Current projects in Ahaus

Retrofitting

In the light of more recent findings on potential interference by third parties, operators of all interim storage facilities in Germany are required to take measures to upgrade the security of their facilities. An additional protective wall is currently being constructed directly around the storage area in Ahaus. This structural work will have practically no impact on the outside appearance of the interim storage facility. Temporary measures will be taken to enhance the security of the facility against interference by third parties pending construction of the protective wall. Kerosene drains have also been integrated in the construction of the protective wall for the contingency of a crash of a passenger aircraft onto the TBL-A to ensure that all safety objectives are also securely met for future use.

Background information on retrofitting is available from the Federal Ministry for the Environment at: www.bmu.de (german version only)

AVR fuel elements in Jülich

As the license for the storage of the 152 CASTOR® THTR/AVR type casks in Jülich expired in mid 2013 and the responsible nuclear regulatory authority, the NRW (State of North Rhine Westphalia) Ministry of Economics, ordered the immediate removal of the AVR ball-shaped fuel elements from the Jülich interim storage facility in July 2014, the responsible operator, Jülicher Entsorgungsgesellschaft für Nuklearanlagen mbH (JEN), is exploring three options for their future whereabouts: transporting the fuel elements to the USA, building a new interim storage facility in Jülich and interim storage in Ahaus.

On 21 July 2016, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS, now BfE) granted the necessary license for placing the 152 casks from Jülich in interim storage in the TBL-A. However, as the necessary transport license has not yet been granted, the nuclear power-related legal requirements for transporting the AVR fuel elements to Ahaus have not yet all been met. It is still not known when the transport license can be expected to be granted. The actual decision concerning the future whereabouts of the AVR fuel elements will be taken by their owner, JEN, in close cooperation with the NRW Ministry of Economics.

More information can be found at: www.jen-juelich.de/projekte/avr-brennelemente/

Research reactor fuel elements

The TBL-A is envisaged as the storage facility for spent fuel elements originating from research reactors in German universities.

The licensing procedure for the interim storage of spent research reactor fuel elements from the “Forschungs-Neutronenquelle Heinz Maier-Leibnitz“ (FRM II) in CASTOR® Type MTR 3 casks has therefore been underway since late 2014. The transport of these casks to Ahaus is currently scheduled to begin in 2019. 
FRM II is a central scientific institution of the Technical University of Munich.
The work undertaken at the FRM II includes the manufacture of radiopharmaceutical products and the use of external beam radiation in fast neutron therapy for the treatment of cancerous tumours on the skin or near the surface of the body.

Background information about FRM II can be found at: www.frm2.tum.de

The operator of the BER II research reactor in Berlin, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB), informed BGZ in summer 2018 that it wishes to place spent fuel elements from the BER II in interim storage in Ahaus. As BER II will be decommissioned in 2019, the plan is for a total of three casks of fuel elements to be taken to Ahaus. The fuel elements will be transported and stored in CASTOR® MTR 3 casks. Storage in Ahaus is subject to authorisation by the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BfE). The HZB does not plan to transport fuel elements to Ahaus before 2023.

The HZB has a contractual option for the interim storage of its fuel elements in Ahaus. The corresponding application was submitted in compliance with the Atomic Energy Act in 1995. As it was foreseeable that the HZB would not initially make use of a license issued, the application was provisionally suspended until 2004.
BGZ is now honouring its contractual obligations to the HZB by resuming the license procedure with the BfE.

More information, including about the research reactor in Berlin, is available on the HZB website.

Return of reprocessed waste

Application was made in 2006 for the storage of compacted intermediate-level radioactive hulls and structural components of German fuel elements from reprocessing in France. The Federal Republic of Germany is bound under international law to take back all reprocessing waste from German fuel elements. This will entail storing 150 TGC-27 type casks with compacted intermediate-level radioactive hulls and structural components of German fuel elements in the TBL-A.