Spectrum | 19.08.2008 | 04:30
Problems at Germany's Asse II Nuclear Waste Repository
A former salt mine in the German state of Lower Saxony is giving authorities and local residents cause for alarm.
In 1965 the Asse-II mine was turned into a temporary storage and research facility for nuclear waste. As the development of nuclear energy boomed, the 1000-metre-deep mine became a permanent disposal site for nuclear material. Between 1967 to 1978, hundreds of thousands of barrels of radioactive waste were disposed in the mine and remain there today. In June this year, news broke that brine, known to be leaking from the mine since 1988, is radioactive – at some eight times above safe levels. As Leah McDonnell reports, poor maintenance also means the mine is unstable and in danger of collapsing.