Nuclear waste: Billions in contract regulate transport back to Germany

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The French atomic group Orano has signed a contract with the major German energy companies for the return of the remaining nuclear waste, which Germany must take back from France. The agreement with PreussenElektra, RWE, ENBW and Vattenfall has a volume of over one billion euros, said Orano. It regulates the return of German nuclear waste, which is still in the La Hague reprocessing plant in northern France, by the end of 2024.

Between 1977 and 1991, German energy suppliers had concluded contracts with France for the processing of fuel elements. Of the 5,310 tons of processed radioactive material, 97 percent have already been sent back to Germany, explained Orano.

The treaty implements an agreement in principle between Germany and France that was reached in June after several years of negotiations. It was said that by 2024 three to five Castor containers with highly radioactive nuclear waste should be returned from La Hague to the Philippsburg interim storage facility (Karlsruhe district). This would mean that all nuclear waste that Germany has to take back from France would be transported back. In addition, 30 empty fuel element transport casks are brought to the Ahaus interim storage facility.

Originally, 157 containers with medium-level radioactive material were to be returned from La Hague. Five castor casks with medium-level radioactive waste were to be returned to the Philippsburg interim storage facility and 152 casks with medium-level metal residues from reprocessed fuel elements were to be returned to the Ahaus interim storage facility in North Rhine-Westphalia. However, this was not feasible due to “technical difficulties with the designated TGC27 container design”, and the transport would have been delayed until the 1940s.

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