Alexandra Prokopenko at Atom Watch has been keeping a close eye on the question Where Should Germany Store Its Nuclear Waste? This question has been gaining increasing importance in recent weeks because Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats announced desire to reopen the decision to prematurely shut down existing nuclear plants and to even consider the possibility that Germany might build some new plants in the future.
Just as that conversation appeared to be making some serious headway in the face of increasing concerns about greenhouse gas emissions, energy security and energy prices, there have been a series of highly publicized reports that a low level waste storage area in a deep salt mine has been “leaking”. Alexandra republished a report a report from the mainstream press titled The Most Problematic Nuclear Facility in Europe that originally appeared on Spiegel.de.
I have not yet been able to determine just how bad the “leakage” is and whether it is a human health concern. What I do know is that there is a very large, powerful, and not terribly democratic nation to the east of Germany that really, really wants to sell them more natural gas. For Russia, that large neighbor, the important energy security consideration is “security of demand” not the supply security that concerns most of us.
It is easy for a nation full of chess players and skilled propagandists to figure out that supporting efforts to instilling fear, uncertainty and doubt about the principle alternative to natural gas for heating and electricity supply is an investment with a high potential return on investment. The challenge for the rest of us is to recognize that we need to base our decisions on real facts, clearly understood risks, and a long term, strategic view of the world and its power bases.