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Interim storage facility North (near Lubmin)

The Interim Storage Facility North (ZLN) is a facility for the treatment and storage of all types of radioactive waste which is situated in the community of Rubenow in the rural district of Ostvorpommern (federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern). It is situated immediately by the premises of the decommissioned nuclear power plants Greifswald, Lubmin (formerly VEB Kombinat Kernkraftwerk Bruno Leuschner) and is operated by Zwischenlager Nord GmbH, a 100-per cent daughter of Entsorgungswerk für Nuklearanlagen GmbH. The latter is owned by the federation at 100 per cent (represented by the Federal Ministry of Finance) and is the largest federal holder of radioactive waste.

The interim storage facility was constructed between 1994 and 1997 for the emplacement of the radioactive waste produced in the process of dismantling the former GDR nuclear power plants Greifswald (Rubenow) and Rheinsberg. It consists of an eight-nave hall complex for the storage of radioactive waste, to which another part is attached containing treatment facilities for the conditioning of radioactive waste. Halls 1 to 7 serve to take up radioactive waste with negligible heat generation, hall 8 serves to take up nuclear fuels.

The Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Ministry of the Interior and Sports is the licensing and supervisory authority for halls 1 to 7 and the treatment facilities of the Interim Storage Facility North. The storage of nuclear fuels in hall 8 has been licensed by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) according to § 6 Atomic Energy Act. Since 30 July 2016, the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BfE) is the licensing authority according to § 6 Atomic Energy Act. It has taken over this task from the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) that had been responsible until then, the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Ministry of the Interior and Sports being the supervisory authority.

Storage of nuclear fuels in hall 8

The storage licence issued by the BfS on 5 November 1999 is effective until 31 October 2039. Originally it had only permitted the storage of nuclear fuels from the decommissioned GDR nuclear power plants Greifswald and Rheinsberg.

Later on, emplacement of waste produced in West Germany was applied for by the operator. With modification licences dated 24 February 2009 and 30 April 2010, the BfS permitted upon request of ZLN Zwischenlager Nord GmbH storage of HAW vitrified waste block canisters from the Karlsruhe reprocessing plant and fuel rods from the former Karlsruhe Research center as well as fuel rods of the "Otto Hahn" research ship.

As competent licensing authority, the BfE (until 29 July 2016 the BfS) has to grant a storage licence once an applicant complies with all licensing prerequisites stipulated in the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act (so-called “bound administrative measure”), one test criterion being the safety of storage but not the origin of the stored materials.

Federal custody of nuclear fuels

A small space in hall 8 of the Interim Storage Facility North is reserved for the federal custody of nuclear fuels. Since 30 July 2016, this is among the tasks of the BfE.

As a precautionary measure, three cask storage spaces were rented in the Interim Storage Facility North for this purpose, which are currently not used, however. There are no concrete plans to emplace nuclear fuels.

Occupancy

Storage facility occupancy

Currently, altogether 74 CASTOR® casks containing nuclear fuels were stored in hall 8 of the Interim Storage Facility North:

  • 9 casks containing fuel elements of the Greifswald nuclear power plant (KKW)
  • 6 casks containing fuel elements of the Rheinsberg NPP
  • 4 casks containing fuel rods from Karlsruhe and the “Otto Hahn” research ship
  • 5 casks from the Karlsruhe reprocessing plant
  • Further storage is not planned.

Storage licences

Granted storage licences (licences in German only)

With the first licence granted, the BfS gave its approval to Energiewerke Nord GmbH and ZLN Zwischenlager Nord GmbH to store nuclear fuels in the form of spent fuel elements and fuel parts of the control rod as well as other radioactive materials such as operational waste.

The 1st modification licence permits the storage in hall 8 of the Interim Storage Facility North of one transport and storage cask of the CASTOR® 84/440 mvK type along with other nuclear fuels (special fuel elements) to be disposed of in the scope of the decommissioning and dismantling of the Rheinsberg NPP and other radioactive materials as well as additional six transport and storage casks of the CASTOR® 84/8 type that had already been loaded in the KKR and the KGR before the storage licence was granted.

With the granted 2nd modification licence the procedure to dry the casks has been modified.

3. Modification licence to the storage licence dated 5 November 1999 for the transport storage casks of the Interim Storage Facility North in Rubenow dated 19 December 2005

The 3rd modification licence dated 19 December 2005 concerns the federal custody in hall 8 of the Interim Storage Facility North. Federal custody having concluded, the licence was returned with letter of 8 November 2008 by Energiewerke Nord GmbH. This licence has thus expired.

The 4th modification licence permits supplemented inventory in transport and storage casks of the CASTOR® 440/84 type, nuclear fuels in three transport and storage casks of the CASTOR® KRB-MOX type and storage of 10 empty transport and storage casks with contaminated interiors.

The 5th modification licence permits modifications and supplements to the plant security.

The 6th modification licence also permits storage in hall 8 of the Interim Storage Facility North of nuclear fuels in the form of HAW vitrified waste block canisters from the Karlsruhe reprocessing plant, so-called VEK waste block canisters, in five transport and storage casks of the CASTOR® HAW 20/28 CG SN 6 type. The 6th modification licence includes clarification that one does without the 3rd modification licence.

The modification licence permits the storage in hall 8 of the Interim Storage Facility North of spent and fresh nuclear fuels from the compact, sodium-cooled reactor (KNK) as well as spent and fresh nuclear fuels from the operation of the research ship “Otto Hahn” in 4 transport and storage casks of the CASTOR® KNK.

Licensing procedures

Current licensing procedures

Extension of structural protection of the transport cask storage facility of the Interim Storage Facility North

With letter dated 30 June 2011 Energiewerke Nord GmbH applied for the extension of the structural protection of the transport cask storage facility of the Interim Storage Facility North from disruptive acts or other interference by third parties (SEWD). The retrofitting measures serve to optimise the security measures. Apart from a nuclear licence granted by the BfE, the implementation of the measures also requires building approval by the rural district of Vorpommern-Greifswald.

In such a licensing procedure, the subject-matter has to be examined according to the state of the art of science and technology. Furthermore, it must be determined whether an environmental impact assessment including a public participation procedure is required for the proposed modification. With letter of 20 July 2015, Energiewerke Nord GmbH withdrew its application for the chosen variant, however. The further planning for the project is with the operator EWN. The BfE has no further information on this issue.

State of 2016.09.20

© Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management