Storage facilities are used for the temporary storage of radioactive waste. Storage is currently necessary because no final repositories for radioactive waste are available as yet.
Depending on which waste is stored in a storage facility, a distinction is made between storage facilities for radioactive waste with negligible heat generation (low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste, e.g. from medical applications) and storage facilities for heat-generating radioactive waste, which includes spent fuel assemblies and high-level radioactive waste from reprocessing. Furthermore, a distinction can be made between centralised and decentralised storage facilities. The former are located at Gorleben and Ahaus. The latter are the twelve storage facilities built on site at the nuclear power plants by the power utilities at the beginning of the 2000s. The Jülich and Lubmin (Zwischenlager Nord) storage facilities occupy a special position in this classification - like the decentralised storage facilities, they are located in the immediate vicinity of a nuclear facility but were not built by a power utility and were erected before the year 2000.
In addition, there are also the Land collection facilities. These are storage facilities for low-level radioactive waste that are maintained by the Länder. They serve the purpose of providing storage for waste from medical applications, industry and research that accumulates within the territory of the respective Land.