Süddeutsche Zeitung has seen the draft of an amendment to German legislation that would for the first time legalize exporting German nuclear waste. While the change would impose tight conditions on such transfers and official agreements with the countries providing disposal sites, environmentalists are equating the amendment to a “burst dam.”
The German Ministry of the Environment stated that the federal government had no plans to dispose of nuclear waste abroad, and that the revision corresponded to adapting the 2011 EU "Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management Directive" into German law.
Environmentalists, however, question this. In a position statement, German environmental organization Deutsche Umwelthilfe said that the proposed change "doesn’t reflect the priority given in the directive to stocking radioactive waste domestically" – rather, it treats disposal abroad as an equally viable option.
Wolfgang Ehmke of the Anti-Gorleben-Vereinigung Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz (an association that opposes creating a radioactive waste disposal site in Gorleben, Germany) said: "The transfer of radioactive waste is being legalized. The dam has burst."
Environmentalist groups have until January 4 to communicate their views on the draft to the Ministry of the Environment, which has refused them an extended deadline. The EU directive must be implementable by the end of August 2013.