Partitioning and Transmutation of Nuclear Waste – Opportunities and Risks in Research and Application
When the German Federal Government in June 2011 announced the Energiewende, it simultaneously proclaimed the end of the use of nuclear power for electricity production. No German nuclear power plant is to produce electricity after 2022. However, the problem of the final storage of radioactive waste has not yet been solved conclusively. In particular, there is at present no repository for heat-generating high-level waste.
The long-term safety of a repository is determined not only by the type and amount of waste, but also by the length of time for which the waste must be stored safely. One way of reducing the long-term hazard potential of heat-generating waste could be Partitioning and Transmutation (P&T), a technology currently under research and development.
An interdisciplinary research project was designed to study the technical and societal opportunities and risks of P&T in the light of various scenarios. The supreme objective was to work out a factual, balanced basis on which to decide Germany’s future position in matters of P&T research. This acatech POSITION PAPER contains recommendations about the future management of P&T addressed to players in politics, industry, and science.