The controversial exploration mine in Gorleben
The Federal Agency for Final Storage makes it exciting: For weeks, rumors have been circulating about possible areas for a German nuclear repository.
It is a very sensitive issue, so the report was kept top secret.
Only experts and the members of the National Monitoring Committee were able to see it - but had to sign a confidentiality agreement.
On Sunday evening, the BGE then informed the lead Federal Environment Ministry and the parliamentary group leaders in the Bundestag about the key points of the paper - but only orally.
Even the Ministry of the Environment did not have the report on the eve before it was published.
This is probably due to the explosive content of the report.
Many anti-nuclear activists had hoped that the controversial Gorleben interim storage facility in Lower Saxony would finally be excluded from the selection for a nuclear repository.
As SPIEGEL learned from parliamentary groups, Gorleben is not designated as a "sub-area" and is therefore completely out of the running.
But parts of Bavaria are now on the list for the first time - certainly to the annoyance of the Bavarian state government, which declared in its coalition agreement that Bavaria is not suitable for a repository.
Cities are also on the list.
"It was proceeded purely from a geological point of view, not a geographical one," said a person familiar with the report to SPIEGEL, adding: "There will be some citizens who will be surprised that their region will also be there."
The Federal Agency for Final Storage wants to present the interim report on Monday morning at 10 a.m. in Berlin.
The nuclear waste should be safely stored underground for up to a million years.
The agency worked on its interim report for three years.
To this end, 70 scientists have compiled geological data from all over Germany.
They proceeded on the principle of the "white map".
According to the Site Selection Act passed in 2017, any area that meets certain criteria was eligible.
In order to pacify the long-standing dispute over the Gorleben site, the nationwide repository exploration was set to zero.
This explains that large cities or parts of Bavaria are also on the sub-area list that have never played a role in the repository discussion.
According to the Location Search Act, the search should end with a decision for a location in 2031.
The announcement of the sub-areas is only the beginning of this long process.
In a second step, the authority then wants to continue screening.
To do this, she is supposed to propose locations from the "sub-areas" published on Monday for an over-day exploration.
The Bundestag and Bundesrat must agree to this list.
Then areas with a high population density are likely to disappear.
Many areas are therefore only provisionally on the repository list.
Only then can geologists begin to study the regions more closely.
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