International review for German regulation

15 April 2019

Germany's nuclear safety regime is strong and can be improved further, a team of international inspectors has concluded following a two-week mission to review the country's regulatory framework.

Germany's Isar 2, which will close down in 2022 (Image: Bjoern Schwartz)

A team of 21 senior experts in nuclear regulation from 16 countries visited the country as part of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission. The mission was conducted at the request of the German government. The team found good practice in emergency preparedness and response, which it said "would allow all levels of government to access necessary information at any time."

"Even though Germany has decided to phase out nuclear energy, the safety of our nuclear facilities remains a top priority for us,” said Svenja Schulze, Germany's minister of environment, nature conservation and nuclear safety. “Moreover, we want to be able to support our neighbouring countries as a competent partner even after the phase-out."

Germany has strong practices and processes in place that ensure comprehensive regulatory oversight, the mission found.

Areas for improvment identified by the IRRS team included a need to regularly assess leadership in safety and safety culture. In its decommissioning process Germany should establish requirements for the periodic review and update of safety assessments during immediate dismantling. There should also be a requirement for addressing public inputs during the process of terminating decommissioning licences, the team recommended.

Germany has seven large reactors in operation that provide about 12% of its electricity, though it has decided to close them down early. Along with 29 reactors already shut down, the country is entering a phase in which decommissioning will dominate its practical nuclear power activities. It also has seven research reactors providing scientific services and the production of medical isotopes which are not under threat.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News