Gorleben, in the state Lower Saxony, has been a hub of Germany’s anti-nuclear movement for decades. A movement which helped bring about the decision to phase out nuclear power altogether. The German decision to have the last nuclear power plant shut down by 2022 was a victory for those who say: “Atomkraft? Nein danke.” But the phase-out does not solve the problem that may haunt Germany much longer beyond that date. It is the question that Europe’s other nuclear nations also face: what to do with the nuclear waste? More than 40 years ago, the former salt mine in Gorleben was selected as the place to store nuclear waste permanently, without much dialogue with the locals. Gorleben, a municipality of around 600 souls, was near the West German border with what was then the communist German Democratic Republic (GDR). “Gorleben was not chosen because there were scientific reasons for saying this was the best option,” said Michael Mueller, chair of a recently appointed commission in charge of formulating criteria for finding a nuclear waste storage site. “It was chosen because at the time it was basically the poorest district in all of Germany. It was located close to the border with GDR, so not much opposition was expected.” But that was a grave miscalculation.
EU Observer 1st Feb 2016 read more »