Two years ago, the so-called Final Storage Commission appointed by the Bundestag made a new start on the search for a final storage site for highly radioactive waste material. 33 representatives in all from politics, society, and science were involved, among them the expert in technology assessment and head of the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis, Armin Grunwald.
Following the official handing over of the final report to the president of the German Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, on 5 July 2016, Grunwald positively sums up the intensive work of the commission: Despite one dissenting vote in the final vote, the commission completely fulfilled its mandate to forge a societal consensus on both a procedure and criteria for the search for a final storage for highly radioactive waste in Germany. "There are no obstacles left for the Bundestag to turn our recommendations into a law over the next months and officially start the search for a site."
As co-chairman of the work group "Societal and Technical-scientific Decision Criteria and Criteria for Error Corrections" Armin Grunwald was significantly involved in the process. His work group’s task was to envision the site selection procedure until the sealing of the final disposal mine, which means a period of approximately 100 years, and assess it based on plausibility considerations. One of the most important aspects was to determine the geoscientific planning criteria which navigate the whole process towards a site with the best possible safety standards.
Thinking nuclear energy "through to the end”
On the whole, the commission complied with one of the key objectives of technology assessment during its two years of work: "If we implement new technologies and release them into society, include them in products or services, we are obliged to think things through to the end. The commission did this subsequently for nuclear energy in Germany", Grunwald sums up.
This video interview with Armin Grunwald provides assessments of the commission’s work, of its final report, and of the next steps towards a final storage site.