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Is Nuclear Waste From Nazi Era Stocked In An Abandoned German Salt Mine?

A report has resurfaced that says radioactive waste from World War II was brought in1967 to a storage facility in Asse, in northern Germany, raising old questions about Hitler's quest for an atomic bomb. But historians dispute that Nazi scientist

Sven Felix Kellerhoff

One of the most controversial places in all of Germany right now is an abandoned salt mine in Asse, just southwest of Braunschweig, where 120,000 containers of weak to middle-strength radioactive waste is stored. And now there is speculation that some of that material could be left over from Nazi atomic experiments.

The catalyst for the speculation is an old report in the Hannoverschen Allgemeinen Zeitung dating from July 29, 1974 that quotes a deputy manager of the Asse storage facility stating that "radioactive waste from the last war" had been put there in 1967.

Specifically, the waste was uranium said to have played a role in "developing the German atomic bomb." The manager allegedly went on to say: "We had to go and get waste from concrete bunkers near Munich, where it had originally been deposited." A radical anti-nuclear power opponent recently came across the forgotten newspaper report and, assuming the information was a major revelation, brought it to the attention of German Green party politicians.

Asked about the speculation that Nazi-era nuclear waste was indeed in Asse, the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) stated that they have no knowledge of waste from Nazi research stocked there. And assuming it were, whether or not some of the material could have been used during the process of developing an atomic bomb could not be ascertained based on available records.

The magnitude of the Nazi atomic bomb project during the Second World War has, in any case, been overstated. It is true that towards the end of the war Hitler and his Minister of Propoganda Joseph Goebbels often mentioned that a new "miracle weapon" would soon be available, yet all internal documents from the period show that their public statements had little real foundation. The top echelons of the Third Reich didn't have a clue how difficult the road to nuclear fission weapons would be.

Compared to the American atomic bomb program known as the "Manhattan Project," the German "Uranium Project" run by Nobel prize winner Werner Heisenberg was a paltry undertaking, with only 12 scientists and insufficient raw materials, in the spring of 1945, to be able to get a reactor going. In late April 1945, when American specialists located the research facility in Haigerloch, Swabia, they found 664 uranium cubes that had been hidden nearby and an empty reactor vessel. No chain reaction had taken place -- and whether research got any further at a site in Gottow, near Berlin, as some have claimed, has never been established.

Economics historian Ernst Peter Fischer says that the claim that German physicists in 1941 were looking at "a clear road to the atomic bomb" did not reflect reality; in fact, "Heisenberg was clearly mistaken and may have been lying to himself as much as he was to his entourage."

At war's end, specialists from the US Army's secret services transported all elements of the German atomic program found in West Germany to the United States -- including many of the physicists who'd been working on it. Whatever was stocked in those bunkers near Munich, it is highly unlikely that it was related to the Nazi "Uranium Project." As long as all we know about supposed Nazi nuclear waste in Asse involves the vague reminiscences of a former storage facility employee, the case will remain very far from a "major revelation."

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Is Disney's "Wish" Spreading A Subtle Anti-Christian Message To Kids?

Disney's new movie "Wish" is being touted as a new children's blockbuster to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary. But some Christians may see the portrayal of the villain as God-like and turning wishes into prayers as the ultimate denial of the true message of Christmas.

photo of a kid running out of a church

For the Christmas holiday season?

Joseph Holmes

Christians have always had a love-hate relationship with Disney since I can remember. Growing up in the Christian culture of the 1990s and early 2000s, all the Christian parents I knew loved watching Disney movies with their kids – but have always had an uncomfortable relationship with some of its messages. It was due to the constant Disney tropes of “follow your heart philosophy” and “junior knows best” disdain for authority figures like parents that angered so many. Even so, most Christians felt the benefits had outweighed the costs.

That all seems to have changed as of late, with Disney being hit more and more by claims from conservatives (including Christian conservatives) that Disney is pushing more and more radical progressive social agendas, This has coincided with a steep drop at the box office for Disney.

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