A former mine in Germany is at the centre of fears about the long-term handling of radioactive waste. After its closure, the former salt mine in lower Saxony was used as a dump for nuclear leftovers in the 1960s and 70s. But now there are concerns it could collapse.
Flooding began in the late 1980s. Some 12 cubic metres a day are now entering the mine and the salt brine detected has been found to be radioactive.
Germany’s Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel says an enquiry is being launched. A task force will be built up and additional experts sent to the mine for further investigations. He has suggested a full report will be ready after the summer break.
However, anti-nuclear campaigners and people living near the mine fear drinking water could be contaminated.
As the row intensifies, Heinz-Jorg Haury, a senior researcher working at the old mine, south of Hanover, called for it to be shut down.
But that looks unlikely in the short term, meaning alarm bells will keep ringing amid fears irreparable damage is being done.