On 25 April 2017, the operator responsibilities for the Asse II mine as well as the Konrad and Morsleben repositories were transferred to the Federal Company for Radioactive Waste Disposal (Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung mbH, BGE). This website of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) will therefore no longer be updated and displays the status as on 24 April 2017. You will find current information at the BGE: www.bge.de

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What happens in Asse?

Works for safe decommissioning

Control and surveillance: How repositories are surveyed

In July 2016, the federal government reorganised responsibilities in the field of radioactive waste disposal. Responsibilities are now further clarified and tasks can be performed more efficiently. The revision was based on proposals that had repeatedly been contributed to the public debate by the President of the BfS, Wolfram König. With its recommendation, the Repository Commission essentially followed these proposals.

Guaranteeing protection and safety

To ensure that nuclear regulations are complied with in radioactive waste disposal, the following authorisation and surveillance system entered into force in Germany in July 2016:

  • The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) has the overall political responsibility in the field of radioactive waste disposal. Within the framework of its technical and legal supervision, the Ministry supervises the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BfE) and, as partner, in future also the Federal Company for Radioactive Waste Disposal (Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung mbH - BGE).
  • The BfE is the nuclear regulatory authority for the Konrad and Morsleben repositories and for the Asse II mine.
  • The federal states of Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt are the nuclear licensing authorities and responsible for further regulatory tasks relating to the projects Asse, Konrad and Morsleben, such as mining supervision. Regarding the Konrad repository, the responsibility of the federal states ceases when it has been taken into operation and, regarding the Morsleben repository, with the completion of the pending plan-approval procedure for decommissioning, and will then be transferred to the BfE.

This licensing and surveillance system ensures reliably and comprehensively that the provisions applicable for radioactive waste disposal are complied with and are supervised.

Tasks of the BfE as nuclear regulatory authority

As nuclear regulatory authority, the BfE surveys a repository for radioactive waste in all phases. These include the erection, operation, and decommissioning of the repository. The legal background for this surveillance activity includes the Atomic Energy Act, the Radiation Protection Ordinance and other nuclear rules and standards as well as the plan-approval decisions for the licensing of repositories.

If no comprehensive nuclear licence has been granted so far (e.g. a legally binding plan-approval decision), as is the case for the Asse II mine, the BfE task focusses in particular on the compliance with the provisions laid down in the Atomic Energy Act and the Radiation Protection Ordinance. For example, the BfE reviews measures for environmental monitoring or issues clearances (e.g. for the transfer of brines). In cases where responsible persons under nuclear law are designated, the nuclear regulatory authority must give its consent to this. It also checks the reliability of the repository staff.

Powers of the nuclear regulatory authority

In order to survey the Konrad and Morsleben repositories and the Asse II mine effectively, the BfE has corresponding powers. Apart from routine surveillance, these powers are required for elucidating and evaluating special occurrences and events such as accidents. For this purpose, the BfE uses the following means which are regulated in § 19 AtG:

  • The right to visit and inspect the facility at all times , also by external experts whose assistance has been requested by the nuclear regulatory authority
  • The right to demand the necessary information by the responsible persons or persons there employed
  • The right to instruct the removal of states that are not in compliance with the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act and/or the Radiation Protection Ordinance or the requirements of granted licences
  • The right to instruct protection measures up to the provisional termination of operation in case of risks for life, health or material assets.
State of 2017.02.15

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