the need for information on the ground and to maintain dialogue through other channels. Since then, we have received a great deal of feedback in the form of questions and information. This shows us that our activities are appreciated and that we are on the right track. We have opened a BGZ information office in Beverungen to enable even more direct contact with the people in the region. All citizens are cordially invited to visit the office, from Tuesdays to Fridays, to find out more and to ask their questions.

Communication on site

We will be glad to inform you about our work on site. We opened a BGZ information office in Beverungen in summer 2021 to enable even more direct contact with the people in the region. All citizens are cordially invited to visit the office, from Tuesdays to Fridays, to find out more and to ask their questions.

Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Thursday 10 am -5 pm
Friday 9 am – 2 pm

Address:
Lange Straße 23
37688 Beverungen
Phone: +49 201 2796207-350
Email: LOK@bgz.de

Documentaries

Nuclear phase-out; definitely: The logistics centre for the Konrad repository

A logistics centre for the Konrad repository is planned in Würgassen. The video below includes information from the former Federal Minister for the Environment, Dr. Barbara Hendricks, and State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth on the origin of the nuclear waste and the problems entailed by its swift disposal. BGZ specialists also report on how the nuclear waste can be safely kept in interim storage facilities and how people and the environment can be protected against radiation. They also explain why Würgassen in particular is such a suitable site for the logistics centre.

Livestreams

A look back:
Live stream of the BGZ information event on the Konrad logistics centre held on 22 September 2020 in Beverungen

An initial event on the planned construction project in Würgassen had to be cancelled in March 2020 due to the Corona pandemic. The event was subsequently held in Beverungen town hall on 22 September 2020.

Former BGZ CEO Dr Ewold Seeba, Chief Representative Christian Möbius and Division Manager for the Logistics Centre, Dr Heinz-Walter Drotleff, presented the planned construction project in Würgassen. The mayor of Beverungen, Hubertus Grimm, welcomed the participants to the event. Citizens then had the opportunity to ask questions about the planned logistics centre to those responsible.

Please note that the recorded live streams are available in German language only.

A look back:
Live stream on 9 June 2020

A recording of our online information event held on 9 June 2020 and the presentation given by Dr Drotleff at the information event is available here.

Please note that the recorded live streams are available in German language only.

Explainer films

A number of short videos shed light on the planned logistics centre for the Konrad repository from a variety of different perspectives. They explain why such a facility is needed and provide insights into its function. A 3D visualisation also shows how the logistics centre will be embedded in its surroundings.

Please note that the videos are available in German language only.

Explained in the video: The logistics centre for the Konrad repository

A journey into the future. The simulation shows how the facility can fit into the landscape on site. A deliberate decision was made not to present an embellished impression by using a green roof, for example. Please note: the representation of the building complex is only suggested. Individual elements will change in the course of planning.

In parallel to the film, an app for smartphones and tablets was created that allows the logistics centre to be projected onto any surface and be viewed completely freely from all angles. The “BGZ AR” app is available for iOS-based devices in the Apple Store and is also available for Android devices in the Google Playstore. Here too, it is important to note that certain elements of the building complex will change in the course of planning and are therefore not true to reality.

Why is a logistics centre needed for the Konrad repository?

A large proportion of Germany’s low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste will be disposed of in the Konrad repository in Salzgitter. In order to ensure that the final repository can be supplied quickly and smoothly, the containers with nuclear waste must first be assembled in precisely fitting batches. This is where the planned logistics centre in Würgassen comes into play. The following film explains why such a facility is needed and how the assembling process will work.

What is the function of the logistics centre for the Konrad repository?

The disposal of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste in the Konrad repository presents a huge challenge. Complex specifications apply to the composition of container batches. This short film explains how the planned logistics centre in Würgassen will help to ensure that the repository is optimally supplied and why waste cannot be delivered directly from the decentralised interim storage facilities.

Why Würgassen is a suitable site for the Konrad logistics centre

There are plans to build a logistics centre on the grounds of the former nuclear power plant in Würgassen. The logistics centre will deliver low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste to the Konrad repository. The video explains the search for a suitable site and why Würgassen is particularly suitable.

Please note that all notifications are available in German language only.

