LLW and ILW originating from the operation of nuclear power plants, as well as from basic research, nuclear medicine and industrial applications in the former GDR was disposed of in the repurposed salt mine Bartensleben in Morsleben: the Morsleben Repository for Radioactive Wastes (Endlager fur radioaktive Abfalle Morsleben, ERAM) from 1971 until German reuni­fication (Fig. 14.5). The BfS became the licence holder upon reunification and DBE took over the operation of the facility as well as the task of designing any improvements and modifications through repository closure. After reunification, except for the period from 1991 to 1994 when emplace­ment operations were temporarily halted, disposal of low-level and medium — level radioactive waste with short-lived radionuclides continued until the Higher Administrative Court of Magdeburg issued an injunction on 25 September 1998 halting further disposal. On 12 April 2001, BfS committed to the permanent closure of the facility with no additional waste emplace­ment. During its period of operation from 1971 through 1998, a total of about 37,000 m3 of RAW, including about 6,621 spent sealed radiation sources, was disposed of in the facility (BfS, 2011g).

The licence application for permanent closure, including the closure plan and the associated environmental impact statement, was initially submitted to the licensing authority, the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment of Saxony-Anhalt (Ministerium fur Landwirtschaft und Umwelt Sachsen — Anhalt, MLU) on 13 September 2005. Revised documentation was resub­mitted for review to the MLU in January 2009. The MLU completed its


14.5 Surface facilities at the Morsleben repository. Source: Provided by the German Company for the Construction and Operation of Waste Repositories (DBE), Peine, Germany.

review in July 2009 and the documents were submitted for public comment from 21 October 2009 to 21 December 2009.

Pending completion of the closure licensing process, work is ongoing to stabilize non-repository portions of the former mine. Specifically, extensive former mining activities in the central portion of the salt body raised sig­nificant concerns regarding the long-term stability of the subsurface open­ings. To address these concerns, backfilling of 27 former mine chambers with saltcrete was initiated on 8 October 2003. These operations were completed in February 2011. A total of approximately 935,000 m3 of void volume have been filled in this manner. Final closure of the repository portions will com­mence after issuance of the closure licence (BfS, 2011h).

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