DPA via Earthtimes, 15 July 2009

Berlin- A damaged fuel rod sought since last week has been located inside one of Germany’s 12 nuclear power stations, regulators said Wednesday. The jinxed plant at Kruemmel near Hamburg was shut down for two years by a transformer fire. It was crippled again July 4 by a short circuit and was then reported to have a problem in one or more of its 80,000 fuel rods.

Engineers took the lid off the reactor to find the damaged uranium rod. The problems at Kruemmel have led to calls to retire the station and re-ignited debate in Germany about nuclear power as an election approaches.

Anti-nuclear activists are also highlighting mismanagement of nuclear waste dumps in old salt mines.

Wolfram Koenig, president of the Federal Radiation Safety Agency (BfS), said radioactive contaminated fluid had been found to have seeped to the bottom of one such dump, the Asse mine.

BfS, which has seized control of the dump, says the mine should have never been used to store 126,000 barrels of low and medium-level contaminated materials because ground-water seeps into the tunnels and they may collapse.

Germany plans to close all its nuclear power stations, which operate a total 17 reactors, by 2021.

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