Mr. Spangenberg, the government in Stockholm has just decided to build the national nuclear waste repository in your home country on Sweden's Baltic Sea coast.

How big is the protest against it?

Sebastian Balzter

Editor in the economy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper.

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No one takes to the streets here.

This decision didn't come out of the blue, we actually wished for it that way.

The first geological investigations here in Östhammar took place in 1995, at that time there were also a number of other possible locations for the repository to choose from.

In 2009, the repository operator SKB decided on Östhammar and since then has been concretizing its construction plans step by step.

We could have vetoed these plans at any time.

In autumn 2020 we decided on this in the local parliament.

We voted 39 to 9 for the repository.

There was one abstention.

So the vast majority of community representatives are in favor of the construction of the repository, and so am I.

How did the repository company, a joint venture of the Swedish nuclear power plant operators, convince you?

How much money is going into the treasury now?

We don't get any presents for it.

The operating company decided in favor of Östhammar because the granite in our area is suitable for it, because it is safer here than elsewhere in Sweden - and not because we are economically dependent on the repository.

This is very important to me.

Around 1000 construction workers will soon be employed here, and I reckon with around 200 jobs in the long term for the operation of the repository.

But the unemployment rate is already very low here.

It is only around 2 percent, lower than anywhere else in Sweden.

So we need a lot of newcomers, we have to become more attractive to well-trained workers.

And in order for us to succeed in this, as early as 2009 we received grants from SKB for our clubs,

The old fuel rods, around 12,000 tons are planned, are to be sealed in copper capsules before being stored.

There are fears the metal may one day oxidize deep underground.

Then dangerous radioactive radiation could escape.

How concerned is this thought?

Precisely because of these fears, SKB had to submit additional investigations to the radiation protection authority.

The authority then spoke out in favor of this encapsulation technology.

I'm not an expert myself, I studied agricultural sciences and used to advise farmers, including on development aid.

But when professionals who have researched the safety of these capsules over and over again have peace of mind at the end of the day, then I feel safe about it too.

In Germany we are not making any real progress with the search for a repository.

How about we also send our old fuel rods to you in Östhammar?

That would save us a lot of trouble.

This is not possible under the current legal situation.

In addition, the warehouse will not be large enough for this either.

It should be sufficient for exactly the amount of highly radioactive waste that will be produced in the Swedish nuclear power plants until the end of their operating lives.

Like all plans, these plans could be changed.

But then we as a community would have a right of veto again.

And we certainly wouldn't get involved with nuclear waste from abroad.

Too bad.

The storage life of the fuel rods is currently estimated at 100,000 years.

What happens if the operating company goes bankrupt first?

The Swedish state will then assume responsibility for the continued operation of the repository.

This is a national task that cannot be delegated to a single municipality.

This is the law.

But of course no one knows today whether Sweden will still exist in 100,000 years.

So we have to make it clear to future generations that hazardous waste is stored here 500 meters below the surface.

I know that the operating company is currently giving a lot of thought to how this can best be achieved.

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