All facilities necessary to close the nuclear fuel cycle have been realized in Germany. Today, only a few of them are in operation, several are shut down and being decommissioned or did not receive an operation license. According to the new energy policy and the respective amendment of the Atomic Energy Act, the waste management of nuclear power plants comprises· transport of spent fuel for reprocessing only until June 30, 2005 at the latest and utilisation of recovered nuclear fuel
· from July 1, 2005, use of the local interim storage facilities for spent fuel until a final repository will be commissioned
· interim storage of spent fuel at central (external) interim storage facilities and, as soon as possible, at local interim storage facilities; and
· conditioning and interim storage of radioactive waste from operation and decommissioning of the nuclear power plants until a final repository will be commissioned.
At Gronau, the enrichment plant of URENCO expanded from a capacity of originally 400 SWU/year to 1 400 SWU/year within the last years and it is intended to increase the capacity further to 4 500 SWU/year.
At Lingen, the fuel fabrication facility ANF is in operation and produces uranium fuel elements for LWRs. In 2002, the increase of the throughput capacity up to 500 t Uranium per year was licensed.
Three central interim storage facilities for spent fuel are in operation: The transport flask store Ahaus (TBLA) for irradiated fuel, the transport flask store Gorleben (TBLG) for both, irradiated fuel and vitrified reprocessing products and the interim storage facility Zwischenlager Nord (ZLN) exclusively for spent fuel from decommissioning the NPPs in Greifswald and Rheinsberg.
According to the new German energy policy additional local interim storage facilities for spent fuel are to be built on the NPP sites. License applications have been introduced for 13 sites; meanwhile one storage is in operation.
At the beginning of 2002, the licensed storage pond capacity, erected within the NPPs, amounted to 6 327 t HM, of which 751 t were not occupied (additional empty space for one core load each not counted).
The waste conditioning facility PKA at the Gorleben site is now completed, but only a limited operation license to repair damaged containers was granted by the competent Länder authority in 2000.
Concerning the final repository, the Federal Government has in mind that a future facility for all types of radioactive waste will be available around 2030. A working group on the site selection for a possible repository, set up by BMU, has produced a report on a comprehensive and suitable site selection procedure.