Germany: TÜV finds rusted nuclear waste barrels


The nuclear power plant, which was shut down last year has an underground storage of approximately 500 barrels of low and intermediate levels of radioactive waste from the reactors. In order to move the waste to end-disposal point, Schacht Konrad repository in Lower Saxony, the material has to be transferred to cast iron containers. Amidst this process, TÜV North made the discovery of rusted barrels.

Minister of Justice, Equality and Integration Emil Schmalfuß has stopped the transfer operations for the moment. Schmalfuß emphasized that it is critical to check that no radioactive materials have been released and there is no danger to staff or to the residents of the area.

Nuclear waste has been stored in the underground storage in barrels since September 13, 1981, and there have been no reports of abnormalities reported thus far. During a routine control in January this year, TÜV proofers discovered severe corrosion in a barrel. Subsequently, the authorities have discovered more such barrels.

Schmalfuß has criticised the operator Vattenfall. He stated that Vattenfall should have gauged the significance of the situation and should have reported to the appropriate authorities on the status of the radioactive waste containing barrels. Vattenfall did admit in mid-December last year that there was damage to barrel hulls, but only reported it to the ministry in Kiel on January, 11, 2012. Vattenfall has admitted on its website that such a delay was indeed unacceptable.

Post-Fukushima, Germany has made plans to stop operations at older nuclear power plants, Vattenfall operated Brunsbüttel being one of them.

A piece of good news: The nuclear power plant in Mühleberg, Switzerland will only be active up to June 2013, after which it will be shut down. The Swiss authorities had made the decision to keep the plant running without a set deadline. An appeal by the residents in the region overturned this decision and the date has now been set to cease operations at the 40 year old plant.

Popular content

This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact:


Related content

Elsewhere on pv magazine...

Leave a Reply

Please be mindful of our community standards.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting this form you agree to pv magazine using your data for the purposes of publishing your comment.

Your personal data will only be disclosed or otherwise transmitted to third parties for the purposes of spam filtering or if this is necessary for technical maintenance of the website. Any other transfer to third parties will not take place unless this is justified on the basis of applicable data protection regulations or if pv magazine is legally obliged to do so.

You may revoke this consent at any time with effect for the future, in which case your personal data will be deleted immediately. Otherwise, your data will be deleted if pv magazine has processed your request or the purpose of data storage is fulfilled.

Further information on data privacy can be found in our Data Protection Policy.