Download-Center

LoK brochures and publications (available in German only)

 

Further documents (available in German only)

Plan approval decision for the Konrad repository (22 May 2002)
Waste Management Transfer Act (EntsorgÜG) (16 June 2017)
ESK statement “Safety-related and logistical requirements for a central reception storage facility for the Konrad repository” (26 June 2018)
Coalition Agreement between the CDU, CSU and SPD (7 February 2018)
BGZ Site-independent technical concept description (25 November 2019)
Annex to the BGZ Site-independent technical concept description (25 November 2019)
BGZ site recommendation
Expert opinion of the Öko-Institut
LoK Soil expertise
Concept description for the Würgassen site (2 September 2020)
BGZ statement on the motion of the BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN parliamentary group in the State Parliament of Lower Saxony (18 January 2021)
State Parliament of Lower Saxony / Environment, Energy, Building and Climate Action Committee: Minutes of the 72nd session (18 January 2021)
State Parliament of Hesse / Minor interpellation made by Oliver Ullroth (SPD) on 2 March 2021 and response by the Minister for the Environment, Climate Action, Agriculture and Consumer Protection
Operational programme study of transport volumes
Statement by the engineering company Schnack Geotechnik on the issue of sinkholes (26 April 2021)
Road connection to the planned Konrad Logistics Centre (LoK) – Study undertaken on behalf of BGZ –
Expert opinion on the determination of high water levels with a recurrence time of T = 100 and T = 10,000 years for the site of the Konrad Logistics Centre (LoK) at the former Würgassen nuclear power plant (KWW) under KTA 2207

Correspondence between BGZ and the Detmold district government on the subject of regional planning:

BGZ’s objection lodged with the Detmold District Government (in German)
Response by the Detmold District Government to the objection lodged by BGZ (in German)

The LoK is a facility in which low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste from the operation, decommissioning and dismantling of nuclear power plants as well as from the medical, research and commercial sectors is made ready for just-in-time delivery in precisely-fitting batches to the Konrad repository near Salzgitter. This is done in a hall made of reinforced concrete, which also provides temporary safe storage of the nuclear waste.

A facility of this kind is essential to facilitate the logistics to transport waste to the Konrad repository to enable smooth planning of emplacement and provision of waste. This is a prerequisite for the systematically plannable and continuous delivery of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste to and uninterrupted storage in the Konrad repository.
Radioactive waste from the interim storage facilities is not transferred to the Konrad repository arbitrarily. It is carried out at the request of the Konrad repository. The repository requests delivery of waste to the extent that it can be stored underground, “container by container”.
The retrieved waste containers must arrive at the Konrad repository on a precise day and in the required order. However, access to containers is limited at some interim storage facilities. Containers consequently have to be restacked, while the corresponding manoeuvring areas are not always available in the interim storage facilities or only to a limited extent.
The nuclear waste that is handled in the logistics centre is already packed in containers that can be stored directly in the Konrad repository. These containers are put into safe storage before being transferred to the repository.
No. The operation of the LoK will not increase the level of radioactivity in Würgassen and the surrounding region above the naturally existing background radiation. However, a small increase in radioactive contamination due to transport to and from the LoK cannot be avoided. This radiation exposure is nonetheless still well below the legal limit.

BGZ has many years of experience in protecting its interim storage facilities. This knowledge as well as a comprehensive security concept designed specifically for the logistics centre (LoK), which must be approved by the relevant authorities, ensure the protection of the plant. Details cannot be disclosed to the public for security reasons. There is no need to secure the plant specifically against aircraft crashes. In the approval procedure, BGZ will demonstrate that no drastic measures (such as evacuations) would be required even in the case of such an extremely unlikely event.

Floods and heavy rainfall events do not pose a threat to the LoK. The renowned flood expert Professor Jürgen Jensen from the University of Siegen has presented calculations to support this assessment in an expert report.
The law stipulates that the LoK must be out of reach of the peak of a flood that recurs statistically every 100 years. This is easily possible at the Würgassen site: A flood of this kind would raise the level of the Weser to 99.5 metres – the bottom of the former Würgassen nuclear power plant is 100.75 metres, i.e. significantly higher. However, structures such as dams, chemical plants or the LoK have to fulfil another requirement: Technical means must be in place to prevent the flooding that would result from high water levels that recur every 10,000 years. In Würgassen, this would mean a level of 100.9 metres – 15 centimetres above the top of the ground. This would not represent a fundamental problem for the sealed containers as the water would not reach the nuclear waste. Nevertheless, BGZ has decided to backfill the construction site to such an extent that no water would be able to enter the LoK even in the event of a 10,000-year flood.
After the floods triggered by heavy rain in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia in the summer of 2021, BGZ asked Professor Jensen to expand his expert report by considering the potential impact of heavy rain at the LoK. Professor Jensen concluded that such events are already included by the conservative calculations in his study.

According to current planning, the heart of the logistics centre will be a hall made of reinforced concrete, which will have adjacent areas for delivery and dispatch. These areas will be monitored by the Radiation Protection Section. Waste containers will be transported by overhead cranes. The hall is divided into several bays for storage and sorting of the containers. An operations building for power supply and ventilation will be adjacent to the hall and there will be a weather protection hall for empty transport containers and other equipment.

