Swiss group reports on nuclear waste options

Stakeholder group calls for examination of above-ground storage, evaluation of costs

The feasibility of building above-ground permanent storage facilities for high-level radioactive waste should be investigated before further decisions are made about long-term disposal sites, according to a Swiss stakeholder report on nuclear waste management. The final report of the "Energy Dialogue" stakeholder group, released yesterday, is the result of 10 months of talks to try and find consensus between nuclear industry representatives, government officials, and environmental and social interests. The group was set up after residents of Wellenberg voted in a local referendum to reject an official plan to build a permanent underground repository in their area. Its members have agreed that further clarification is needed of the costs of different waste management options. However, the nuclear industry and environmental groups have clashed over nuclear waste reprocessing, which the NGOs want to be stopped. Swiss environment minister Moritz Leuenberger and finance minister Pascal Coucheter will now study the report before starting discussions with stakeholders next year.

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