The logistics centre for the Konrad repository

Our Task

Construction and planning of a logistics centre

The Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) has commissioned BGZ to plan and construct the logistics centre for the Konrad repository (LoK). Based on the search process carried out by BGZ since 2018, BGZ recommends that the area in Würgassen should be selected for further site-specific planning and investigations. Low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste (LAW/MAW) will be brought here and assembled in batches for final disposal.

The Federal Government is responsible for the final disposal of radioactive waste in Germany. The safest solution for the disposal of all types of radioactive waste is final disposal in deep underground rock strata. The federally owned BGZ Gesellschaft für Zwischenlagerung mbH is responsible for storing this waste under the Waste Management Transfer Act (EntsorgÜG) until final disposal.

Radioactive waste can be divided into heat-generating high-level waste (HAW) and low- and intermediate-level waste with no or negligible heat generation (LAW/MAW).

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 decommissioned Schacht Konrad iron ore mine in Lower Saxony is currently being developed into a repository for 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 defined batches.

The operating site of the Konrad repository is far too small to keep large quantities of waste in stock, however. The waste must therefore be delivered “just-in-time”. It is more difficult to deliver the right waste compositions at exactly the right time from decentralised interim storage facilities. These are often filled according to the so-called “last in – first out principle”. In the LoK, on the other hand, the batches can be put together as they are needed for emplacement.

The legal basis for the construction of the 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. This task was assigned to BGZ by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

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.”

“A new departure for Europe. A new dynamic for Germany. A new cohesion for our country.”

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

The concept

The concept of the logistics centre for the Konrad repository

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.

A large part of the premises consists of a reinforced concrete hall as well as separate incoming and outgoing transport areas with rail and road connections.

The reinforced concrete hall is divided into several bays, two loading areas and a separate processing area. The storage capacity of the halls will be designed for up to 60,000 cubic metres. An operations building and weather protection hall in which transport equipment is stored will be built as an extension to the warehouse building. The operations building will house technical facilities, such as power supply and ventilation systems.

Waste will be delivered and taken away again in completely separate areas. To this end, separate areas with rail/road connections and crane facilities are planned. Plans also provide for a workshop, a locomotive shed, a storage hall for vehicles, an office building with archives, rainwater collection basins, parking areas for lorries and cars, and a guard building with security gates for vehicles. The site will be surrounded by a fence.

The LoK will start operating when the Konrad repository is completed in 2027. The facility will only be needed until the emplacement operation in the Konrad repository is completed. The LoK can subsequently be used for other (non-nuclear), e.g. commercial, purposes, or will be completely dismantled by BGZ.

In a nutshell

  • Logistics centre for the Konrad repository with a storage capacity of up to 60,000 cubic metres
  • The LoK will 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

Schematic representation of the logistics centre for the Konrad repository
Schematic illustration of workflows

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 stored permanently without danger to people or the environment.

2. The LoK will ultimately allow 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 (final storage conditions for the Konrad Shaft).
Emplacement batches for the Konrad repository cannot be compiled at the interim storage sites, or only over a long period of time and with huge logistical effort, because in many cases the packaged waste is not directly accessible at these sites. However, each interim storage facility can deliver its waste destined for final disposal directly to the LoK without any restrictions.

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.

Brief explanation: The logistics centre for the Konrad repository

From 2027 onwards, 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.

Site recommendation

Why does BGZ recommend Würgassen as a suitable site?

The Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) commissioned BGZ to plan and construct the logistics centre for the Konrad repository (LoK). Following 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 BMU 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 BMU’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 of the statement is available on the ESK website here.

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.

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 Würgassen to the BMU as the preferred site for the LoK. The fact that the site had previously been used for a nuclear power plant and that it is currently being used with two interim storage facilities for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste offers a number of infrastructure and development advantages. It is therefore reasonable to assume that it will be possible to establish the LoK at this site much faster.

The BMU submitted the BGZ’s recommendation to expert review by the Öko-Institut, which confirmed the result:

“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

A journey into the future. A film has been made for BGZ that shows an aerial view of the planned logistics centre in Würgassen. The realistic depiction is based on current plans and shows how the building complex could fit into the landscape in 2027. A deliberate decision was made not to present an embellished impression by using a green roof, for example.

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.

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 may be able to begin on the LoK in the course of 2023.
  • Commissioning of the logistics centre for the Konrad repository is scheduled for early 2027
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 according to 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 report produced by the Öko-Institut..

BGZ is still in an early planning phase for the LoK. The site is currently being studied in detail by BGZ. Now the site has been determined and published, concrete planning steps must be taken to study and clarify how the logistics centre can be built on the site. As with any other large construction site in Germany, the question at the beginning was whether World War II munitions might be found in the soil. This question has since been clarified and, after an analysis of the aerial photographs by the Arnsberg district government, it appears unlikely that any surprises from that period will materialise. The condition of the building ground was then examined in detail. A soil surveyor probed the geology in the process to provide information for further planning, such as for the foundations of the logistics centre hall and the ancillary buildings.

The expert report is available here.

It will take around two years before BGZ’s studies and licensing planning for the Würgassen site are completed. BGZ will submit the applications for the handling permit under the Radiation Protection Act to the Detmold district government and the building application to the district of Höxter in the second half of 2021 at the earliest. By law the public will also be involved during these licensing procedures. This means that citizens whose interests are affected can raise objections to the project.