Only low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste from the operation, decommissioning and dismantling of nuclear power plants as well as from the fields of medicine, research and industry will be delivered to the LoK. Highly radioactive waste, such as spent fuel elements, will not be stored there.
In interim storage facilities throughout the whole of Germany, including in BGZ storage facilities.

The waste is in special containers that are then brought to the logistics centre in transport containers. As a rule, the waste will be transported by goods trains. However, it is not possible entirely to avoid transporting some waste by lorry. BGZ expects a maximum of 20 lorry transports and of 10 train journeys per day (Monday to Friday) to and from the logistics centre. These figures include empty runs. The waste delivered from the logistics centre to the Konrad repository will be transported exclusively on goods trains.

The transport of low- and intermediate-level radioactive materials and the safety issues involved are regulated by law. Waste is transported in this way everyday in Germany. Around 500,000 consignments of this type are transported nationwide every year.

As a rule, the logistics centre only processes containers in which the nuclear waste for the Konrad repository has already been sealed.

The storage capacity will be 60,000 cubic metres, which corresponds to about 15,000 containers of low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste.

The logistics centre should be ready for operation by the end of 2029.

The facility will be needed until all the low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste has been emplaced in the Konrad repository.

BGZ investigated a total of 28 sites within a radius of 200 kilometres of the Konrad repository (ESK recommendation). Only nine sites meet most of the criteria stipulated by the Nuclear Waste Management Commission (ESK) and the BGZ requirements for the site. These include, for example, a direct railway siding and the exclusion of nature reserves or other protected areas. Only the Würgassen site meets all these criteria. BGZ’s recommendation was confirmed in an expert report by the Öko-Institut commissioned by the Federal Ministry for the Environment.

There is not enough space for a logistics centre at the site of the repository.

That’s true, but the land is not owned by either the Federal Government or an energy provider. Ownership was an important criterion when searching for land in order to be able to use the sites as quickly as possible. It would not have been possible to acquire privately-held land as quickly as necessary and it might have proved impossible to acquire it at all.

No, that’s not the case. A completely separate new licensing procedure would be needed wherever the logistics centre were to be built. This does not affect the plan approval decision for the Konrad repository.

No, the facility is intended exclusively as a logistics centre for the Konrad repository. No highly radioactive nuclear waste will be stored there either.

After the end of the operating period, the logistics centre (LoK) will be demolished by BGZ or used for other purposes if people in the region so decide.

BGZ expects around 100 new, permanent jobs.

Responsibility for the storage and disposal of nuclear waste was transferred by law from the operators of nuclear power plants to the Federal Republic of Germany in 2017. Emplacement and disposal will be financed from a fund into which the energy supply companies have paid around 24 billion euros. This fund will also be used to build and operate the LoK.

The logistics centre will handle low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste. The logistics centre will therefore need a handling license in accordance with the Radiation Protection Act. The state authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia are responsible for this and other licenses.

Yes. An environmental impact assessment (EIA) will also be performed with public participation as part of the licensing procedure under the Radiation Protection Act.

BGZ Gesellschaft für Zwischenlagerung mbH is a company owned by the Federal Government. BGZ was founded on 1 March 2017 and operates more than 20 storage facilities for low-, intermediate- and high-level nuclear waste that has been and is still being produced from the operation and decommissioning of nuclear power plants. The company is headquartered in Essen.

The construction of the facility as a logistics centre has been stipulated in the Waste Management Transfer Act after the nuclear phase-out. The coalition agreement between the CDU, CSU and SPD for the 19th legislative period stipulates the immediate planning and construction of such a storage facility. The SPD, BÜNDNIS 90/Die Grünen and FDP coalition government also affirmed the need for such a facility in the Coalition Agreement for the 20th legislative period. BGZ has been commissioned to do this by the Federal Ministry for the Environment.

Burghard Rosen
Head of Press and Site Communications

Phone +49 201 2796-1480
Email Burghard.Rosen@bgz.de

Hendrik Kranert-Rydzy
Press Spokesman
Logistics Centre Konrad

Phone +49 30 253592-143
Email Hendrik.Kranert@bgz.de

Please note that the Question form is available in German language only.

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Newsletter for the logistics centre for the Konrad repository

The newsletter provides a summary of current issues relating to the planned logistics centre for the Konrad repository (LoK). As well as short reports on important planning steps, the newsletter also contains information about where to send queries. Four issues are planned per year. You can subscribe to the LoK newsletter on this page. The latest newsletter is available here.

Headquarters

BGZ Gesellschaft für Zwischenlagerung mbH
Frohnhauser Straße 67
45127 Essen, Germany

Phone +49 201 2796-0
Email info@bgz.de

Berlin Office

BGZ Gesellschaft für Zwischenlagerung mbH
Charlottenstraße 4
10969 Berlin-Kreuzberg, Germany

Phone +49 30 253 592 100
Email info@bgz.de

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