Players and responsibilities
Pursuant to Article 73 para. 1 of the Basic Constitutional Law, the Federation holds the exclusive legislation for "
the generation and utilisation of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, the construction and operation of facilities serving these purposes, the protection against hazards resulting from the release of nuclear energy or ionising radiation and the removal of radioactive materials."
The responsibilities for the disposal of radioactive waste are regulated in the Atomic Energy Act (AtG). Pursuant to § 9a para. 3 AtG the Federation has the task to establish facilities for the long-term storage and disposal of radioactive waste. The Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) is the competent authority pursuant to § 23 AtG.
Responsibilities in the former GDR
In the former GDR, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (SAAS) was the responsible supervisory and licensing authority. The operator of the Morsleben repository for radioactive waste was the "Volkseigenes Kombinat Kernkraftwerke 'Bruno Leuschner'" based in Lubmin near Greifswald. During German reunification on 3 October 1990, the responsibility for the repository was transferred to the Federal Republic of Germany.
Essential actors today
Today, the overall responsibility for the operation and decommissioning of the Morsleben repository is with the BfS. As the operator, the BfS controls the project and is responsible for planning the repository’s decommissioning. It co-ordinates the numerous procedures with the competent licensing authorities and applies for the necessary licences. Furthermore, the BfS sets out the overall framework for action relating to the safe operation and decommissioning of the repository for the Deutsche Gesellschaft zum Bau und Betrieb von Endlagern für Abfallstoffe mbH (DBE).
The DBE has been tasked with the “planning and construction of federal facilities for the long-term storage and disposal of radioactive waste”. This was laid down in the Co-operation Treaty in 1984. The BfS is bound to this contract. The DBE is responsible for the planning and implementation of the construction work relating to the decommissioning. Besides, the BfS, as the repository operator, is informed by the DBE e.g. about the cost development and the status of implementation of work.
A multitude of other players are involved in the complex task of decommissioning the Morsleben repository.
The responsible licensing and plan-approval authority is the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Energy (MULE) of the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. It has to make the plan-approval decision about the decommissioning concept applied for by the BfS. Furthermore, it plays a vital role in public participation. The public has to be involved comprehensively in the scope of the plan-approval procedure. For example, the MULE (at that time the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment) had to publicly announce the planned decommissioning project, to accept objections by the public and to inform the BfS about these objections. Additionally, the licensing authority invited objectors and the BfS to a so-called public hearing in order to discuss with them the objections raised. Following an in-depth examination of the application documents and objections, it is up to the MULE to make a plan-approval decision. Only once such a decision approves the decommissioning of the Morsleben repository, may the BfS start the decommissioning.
Another actor is the State Office for Geology and Mining (LAGB) of the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. It is subordinated to the Ministry of Economy, Science and Digitalisation (MW) of Saxony-Anhalt. The LAGB is responsible for licence and supervision issues pursuant to Federal Mining Law (BBergG). Its task is to ensure the safety and mining facilities and to avoid risks for man and environment that may result from mining activities.
Compliance with nuclear rules is controlled by Repository Surveillance (EÜ), an independent organisational unit in the BfS. It has the task to control compliance with laws and regulations relating to nuclear energy (especially atomic energy and radiation protection law) with respect to the operation and decommissioning of the Morsleben repository. As a separate unit, the EÜ is assigned directly to the Vice-President.
The functional and legal control of the BfS and the EÜ is executed by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). It can also give orders in the event of a difference of opinion between the MULE and the BfS.
State of 2016.07.29