Nuclear storage facilities in Gorleben, and Castor transport. Germany

Gorleben is known as the site of a radioactive waste disposal facility. Once reprocessed, waste comes back to Germany from La Hague (France) in the controversial Castor convoys attracting tens of thousands of demonstrators.


Gorleben is known as the site of a controversial radioactive waste disposal facility, currently used as an intermediate storage facility but planned to serve with the salt dome Gorleben as a future deep final repository for waste from nuclear reactors.

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Basic Data
NameNuclear storage facilities in Gorleben, and Castor transport. Germany
ProvinceLower Saxony
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Nuclear
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Nuclear waste storage
Nuclear power plants
Specific CommoditiesNuclear waste
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsPermission has been granted to store 420 dry casks on the site.

Gorleben is in the Wendland, an area in the north of Germany near Lüneburg. Most of the actions happen there, the nuclear waste is transported on a train between Lüneburg and Dannenberg (approx. 50 km) and then changes to lorries. From there, it is transported on the roads (approx. 30 km) to its destination in Gorleben.
Project Area (in hectares)0,57 (above-ground)
Level of Investment (in USD)2,151,690,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population100,000-200,000
Start Date1977
Company Names or State EnterprisesGesellschaft für Nuklear-Service
The Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Service mbH
Relevant government actorsMinister-President of Lower Saxony (at that time, Ernst Albrecht of the CDU), Since 1986 the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety is in charge for Nuclear Disposal., German Federal Office for Radiation Protection.
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGreenpeace, BUND Friends of the Earth Germany, BI Umweltschutz Lüchow Dannenberg
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution
Potential: Genetic contamination, Soil contamination
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
OtherIn 35km zone: reported, increased stillbirths and miscarriages, changed sex ratio (lost girls)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Criminalization of activists
Negotiated alternative solution
New legislation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
(Immediate) stop of use of nuclear energy
Development of AlternativesRenewable Energy, New search for a final nuclear storage site following scientific (not political) criteria
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.In July 2013 the German Bundesrat has approved a new law, which determines to investigate alternatives to Gorleben for final nuclear disposal.
Sources and Materials

Standortauswahlgesetz (site selection law),


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Antinuclear Energy Movements in Germany and Japan : A

Comparative Analysis of Protest against Disposal of Nuclear

Glaser, A. (2012). From Brokdorf to Fukushima: The long journey to nuclear phase-out. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 68(6), 10-21.


Castor vor härtestem Streckenabschnitt (in German)
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Media Links

GERMANY - NUCLEAR POWER: Gorleben refuses to go nuclear, France24
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Castor transport to Gorleben 2010
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Other Documents

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The X symbolizes resistance to Castor transport
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Meta Information
ContributorGabriel Weber
Last update03/08/2016