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Nuclear storage stress tests

June 7, 2012

As part of Germany's investigation into the safety of its nuclear facilities following last year's disaster at Fukushima in Japan, the country's waste storage facilities have gone under the microscope.

Nuclear waste storage containers
Image: GNS Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Service mbH

Stress tests for Germany's atomic waste containment facilities got underway on Thursday as part of planned checks to ensure the sites are safe against catastrophic scenarios such as earthquakes, plane crashes, or floods.

At the end of May, Germany's disposal commission (ESK) issued a catalogue of 39 questions to the German states with radioactive waste storage facilities. This includes sites in Gorleben, Ahaus, Jülich and Lubmin.

The states have until August 17 to return the questionnaire to the environment ministry. Originally, the tests of radioactive storage sites were meant to be conducted at the same time as similar tests of Germany's nuclear power facilities, which were completed last year.

The delays drew criticism, and Green party parliamentarian Sylvia Kotting-Uhl said the stress tests must be followed by concrete action, which she claimed was not the case for the nuclear plants themselves. She did, however, praise the 39 questions that make up the stress test.

Regardless of the results of the stress tests, all nuclear storage facilities in Germany are set to have a wall built around them as an extra security measure against possible terror attacks.

mz/msh (dpa, dapd)