Vattenfall: Deficient storage of nuclear waste

In Germany, where Vattenfall owns three reactors (Brokdorf, Brunsbüttel and Krümmel), nuclear power will be phased out by 2022. The decomissioning of these nuclear power plants and the storage of the nuclear waste is very cost-intensive. In this regard, Vattenfall has filed a complaint against Germany with the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington seeking compensation of up to €3.7 billion for the shutdown of its power plants.1 

The dismantling of Brunsbüttel will start earliest 2017, but an early examination of 631 vats of nuclear waste, stored in Brunsbüttels underground caverns, revealed that they are in a disastrous condition. Almost every third vat of the examined 3352 is severely damaged. Some of the vats are corroded to such an extent that they are leaking, turning the ground into pulp that is contaminated with the nuclear material, Caesium 137. The vats were not intended to be stored long term at Brunsbüttel but the final storage facility at ‘Konrad’ mineshafts has faced severe delays and will not now be complete until earliest, 2020.3


  1. The Economist (2014): The arbitration game; 11. October:
    http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21623756-governments-are-souring-treaties-protect-foreign-investors-arbitration (accessed 12.10.2014) []
  2. Vattenfall (2014): “Kaverneninspektion in Brunsbüttel wird fortgesetzt”
    October 2014, http://corporate.vattenfall.de/newsroom/pressemeldungen/2014/kaverneninspektion/ (accessed 13.10.2014) []
  3. The Local (2014): One in three nuclear waste barrels damaged;
    10 October: http://www.thelocal.de/20141010/one-third-of-barrels-leak-at-nuclear-waste-site-brunsbttel (accessed 20.10.2014) []
Case location
Brunsbüttel, Alemania
Germany


Affected topics
  • Environmental and Climate protection
Affected norms and standards Directly and indirectly (through shareholding) involved companies Indirect investors through shareholding

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