International policies

Fahnen der G20 Mitgliedsstaaten

Bilateral cooperation

Germany has entered into bilateral agreements with eight neighbouring countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Switzerland and the Czech Republic) on the exchange of information regarding nuclear installations located in border regions. Regular and extensive contacts are cultivated between Germany and Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. Joint commissions and nuclear expert groups have been set up with these countries. Annual consultations are held to discuss issues of nuclear safety, emergency preparedness and radiation protection. Additional working groups on nuclear safety and radiation protection respectively have been set up in the context of cooperation with France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. In these working groups, information on nuclear installations close to borders is exchanged with a particular focus on the following subjects:

  • changes relevant for permits or technical changes to nuclear installations near borders
  • operating experience, especially concerning reportable events
  • regulatory development of safety requirements, especially regarding emergency preparedness measures in case of major incidents
  • General developments in nuclear safety, radiological protection, emergency preparedness and management of nuclear waste.

In addition to the cooperation with neighbouring countries, more than 50 agreements exist with other states. However, the establishment of a commission is not necessarily required. Bilateral memoranda of understanding on the exchange of information were, for example, arranged with Japan and Korea, and an agreement on the exchange of information exists with China.

Transboundary EIA/SEA

Special instruments for international cooperation on environmental precautions are the transboundary strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and the transboundary environmental impact assessment (EIA). The EIA was established under the Espoo Convention, the SEA is rooted in the UNECE Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA Protocol) which was adopted later. These two international treaties have been transposed into German national law by the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (UVPG).

If a project may have a considerable environmental impacts on other countries, the competent authority of the "state of origin" sends an early notification to its counterparts in the other countries. If the competent authorities there are not known, the notification is sent to the Espoo contacts of the countries in question in order to inform them about the transboundary participation in EIA processes. In Germany, pursuant to the UVPG, the competent authority for the transboundary EIA or SEA is the same authority that would be responsible for a similar procedure at national level. For example, the bodies responsible for authorising a nuclear power plant are the competent Länder authorities.

To provide extensive information, the Federal Environment Ministry (BMUV) website offers an overview of the EIA and SEA processes for transboundary assessments for nuclear installations that involve German public participation. For more information on the processes and details on public participation, click on the linked pages of the competent authorities.

G7 Nuclear Safety and Security Group (G7 NSSG)

In 1975, the main industrialised countries at the time created the Group of 7 (G7) to discuss issues of the global economy. The G7 comprises Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Japan, Canada and the US. The Nuclear Safety and Security Group (NSSG) is a permanent body of the G7 dealing with questions of nuclear safety. The NSSG developed from the Nuclear Safety Working Group, established in 1992, which mainly dealt with the safety of Eastern European nuclear reactors of Russian design. In addition to the G7 countries, the European Commission, the OECD/NEA, the IAEA and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have observer status in the NSSG. Due to Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014, Russia's previous participation in the G8 has been suspended.

International Nuclear Regulators Association (INRA)

The International Nuclear Regulators Association (INRA) was established in 1997. INRA is comprised of representatives of the supreme regulatory authorities of Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Spain, Sweden, the US, the UK and South Korea. The chair rotates every year. INRA addresses issues of mutual interest and makes recommendations with a view to further strengthening nuclear regulatory authorities worldwide.

OECD/NEA (Nuclear Energy Agency)

The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is based in Paris and is a semi-autonomous organisation within the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The Federal Republic of Germany is a founding member of the OECD and joined the NEA in 1958.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was founded in 1957 as an autonomous intergovernmental organisation. It reports regularly to the United Nations General Assembly and is required to directly contact the United Nations Security Council if a threat to international safety is ascertained. Germany has been a member of the IAEA since the organisation was founded in 1957.

International conventions

The international community has established a range of multilateral conventions in the fields of nuclear safety and nuclear security with a view to strengthening international cooperation and setting international minimum standards. These conventions regulate areas such as the protection of international transports of nuclear material, liability, early notification and mutual assistance in the event of nuclear accidents, nuclear safety requirements and safety requirements for the treatment of spent fuel elements and radioactive waste.

IRRS mission to Germany

As part of its Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conducts reviews of national nuclear regulatory authorities. The IRRS should be regarded as an instrument of mutual learning for national regulatory bodies throughout the world, with the aim of strengthening nuclear regulatory infrastructure as a whole, thereby enhancing nuclear safety. In the EU, such reviews must be carried out every ten years (Directive 2009/71/Euratom as amended by Directive 2014/87/Euratom). The first review of the Federal Environment Ministry as the competent regulatory authority in Germany took place in 2008 with a follow-up mission in 2011. A further review took place in 2019 with a follow-up mission in 2023.

ARTEMIS missions 2019 and 2022 to Germany

From 22 September 2019 to 4 October 2019, the first Integrated Review Service for Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management, Decommissioning and Remediation (ARTEMIS) took place in Germany at the request of the German government, in particular the BMUV. The aim of the mission was an independent international review of the National Waste Management Programme for the responsible and safe disposal of radioactive waste. Germany has thus fulfilled its obligation under Article 14 (3) of the Directive 2011/70/Euratom. The advice and recommendations issued by the IAEA in 2019 were acted on and presented during the world’s first ARTEMIS follow-up mission from 6 to 12 November 2022. The ARTEMIS team confirmed that Germany has a mature legal and regulatory framework for the responsible and safe management of radioactive waste and spent fuel elements, and in particular highlighted how quickly Germany underwent the ARTEMIS follow-up mission, as the first country in the world to do so.

Germany will invite the IAEA to conduct the next ARTEMIS mission in 2029.

Last updated: 04.01.2024

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