– «As if we were the compost of Switzerland»
The German municipality of Hohentengen is only two kilometers away from the planned nuclear repository in Nördlich Lägern. The residents won’t see it, but it will be there, forever. About a village in turmoil.
Max Ferstl, Hohentengen
Posted today at 5:16 p.m
It’s best to get an overview first, so get on your cold cheeks. Martin Benz is standing on a slope, grass under his feet, the sun on his neck, looking down. The mayor sees the fields, brown squares, sees the cows in a very green pasture, like they’ve fallen straight out of a Farmhouse catalog. And even further down, on the banks of the Rhine, between the trees: a few houses, as if dabbed in. They belong to Hohentengen am Hochrhein, the municipality of Martin Benz. Behind it begins Switzerland.
And that’s the problem. “Over there, between the rows of trees,” says Martin Benz, pointing to a narrow strip of meadow on the opposite slope, to the left of the Stadlerberg, over which dark clouds hang: “It’s right behind it.” The Repository.
Over there, in the community of Stadel, the Swiss want to dig 850 meters deep into the ground, through the sandstone, through the limestone, right into the opalinus clay, which is gray and so dense that no radioactivity should escape. Over there, Switzerland wants to store its nuclear waste from 2050, the fuel rods, contaminated tools, filters, protective suits, around 83,000 cubic meters of waste – that would fill the historic Zurich train station hall by two thirds. The camp should withstand the radiation for a million years, and nothing should leak out. Everything should be very safe. At least that’s what the Swiss promise.