Reportable events

The Ordinance on the Nuclear Safety Officer and the Reporting of Incidents and other Events (AtSMV) of 14 October 1992 (Federal Law Gazette I page 1766) made the obligation for nuclear facility licencees to report reportable events (ranging from operational malfunctions and incidents to accidents) to the relevant supervisory authority legally binding. The purpose of the reporting procedures is to supervise plant safety and improve it using the knowledge gained from the reported events. This means that reported events play a key part in the early detection of defects at a plant while also helping to detect and/or prevent similar occurrences at other plants. Reportable events having occurred are divided into reporting categories, based on an initial engineering assessment.

In Germany, the Länder (federal states) are responsible for the supervision and surveillance of nuclear facilities. Within the scope of federal executive administration, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) exercises federal supervision of the states and ensures that safety-related principles and requirements are uniformly applied.

Nuclear facility licencees will first report reportable events to the responsible state authority, which will then forward this information to the Federal Environment Ministry and the Incident Registration Centre operated by the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BASE), and to the expert body appointed by the BMUV, the Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit (GRS) gGmbH. The respective state authority will then assess the licencee report – together with an expert if required – and take appropriate action as and where necessary.

The Incident Registration Centre operated by BASE is charged with recording and documenting all reportable events that occur in German nuclear facilities (nuclear power plants in particular) which are forwarded by the respective state supervisory authority to BASE. The Incident Registration Centre then assesses these events on behalf of the BMUV and supports it in providing the general public with regular updates on reportable events and publishing such details online. In addition to monthly reports, BASE also prepares annual reports on reportable events, categorised into nuclear power plants, research reactors and nuclear fuel cycle facilities. A special online archive also enables access to reports from previous years that include information on reporting process, a map showing where the nuclear facilities subject to reportable events are located, and the current status of each facility.

The BMUV commissions GRS to assess both domestic and international events as well as other findings to determine whether any of the collected information can be used at other nuclear facilities. In order to achieve a broad range of scientific views, other experts such as the Physikerbüro Bremen and the Oeko-Institut e.V. (Institute for Applied Ecology) are also called upon. Following approval by the BMUV, GRS also issues information notices containing recommendations for safety-related improvements at German nuclear power plants.

Last updated: 19.07.2022

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