BGZ plans to start construction of the LoK in the course of 2023. The commissioning of the logistics centre for the Konrad repository is planned for early 2027.

“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.

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 303,000 cubic metres will be stored 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 less than 20 lorry transports per day. These figures include empty runs. 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

Road transport cannot be ruled out as a means of transport from the existing interim storage facilities to the logistics centre. This is because some interim storage facilities in Germany do not have a direct rail connection.

Waste containers will be transported by regular lorry with semi-trailers using public roads. According to the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations (StVZO), such transport vehicles weighing up to a total of 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.

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. The trains used will be made up of up to seven 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.

These deliveries are made using the Deutsche Bahn or private rail networks. Deutsche Bahn has confirmed that the route is basically suitable for freight transport as well as the estimated maximum number of 10 train journeys per day to and from the logistics centre (including empty runs).

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 every day in Germany: Around 500,000 such consignments are transported 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 storage of up to 303,000 cubic metres 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.

History of the Konrad Shaft

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.

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 Covid-19 pandemic. The event was subsequently held in Beverungen town hall on 22 September 2020.

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.

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

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 an insight into its function. A 3D visualisation also shows how the logistics centre will be embedded in its surroundings.

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

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.

A journey into the future. A film has been made for BGZ that shows an aerial view of the planned logistics centre in Würgassen. The realistic depiction is based on current plans and shows how the building complex could fit into the landscape in 2027. A deliberate decision was made not to present an embellished impression by using a green roof, for example. 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.

Brief explanation: The logistics centre for the Konrad repository

Why is a logistics centre needed for the Konrad repository?

From 2027 onwards, 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 storage of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste in the Konrad repository is scheduled to begin in 2027. 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 from 2027. 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

Please note that the following publications are available in German language only.

Further documents

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
Response by the Detmold District Government to the objection lodged by BGZ

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 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.

The logistics centre will ensure the continuous final storage of nuclear waste in the Konrad repository. The reason for this is that the containers filled with different types of nuclear waste in the decentralised interim storage facilities cannot be sorted as needed for the Konrad repository due to a lack of space. This means that, without a logistics centre, emplacement operations would be interrupted in the repository. The LoK eliminates this logistical problem. The waste containers can be assembled in precisely fitting batches in the facility and delivered just in time to meet the requirements of the repository. In this way, the logistics centre optimises and speeds up the entire emplacement operation at the Konrad repository. Radioactive waste can therefore be stored more quickly and all-round safety improved.
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 interim storage until they are taken away. However, a further technical check may need to be performed on a small number of waste containers before they are taken to the Konrad repository. This may mean releasing pressure and liquids and checking the sealing system. This is done in special rooms operated under negative pressure. The air is extracted from these rooms and filtered. After filtering, emissions of radioactive particles from the facility are so low that, under the Radiation Protection Ordinance, no measurements of the room air need to be made and emissions are well below the legal limits. Nevertheless, BGZ will continue taking measurements indefinitely and will publish its findings on the Internet.
No. The level of radioactivity will not rise above the naturally existing background radiation in Würgassen and the surrounding area.

BGZ has built up experience in protecting its interim storage facilities over a period of many years. This experience and a comprehensive security concept tailored to the logistics centre (LoK), which must be approved by the relevant authorities, ensure that the facility is securely protected. Details cannot be disclosed publicly for security reasons.

As with all other interim storage facilities for low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste, there is no need to secure the facility specifically against aircraft crashes. The licensing procedures for all facilities of a similar type that have been licensed to date have shown that no “drastic measures” (such as evacuations) would be required even in the event of such an extremely unlikely event. The waste is stored in containers made of steel and/or concrete.

At present the heart of the logistics centre is planned to be a hall made of reinforced concrete with two separate areas for delivery and dispatch. These areas will be monitored for radioactive radiation. Waste containers will be transported by overhead cranes. There will be small processing areas in which containers can be inspected and opened if necessary, as well as several storage areas. 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 medical, research and commercial sectors. 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 warehouses.

The waste is in special containers that are then brought to the logistics centre in transport containers. The waste will as a rule be transported by freight trains. However, it is not possible to avoid entirely transporting some waste by lorry. BGZ experts anticipate fewer than 20 journeys being made to and from the logistics centre by lorry and fewer than ten by train per day. This figure includes empty runs. Almost all the waste delivered from the logistics centre to the Konrad repository will be transported on freight trains.

The transport of low- and intermediate-level radioactive materials and the safety issues involved are regulated by law. Waste is transported in these ways every day in Germany: Around 500,000 such consignments are made throughout Germany every year.

As a rule, the logistics centre will only work with containers in which the nuclear waste for the Konrad repository has already been sealed. However, a small number of these containers will need to be opened temporarily, such as to release pressure and liquids or to check the sealing system. Special processing areas within the storage building will exist for this purpose. They will have closed rooms operated under negative pressure. The air is extracted from these rooms and filtered. After filtering, emissions of radioactive particles from the facility are so low that, under the Radiation Protection Ordinance, no measurements of the room air need to be made and emissions are well below the legal limits. Nevertheless, BGZ will continue taking measurements indefinitely and will publish its findings on the Internet.

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

The facility will start operating when emplacement operations begin at the Konrad repository in 2027.

The facility will be needed until completion of the emplacement of low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste 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 connection 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 simply 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. 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 Officer
Konrad Logistics Centre

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

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