What you need to know about atomic waste “disposal”

Ok, I recently read a short but striking article dealing with radioactive waste. Not so easy to digest. But I feel like I need to spread the word because many people (as I did) just don’t know what I am going to tell you.

After the catastrophe 2011 in Fukushima Germany decided to exit nuclear energy. But still, there are 8 nuclear power plants working, most of them until 2022. Even though it is relieving that some of the power plants were shut down, they still remain a source of great danger. Jochen Stay from  ausgestrahlt e.V. knows why:

Not only is the demolition of these buildings a billion dollar project, 17000 tons of radioactive waste need to be stored somewhere safe – because they remain dangerous for over 1 million years (yes, cancer for example) … and we all know there is nowhere safe for atomic waste.

Atomic waste is divided into categories. The one ranging from slightly radioactive to moderate radioactive waste makes up to 600000 cubic meters (107 soccer fields full of barrel-stored waste).

If there wasn’t a loop-hole in the law this number would be a great deal bigger. But operators of nuclear power plants use this method to reduce their amount of atomic waste (at least on the paper). According to the Radiation Protection Ordinance atomic waste with radioactivity under a certain threshold can be treated like conventional waste. This means the atomic waste ends up in the waste incineration, resource recycling or can even be placed on consumer waste dumps. And then, the slightly but still radioactive waste can end up in scrap metal recycling and therefore being used for dental braces, glasses frames and fry pans. It ends up in or on your body!

For example in France, atomic waste regardless of the amount of  radioactivity is stored in one place where it also is guarded.

But in Germany, these operators can save a great deal of money by reducing their waste like this. They do not even need to be completely and solely responsible for the expenses of power plant demolition! A percentage of the expenses are being paid by us, the population.

And the Federal Environment Ministry knows this and states: we have to take economic calculations into consideration when deciding upon precaution values, for example the expenses for ultimate disposal place removal.

So there definitely needs to be a safer regulation for the population and elimination of the lobby/pressure group for atomic energy!

Spread the word to make people aware and governments act! I am sure the regulations aren’t safer in the US or anywhere else. I’d recommend to educate yourself on how this is dealt with in your country and I would love to see what you’ve found out in the comments.

My source was: eve magazine 06/2016


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