The first Swiss nuclear power plant (Beznau 1) was commissioned in 1969, followed by four additional commercial reactors. Leibstadt, the last plant, became operational in 1984. In 1972, the owners of the power plants and the Swiss Confederation founded NAGRA, the national co-operative for nuclear waste management and “final waste disposal”. A national “Demonstration of Feasibility” (Entsorgungsnachweis) programme was launched in 1978/79, with the aim to demonstrate formally the feasibility of “permanent, safe management and disposal of radioactive waste”. After several delays, this programme was finally implemented in 2006. In 2008, the Swiss Federal Government started a formal procedure for site selection, i.e. the “Sectoral Plan”. Yet, despite the unremitting and nationally oriented efforts over the past 40 years, the real priorities of the individual stakeholders were never truly oriented towards the safest and most sustainable solution for radwaste disposal. Instead, other priorities and hidden agendas always prevailed.
Hence, a sustainable waste disposal programme was never actually developed as it was mainly hindered by contradictions that finally led to its failure. In 1978, the official objective was to open a waste disposal facility in the early 1990s. According to the declarations of the Federal Office of Energy, deep geological repositories for low- and medium-level radioactive waste will only be available in 2050, and for high-level radioactive waste and burnt fuel elements in 2060. Even these objectives remain unattainable, as delays interfere with programmes implementation!
The authors of this blog believe that the current state-of-the art of nuclear waste disposal reveals a lack of responsibility by our competent authorities and our nation to deal with these unresolved issues by delegating them to our future generations. This virtual platform is a small attempt towards an open and transparent exchange of information by providing behind-the-scenes insight into nuclear waste disposal options. We believe that it is our duty to try and find the best possible disposal alternatives within a reasonable time.
Most contributions of this blog are published in the language of Goethe, as all the Swiss nuclear power plants are located in the German-speaking part of the country. However, to provide access of this information to a wider circle of potential readers, some articles on key issues are also published in English.