Responsibilities under the German Atomic Energy Act for waste disposal

According to the AtG (§9a) the federal government is responsible for the final disposal of RAW in Germany. Within the federal government, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (Bundesministerium fur Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicher — heit, BMU) together with its devolved office the Federal Office for Radia­tion Protection (Bundesamt fur Strahlenschutz, BfS) are responsible for the siting, planning, facility-related research and development, exploration, construction, operation, and subsequent decommissioning and closure of repositories for RAW. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Bundesministeriums fur Wirtschaft und Technologie, BMWi) is respon­sible for developing federal energy policy and application of pertinent aspects of Federal Mining Law. The Federal Institute for Geosciences and

Natural Resources (Bundesanstalt fur Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe, BGR), a subordinate authority of the BMWi, deals with the primary geo­scientific questions surrounding the final disposal of RAW. Licensing and license authorization falls under the province of the pertinent Federal State ministries; however, to ensure the uniform implementation of the AtG, these ministries are subject to supervision under the BMU. The BfS is the licensee for geological disposal facilities and is empowered by the AtG to establish final repositories for radioactive wastes (AtG §23(1)2).

The BMU is the authority for all nuclear safety and radiation protection issues. In this field it has the competence to issue directives and to supervise the legality and expediency of the acts of authorities responsible for enforc­ing the Atomic Energy Act and the Radiation Protection Ordinance. The BMU develops the regulatory framework; it sets the regulatory dose levels on allowable radiation exposure for disposal facilities, and defines the per­formance periods over which these are to be assessed for disposal facilities. The BfS, under authority of the BMU, implements federal administrative tasks in the field of radiation protection and in the management of radioac­tive waste, in particular with respect to the construction and operation of disposal facilities. In accordance with §9a, section 3, of the AtG, the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the BfS, commissioned the German Company for the Construction and Operation of Waste Repositories, (Deutsche Gesellschaft zum Bau und Betrieb von Endlagern fur Abfall — stoffe mbH, DBE), as a third party to design, construct and operate federal repositories for RAW.

For waste disposal purposes, the BMU defines two categories of nuclear waste: waste with negligible heat generation or heat-generating waste. Since the 1960s German federal policy has been that all solid or solidified forms of RAW subject to control by the AtG are to be disposed of in deep geo­logical formations. Although all of these wastes will be disposed of in deep geological formations, a differentiation is made as to which types of wastes can be disposed of in a specific facility.

The BMU promulgated new safety requirements for heat-generating waste in September 2010 (BMU, 2010). The safety requirements provide an annual dose limit over a one million year performance period of 0.01 mSv for probable and 0.1 mSv for low probability future developments (BMU, 2010 , Section 6.2 and 6.3). These limits are significantly lower than the IAEA recommended dose constraint of not more than 0.3 mSv for geologi­cal disposal facilities after closure (Safety Series No. 115). Performance criteria for waste with negligible heat are governed by §47 of the Ordinance on the Protection against Damage and Injuries Caused by Ionizing Radia­tion (Verordnung uber den Schulz vor Schaden durch ionisierenden Strahlen, StrlSchV) and developed separately in site-specific plan approval documents in accordance with AtG §9a and 9b.

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