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Truckloads of seismic data relevant to nuclear waste dumping destroyed in Germany

by : Diet Simon
Monday August 20, 2007 - 11:57

By Diet Simon

Anti-nuclear activists fighting waste dumping in north Germany claim to have information from inside the industry that “truckloads” of safety-relevant information have been destroyed.

The group opposes the ‘interim’ storage of highly radioactive waste in a light-construction hall and the later ‘final’ storage in a specially dug salt mine next door at the village of Gorleben, between Hanover and Hamburg.

The media spokesman of the Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow Dannenberg (BI), Francis Althoff, writes in a release that they’ve had information leaked to them “that safety-relevant measurement data on the expansion of the nuclear waste repository planned in Gorleben was taken away by the truckload and destroyed”. Some of it hadn’t even been processed, he writes.

"According to the source in the atomic industry, many original measurement data and documents on the Gorleben underground were destroyed, all that appears to be left are unprovable final reports,” Althoff writes.

“After this latest scandal Gorleben is finished once and for all. This makes it impossible for the operators to provide even the hint of a provable security certification for final storage in Gorleben.”

Althoff explains the background as follows:

For many years the formerly federal government owned Hanover based firm Prakla-Seismos was responsible for seismological measurements of the Gorleben salt dome.

For years Prakla-Seismos carried out high-frequency electromagnetic measurements of drilling holes for the forerunner of the present Federal Agency for Radiation Protection (BfS) and continued doing this when the BfS was formed.

After Prakla-Seismos was sold and disbanded, the sources said ‘truckloads full’ of the measurement data were taken away and destroyed.

Although it was asked, the BfS, which had ordered it, apparently didn’t want to keep the important material.

“For a licence procedure for Gorleben these seismic data are extremely relevant to any safety certification,” writes Althoff.

“The summaries that are all that’s left now are unusable because they’re no longer verifiable.

"There’s apparently no end to the sloppiness in the nuclear field, not even in an authority whose name says it’s supposed to protect us from radiation.”

In a letter to the agency and the federal environment ministry the Gorleben opponents have demanded access to the documentation that remains.

"For decades geologists have warned against operating Gorleben as a final repository. In this connection we’re asking ourselves why masses of data were destroyed.

“Gorleben has to be given up immediately and no more money must be invested in this chaos.” (Francis Althoff can be contacted at landline #49 5843 986789, mobile #49 170 9394684, presse@bi-luechow-dannenberg.de, the group office at büro@bi-luechow-dannenberg.de.)

The police-state methods needed to transport waste to Gorleben have been captured on a DVD available at http://www.cinerebelde.org/site.php....

The Gorleben disclosures came as the Swedish-owned electricity company, Vattenfall, idled a second nuclear power plant in Germany on government orders amid an ongoing row about nuclear power.

The plant at Brunsbüttel, west of Hamburg, had been in a "standby" state since the middle of this month for a change of oil at its transformer, but must now be powered down so government inspectors can take a closer look.

Inspectors say they will check reports that a sub-standard type of fastening was used to bolt a gantry to a wall near the reactor.

Vattenfall’s Krümmel plant east of the city has been offline for repairs since its transformer oil caught fire on June 28 and sub-standard fastenings were subsequently found there, too.

The German environment protection group Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) has claimed that the Brunsbüttel nuke at the North Sea mouth of the Elbe River “is recognisably worse prepared for critical mishap situations than the one in Forsmark”. Forsmark, 140 kms from Stockholm, nearly went into meltdown in July 2006 because of an electric power failure.

Vattenfall has taken a lashing from the media and is at odds with the inspectorate. The Swedish company insists are no grave safety risks at the two plants, which both failed on June 28 because of non-nuclear defects.

During the week, Vattenfall sacked senior executives at its German unit for not being frank enough to the media.

Social Democrats in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government have called for a speeding up of plans to close down all 17 nuclear power stations in Germany by 2021, with older plants scrapped sooner.

By contrast, centre-right leaders called for a modest extension past 2021 to curb carbon-dioxide emissions.

That was topped on Saturday by Günther Beckstein, the Christian Social Union’s choice as next premier of Bavaria state, who said the legislation must be changed to allow nuclear power for several more decades.

Meanwhile a leading British think tank, the Oxford Research Group, says in a study that a worldwide nuclear renaissance is beyond the capacity of the nuclear industry to deliver and would stretch to breaking point the capacity of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor and safeguard civil nuclear power.

The ORG is an independent non-governmental organisation and registered charity, which works together with others to promote a more sustainable approach to security for the UK and the world.

In the report “Too Hot to Handle? The Future of Civil Nuclear Power”, the authors Frank Barnaby and James Kemp analyse how many nuclear plants would need to be built to significantly reduce global CO2 emissions, and the security consequences of that.

Apart from the inability to deliver, they argue that a nuclear renaissance would increase the risk of nuclear terrorism. The briefing paper is one of a series of reports and factsheets published as part of ORG’s Secure energy project:
 http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org....

Other ORG publications:

Secure Energy? Civil Nuclear Power, Security and Global Warming
 http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org....

Energy Security and Uranium Reserves
 http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org....

The Risk of Nuclear Terrorism in the UK
 http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org....

Effective Safeguards?
 http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org....

Security and Nuclear Power
 http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org....



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