Bilateral cooperation in the field of nuclear safety
As of today, Germany has signed bilateral agreements with 59 countries on the safety of nuclear facilities and on radiation protection.
Germany has entered into bilateral agreements with 8 neighbouring countries, in particular on the exchange of information regarding nuclear installations located in border regions. Joint commissions or expert groups have been set up with Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland, in which the German Environment Ministry (BMUV) and representatives from the respective bordering Länder are involved:
The annual consultations take place alternately, either in Germany or the partner country, to discuss, in particular, issues of nuclear safety and radiation protection as well as issues regarding nuclear waste management, for example:
- changes relevant for licensing or technical changes to nuclear installations near borders
- operating experience, especially concerning incidents that require notification
- regulatory development of safety requirements, especially regarding emergency preparedness measures in the case of major incidents
- general developments in the field of nuclear safety and radiation protection.
German-Belgian Nuclear Commission (DBNK)
The Agreement between the Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Minister for Security and the Interior, as supervisory authority of the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control of the Kingdom of Belgium, on Exchange of Information and Experience and on Cooperation in the Areas of Nuclear Safety, Radiation Protection and Safety of Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste Management, also referred to as the German-Belgian Agreement on Nuclear Safety, entered into force in December 2016. Negotiating this nuclear agreement was triggered in particular by the decision to restart the Belgian Doel 3 and Tihange 2 reactors, which had shown certain indications of defects, at the end of 2015, which caused great concern among the public, especially in the border region. The agreement provides a solid foundation for open and critical discussions between Germany and Belgium on key nuclear safety issues.
The agreement provides in particular for the establishment of a German-Belgian Nuclear Commission (DBNK). The Commission convened for the first time in 2017. In addition to nuclear safety, future cooperation will also address the other areas of work listed in the agreement’s title. The BMUV and the competent ministries of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate represent Germany in the DBNK.
German-French Commission (DFK)
The German-French Commission on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (DFK) was initiated in 1976 in an exchange of letters between the German Federal Minister of the Interior, responsible for nuclear safety and radiation protection issues at the time, and the French Minister of Industry on cooperation in the areas of nuclear safety and radiation protection. The agreement arose due to the construction of nuclear power plants in the border regions of Germany and France and the resulting need for mutual information. The BMUV and the competent Länder ministries of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland represent Germany in the DFK.
The DFK, with its current three working groups, deals in depth with the following issues:
- WG 1 Safety of Pressurized Water Reactors
- WG 2 Emergency response planning
- WG 3 Radiation protection (currently suspended)
German-Swiss Commission (DSK)
The German-Swiss Commission on the Safety of Nuclear Facilities (DSK) was established to implement the Agreement Between the Government of the Swiss Confederation and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany Concerning the Exchange of Information on the Construction and Operation of Nuclear Facilities in Border Regions (Vereinbarung zwischen der Regierung der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft und der Regierung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland über die gegenseitige Unterrichtung beim Bau und Betrieb grenznaher kerntechnischer Einrichtungen), which entered into force on 19 September 1983. The exchange of information on the construction and operation of nuclear facilities in border regions, specified in the agreement, applies in particular to pending licensing procedures with the aim of taking the legitimate interests of the neighbouring country into account. Another task of the DSK is to discuss and analyse issues of interest to both sides in relation to nuclear safety, radiation protection, emergency preparedness and radioactive waste management. The BMUV and the competent Länder ministries of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria represent Germany in the DSK.
There are four working groups to discuss pending issues:
- WG 1 Plant safety
- WG 2 Emergency response
- WG 3 Radiation protection
- WG 4 Radioactive waste management
German-Dutch Commission (NDKK)
The German-Dutch consultations were established in 1977 through an exchange of letters and memorandum of understanding between the German Federal Minister of the Interior and the Dutch Minister for Public Health, Environmental Protection and Social Affairs concerning the mutual exchange of information and consultations on nuclear facilities located in border regions. Specialist working groups of the German-Dutch Commission (NDKK), which last convened in the year 2000, discuss in depth issues of mutual interest. The BMUV and the competent Länder ministries of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony represent Germany in the NDKK.
The NDKK has two working groups that convene every year, usually on consecutive days
- WG 1 Nuclear facilities in border regions
- WG 2 Emergency response
German-Czech Commission (DTK)
In the German-Czech Commission (DTK), both countries provide information on safety-related incidents and nuclear legislation. The commission's activities are based on the Agreement Between the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Government of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic on the Regulation of Matters of Common Interest Regarding Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection, which entered into force in August 1990 (Abkommen zwischen der Regierung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Regierung der Tschechischen und Slowakischen Föderativen Republik zur Regelung von Fragen gemeinsamen Interesses im Zusammenhang mit kerntechnischer Sicherheit und Strahlenschutz). The DTK provides the framework for a mutual exchange of information on current issues. This includes regular mutual reporting on the two nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic, Dukovany and Temelin, and on German nuclear power plants, in particular the Isar plant. The BMUV and the competent Länder ministries of Bavaria and Saxony represent Germany in the DFK.
German-Austrian Panel of Nuclear Experts (DÖE)
Since 1995, the consultations of the German-Austrian Panel of Nuclear Experts (DÖE), held annually, have been based on the Agreement Between the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Government of the Republic of Austria Concerning the Exchange of Radiation Protection Information and Experience (Abkommen zwischen der Regierung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Regierung der Republik Österreich über Informations- und Erfahrungsaustausch auf dem Gebiet des Strahlenschutzes). Major topics include issues of radiation protection, the safety of research reactors and nuclear waste management. The BMUV and the competent Länder ministries of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg represent Germany in the DÖE.