Atomic Deserts A Survey of the World's Radioactive No-Go Zones

The Soviet nuclear testing site in present-day Kazakhstan is just one of many places in the world that remain dangerously radioactive to this day.

The Soviet nuclear testing site in present-day Kazakhstan is just one of many places in the world that remain dangerously radioactive to this day.

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Part 5: The Radioactive Dilemma


DPA

Above ground, Germany has not yet suffered a nuclear disaster, despite numerous incidents in German nuclear power plants. Underground, however, is a different story: Electricity has been produced from nuclear fission in Germany for more than 60 years -- but there is no final repository for the resulting waste. Since the 1960s, much of the waste has ended up at the Asse storage facility (pictured), a salt mine which was to protect the radioactive garbage for the next 100,000 years.

But just 40 years later, massive problems with the site have become apparent. Despite assurances to the contrary, 12,000 liters of water are leaking into the site each day, rusting the drums and resulting in a release of radioactivity. As yet, there is no proposal for what to do with the resulting sludge nor is there a plan in place for solving the Asse problem. Many of the waste drums were simply piled up, instead of neatly stacked. It is impossible to get close enough to begin a clean up program.

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