Hanau (Germany)

Map of Hanau

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Fuel Fabrication, closed;
In December 2001 construction of a storage hall for waste from decommissioning of the former factory has begun, for the purpose of storing low level radioactive operational waste and debris, which remains from the dismantling of the production plant. The permission for the construction of the interim storage facilities was given by the City of Hanau in November.

Facilities in Hanau

plantreactor typconstruction startoperation startshut down
Hanaufuel fabrication

Siemens has resumed plutonium transports from Hanau to La Hague at the end of July. The MOX-fuel elements are transported on trucks. Greenpeace Germany believes these transports to be illegal because Cogema at La Hague has no license for repeocessing Mox-elements.


The German Government wants to export the plutonium factory Hanau and the reactor core of the fast breeder in Kalkau to China. The Green party of Germany fears that the exported nuclear technology will be used for military operations.


From October Siemens wants to accommodate first containers with radioactive wastes in temporary storage facilities on the Hanauer atomic area, which result from the demolition of the fuel element factories. The BUND (a german environmental organization) protested against the radiation protection permission, which the country now granted to the Nuclear cargo service (NCS), because it has insufficient precautions against aircraft crashes.
Most building parts of the former uranium fuel element factory have been torn off since summer 2001. Most of the building debris will be recycled conventionally.

Siemens wants to have cleared the contaminated parts of the uranium factory including the base plate until September 2003. The uranium contaminated soil will be excavated two to three meters in the remaining time. Siemens expects altogether approximately nine tons of uranium, which are to be stored temporarily and later permanently..

Besides approximately 120 kilograms plutonium from the earlier MOX fuel element factory are to be concreted in barrels- with an inventory of 120 kilograms plutonium alltogether, which is to be disposed ultimatly. Each barrel seizes 200 litres, with hard plastic against corrosion and mechanical load protected containers can load 15 barrels. NCS is to store 1000 to 1200 containers.
Until 2005 Siemens wants to have its Site clean in order to changing it to the "technology park Hanau" with various companies, to be used completely conventionally. That also contents the further usable uranium store and a combined heating and power station.
Siemens estimates the dismantling costs at approximately 700 million euro.
After more than 20 years production Siemens finally stopped 1995 - at times of a red-green hessian federal state government - the building of fuel elements in Hanau. The plutonium manufacturing was resting at this time already for four years because of security doubts. The remainders were processed until 2001. An expensive new building for 700 million euro was never built and its machinery is sold. The use of the building with up to two meters thick concrete walls is uncertain. That applies also to the plutonium bunker under sovereignty of the federation, bordering to the Siemens buildings. Here are still stored 1.8 tons plutonium and 3.6 tons uranium.
The energy company RWE is to supply this fuel for atomic power plants as an owner until at the latest 2008.
Compared with the thick walls of the new plutonium factory those of the NCS storage hall are only 30 centimeters thick. For the BUND this is reason enough to protest again against the radiation protection permission for NCS, which take place now. The atomic opponents are afraid of an aircraft crash and refer to 700 overflights/flyovers daily. The BBU and other anti-atomic's groups had raised unsuccessfully objection against the building of the temporary storage facilities.


60 kilograms plutonium should have been transported yesterday from the shut down fuel element factory to the reprocessing plant La Hague in France. Ten of 18 necessary transports from Hanau arrived so far in La Hague. The environmental protection organization Greenpeace describes the transport as illegal, because the operator company of La Hague had a permission for delivery and storage, but not for the reprocessing of the mixed oxide fuel elements. In France however the import of radioactive waste to other purposes than for processing is forbidden since 1992. On a complaint of environmental's groups in the autumn the French law will presumably decide, whether the Cogema may import radioactive waste, for which it has no permission for the processing.


In the closed fuel factory a leak of plutonium-nitrate was discovered. Part of the 2,4 t plutonium is stored innliquid form in plastic-ranks. The incident showes that this type of package cannot be used for long-term storage.


German utilities have made a decision to abandon support for the US$ 790 million plutonium fuel infrastructure built by Siemens AG (the plant is about 95% complete).
Siemens took over the Alkem GmbH plutonium operation in Hanau in 1989.
Terminating utility support will put an end to 3 decades of plutonium fuel activities at Hanau, since the federal government has made clear it will not directly subsidize the industry's plutonium program.
German utilites have made plans to manufacture MOX in France & Britain.
Siems pilot plant at Hanau was shut by the Hesse government after a contamination accident in 1991.Its MOX fabrication capacity was replaced by contracts with Cogema & BNFL.