Morsleben (Germany)

Map of Morsleben

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Low and Intermediate Level Waste dump in a former mine, located in eastern Germany.

Facilities in Morsleben

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The German Government invests 100 million Euro into safety measures at Morsleben. The central part of the repository where no waste is stored will be filled so that the danger of a cave-in can be banned.


The Superior Administrative Court of Magdeburg November 16 ruled that the German Atomic Act does not give Saxony-Anhalt the right to suspend or nullify the Morsleben facility operating permit.
Morsleben, formerly a salt mine, was licensed by the GDR in the early 1980s to take LLW/MLW from research institutions and from PWRs then operating at Rheinsberg and Greifswald. It holds about 20.000 metric tons of LLW/IWL, and is planned for disposal of waste from operating West German reactors as well as scrap from the East German PWRs, all now shut and undergoing decommissioning. After this decade, BMU plans to seek a new license to continue to put LLW/ILW into the facility.
Heidecke based her objections to Morsleben operation in part upon what she termed unresolved radiation health questions surrounding the current practice, licensed by the GDR, of dumping liquid LLW into underground pits. Liquid waste dumping is not planned for a second LLW/ILW disposal facility, the former Konrad iron mine in West German territory, which is still being licensed. According to BMU, there are no grounds for raising health physics issues at Morsleben, but intervenors charge that the dumping of liquid waste would never be allowed in a West German facility.
In 1992, the Supreme Administrative Court in Berlin ruled that BMU had acted within the law in proclaiming Morsleben´s East German operating permit valid in united Germany until 2000.


Confrontation about MLW dumping which Saxony-Anhalt's Ministry of Environment wants to stop in August 1995 because : "it isn't logical that the license calls for LLW to be carefully packed in drums while MLW is simply allowed to be dumped.
MLW including liquids from reactor coolant is allowed to be dumped uncontained into the cavern. The failure to bind the liquid waste ( e.g. to fly ash waste from lignite fired plants) already resulted in MLW trickling through 3 floor levels of the repository.


Saxony-Anhalt claimed to halt operation of the LLW/MLW repository because liquids are leaching into the salt mine that houses the repository.. Saxony-Anhalt cannot force BMU to halt repository use unless an evidence of "acute danger", ( i.e. leakage comes in touch with ground water). federal gevernment plans to operate Morsleben until 2000 , when its license granted by GDR will expire.
Until this license expires Morsleben is supposed to accept 40 000 m³. of LLW.