Increased levels of radiation have been found in the controversial Asse nuclear waste depot in the German state of Lower Saxony. The discovery has led to new calls for the depot to be emptied and closed.
The former salt mine holds some 127,000 waste containers
German nuclear safety officials have found increased levels of radioactivity in a borehole at the Asse atomic waste depot in the northwestern state of Lower Saxony.
A spokesman from the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) said its measurement of the radioactive substance cesium were 24 times over the allowed limit - the highest level recorded since nuclear waste stopped being stored in the depot in 1978.
The BfS measured a concentration of the radioactive substance cesium of 240,000 becquerels per liter. The measurement was taken 750 metres below ground level.
The spokesman added that the BfS had made sure that no one came in direct contact with the contaminated salt solution and that no radioactivity could seep outside. He said the reason for the raised level was unknown.
Parts of the former salt mine are in danger of caving in
In the wake of the discovery, there have been renewed calls for the containers stored in the depot to be retrieved. The Green parliamentary spokeswoman on nuclear policy, Sylvia Kotting-Uhl, said time was running short and described the depot as a "ticking time-bomb."
SPD parliamentarian Ute Vogt asked for comprehensive clarification by the German government. Vogt said that the coalition had to make it clear that it was not shirking the question of the final disposal of atomic waste in its alleged new direction on energy policy.
The former salt mine holds some 127,000 containers with low and medium-grade radioactive waste, placed there from 1967 to 1978. Plans are under way to retrieve the containers, but experts first need to ascertain their condition.
Author: Timothy Jones (AP, dpa)
Editor: Joanna Impey
While Ronny may steal the headlines for his two free-kicks, he wasn't alone in dictating parts of the game. Freiburg's Vladimir Darida is quickly becoming one of the hidden gems of the league, says DW's Ross Dunbar.
In a request for "mutual respect and support" between Scots, Queen Elizabeth II has urged for unity in the UK in light of Scotland's vote against independence. She had previously declined to comment on the referendum.
One of Russia's richest men remains under house arrest on money laundering charges, says the nation's Investigative Committee.