The BGZ research mission
The strategy for the responsible and safe disposal of spent nuclear fuel and other heat-generating radioactive waste is stipulated in the German government’s National Waste Management Programme. BGZ Gesellschaft für Zwischenlagerung mbH’s mandate in the national waste management strategy is derived from the Act on the Reorganisation of Responsibility in Nuclear Waste Management.
BGZ is a company organised in private legal form that is wholly owned by the Federal Government. BGZ was founded to ensure the reliable and safe operation of interim storage facilities for low, intermediate and high-level radioactive waste. Since 1 January 2019, the interim storage facilities for high-level radioactive waste have included not only the Ahaus and Gorleben interim fuel storage facilities but also the Biblis, Brokdorf, Grafenrheinfeld, Grohnde, Gundremmingen, Isar, Krümmel, Lingen, Neckarwestheim, Philippsburg and Unterweser sites . High-level radioactive waste is stored at interim storage facilities until it is transferred to a repository. The procedural periods for searching and selecting a site for a repository for high-level radioactive waste are established in the German Site Selection Act. The intended and approved interim storage period of up to 40 years will almost certainly not be long enough. It might take longer to commission a repository for the spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and other heat-generating radioactive waste and to clear the storage facilities. As shown in Figure 1, the time limits of the existing storage licences for interim storage facilities will expire between 20342 and 2047. As the operator and licence holder, BGZ is required to provide ongoing proof of where the dual-purpose casks remain as well as of compliance with the safety objectives for extended interim storage in accordance with the state of the art in science and technology.
The research programme developed here identifies the research that is required and provides an overview of the BGZ’s research strategy and activities. The research programme is constantly updated and adapted in line with the evolving state of the art in science and technology.
Figure 1 (on the left): Simplified representation of the time sequence from initial cask loading through to emplacement in a repository
Figure 1: Simplified representation of the time sequence from initial cask loading through to emplacement in a repository