Kerntechnische Entsorgung Karlsruhe GmbH (KTE) currently employs roughly 650 people and is financed predominantly by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research and by the State Ministry of Baden-Wuerttemberg for Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing Construction. The sole proprietor of KTE is the federally-owned Entsorgungswerk für Nuklearanlagen GmbH (EWN).
The company likewise handles all associated activities relating to the disposal of radioactive waste, including its later transfer to the “Schacht Konrad” final repository.
Socio-political developments have led to the abandonment of large-scale nuclear research in Germany. At its site around 10 km to the north of Karlsruhe, the team at KTE takes care of dismantling the facilities that were built – mainly in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s – during the course of basic nuclear research and application development: research and prototype reactors of different types and a reprocessing plant for the development of nuclear fuel recycling. In addition, other former projects are being dismantled, such as a study of irradiated nuclear fuel in hot cells.
Once all the decommissioned nuclear installations handed over to KTE have been dismantled, the next step is to fully process all residual radioactive material and turn it into waste packages suitable for storage in final repositories, and then place them into interim storage. The site is home to Germany’s currently largest interim storage facility for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste. The stored waste packages will be transferred to the “Schacht Konrad” final repository once it has been completed. Following their complete disposal, the core duties of KTE will end – as far as it is possible to calculate today – in the late 2060s. Afterwards, the remaining sections of plant will be dismantled in the conventional manner.