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Open communication with respect to the Konrad repository - BfS opens INFO KONRAD

Year of issue 2008
Date 2008.05.15

From the end of 2013, the Konrad repository near the town of Salzgitter is supposed to be used for waste with no significant heat generation. Since 15 May 2008, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) endeavours to inform the public at its dedicated information centre in the heart of Salzgitter-Lebenstedt.

"We have something to dispose of, but nothing to hide." This is the motto of the Radiation Protection experts from Salzgitter, emblazoned at the façade of the information centre at Chemnitzer Strasse 27, Salzgitter-Lebenstedt. In the heart of the town, right beside the market place, BfS rented two former retail shops and transformed them into an information centre for the Konrad repository, in short INFO KONRAD.

Transparency for the citizens

"We want to create confidence through safety", BfS president Wolfram König said on Thursday, 15 May at the opening ceremony of INFO KONRAD. "This requires open and honest communication." In order to reach this goal BfS established the information centre in the heart of Salzgitter-Lebenstedt to get in touch with the public. "Only transparency will help us create confidence in our work", the BfS president said. The bright, generous shop windows illustrate that BfS strives for openness and transparency, according to König. All interested parties are welcome to inform themselves in order to get a comprehensive view of the planned repository. A new brochure for the citizens containing frequently asked questions with respect to the Konrad repository serves the same purpose.
The information centre welcomes its visitors right at the entrance with the first of the four highlights found at the exhibition: Two models show the future surface installations (on a scale of 1:100) and a cross-section of the subsurface layers of earth (on a scale of 1:1,000). Both models illustrate the process of delivery to the site and the particular geological situation of the Konrad repository.

Real-time nationwide radiation levels

The "glass gallery" is another eye-catcher. Eleven large glass boards display clearly and comprehensibly the entire nuclear waste management issue, starting with how radioactive waste is produced and explaining interim disposal, conditioning and transport all the way to the waste's final disposal. Young visitors to INFO KONRAD, in particular, can then use the interactive offer of two touch-screens and explore in more detail the geological layers and the processes in the repository.

At the in-house cinema, a 15-minute film gives concise information on the "Konrad" issue in high-definition quality (HD). The animated film scenes for the first time show the exact procedures and processes that will be used for emplacement at the Konrad repository, which is supposed to start by the end of 2013. The cinema will also be used as a lecture room and a seminar room
The visitors can read current real-time gamma radiation levels in Germany from a display positioned in the information centre's showcase. BfS measures the local dose rate of radioactive radiation all over Germany with the help of dedicated probes. Three probes will be placed in the immediate vicinity of the repository. One probe is already installed there, for testing purposes. This way the people living in Salzgitter can compare the levels measured at the Konrad site to levels measured in other regions of Germany.

Citizens' mailbox at the information centre and on the internet

In order to encourage dialogue, the INFO KONRAD staff installed a "citizens' mailbox". All interested parties can share their opinion on the repository via this mailbox. The letters will then be displayed in the showcase (as long as they comply with common courtesy) – carried by transparent mannequins.

The citizens' forum can also be found on the internet. Those who cannot travel to Salzgitter in order to visit the information centre will be able to inform themselves in detail about the repository via the forum's homepage.
The staff at the INFO KONRAD information centre in Salzgitter-Lebenstedt can be contacted directly for questions. They are also available to make appointments for visits to the mine. School classes can experience the everyday work in the mine on special arrangement.

The INFO KONRAD staff includes Michael Linkersdörfer (head), Melanie Bartholomäus, Arthur Junkert as well as Jessica Gieseke and Christian Lampe. The information centre welcomes visitors from 10 am to 5 pm (Monday and Wednesday), from 9 am to 5 pm (on market days, i.e. Tuesday and Friday), from 10 am to 7 pm (Thursday) and from 10 am to 2 pm (Saturday). Special appointments for visitor groups can also be arranged.

State of 2008.05.15

Transfer of operator responsibilities

On 25 April 2017, the operator responsibilities for the Asse II mine as well as the Konrad and Morsleben repositories were transferred to the Federal Company for Radioactive Waste Disposal (Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung mbH, BGE). Previously, the responsibility for the projects was with the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS). The foundations for the change of operatorship are laid down in the "Act on the Realignment of the Organisational Structures in the Field of Radioactive Waste Disposal", which became effective on 30 July 2016. The BfS focusses on the federal tasks of radiation protection, for example in the field of defence against nuclear hazards, medical research, mobile communication, UV protection or the measuring networks for environmental radioactivity.

© Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz