The State Government of Lower Saxony in West Germany turned down plans on Wednesday (16 May) to built the world's biggest commercial nuclear reprocessing plant.
The State Government of Lower Saxony in West Germany turned down plans on Wednesday (16 May) to built the world's biggest commercial nuclear reprocessing plant. State Premier Ernst Albrecht told the members of the State Parliament that his Government is withdrawing its approval of the six-billion dollar project which was to be built in Gorleben near the border with East Germany.
SYNOPSIS: Gorleben has become the focal point of West Germany's loud and sometimes violent anti-nuclear lobby. Now Premier Albrecht has sided with opponents of nuclear power.
The Federal Government wants to keep to its energy policy, but now Premier Albrecht's decision could make it harder to authorise additional nuclear power plants, because permits are issued only if provision has been made for dealing with nuclear waste.
At Gorleben some waste would be stored in disused underground salt mines, and the rest recycled.
But reprocessing nuclear waste produces plutonium, a key ingredient of atomic bombs, and Premier Albrecht fears the theft of this plutonium for terrorist purposes.
Premier Albrecht is not the only one with fears...these farmers gathered on the site believe that if anything goes wrong at Gorleben, the recycling plant would become the centre of a vast central European nuclear desert. They want all the plans scrapped.
Premier Albrecht is reported to have avoided taking alone the full political responsibility for the controversial project. Then last month the Lower Saxony Social Democratic Party gave him backing for opposing it. Wednesday's (16 May) session of the Federal cabinet called Albrecht's decision "regretful" and the Federal Government said it will try to compromise with him at next month's State Premiers conference.