Country profile: Germany

Summary figures for 2017

The following information is from the NEA publication Nuclear Energy Data, the annual compilation of official statistics and country reports on nuclear energy in OECD member countries.

Country Number of nuclear power plants connected to the grid Nuclear electricity generation (net TWh) Nuclear percentage of total electricity supply
Germany 7 72.0 (b) 11.6
OECD Europe127774.421.7
OECD Total3111 856.817.6
NEA Total 352 2 062.6 17.9
(b) Preliminary data.

Country report

Nuclear waste management

Germany's 2015 Programme for the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste (National Programme) foresees two disposal facilities for radioactive waste. The Konrad disposal facility, which is in the process of being constructed, has approval of the plan to take in up to 303 000 m3 of radioactive waste with negligible heat generation, originating predominantly from the dismantling of NPPs. In addition, a disposal facility for high-level radioactive waste is to be erected at a site yet to be identified. Fundamental for the National Programme is the principle of disposal as a national responsibility. For this reason, and in accordance with the European Union Council directive 2011/70/Euratom, no agreements will be made between the Federal Republic of Germany and other states that would enable the export of radioactive waste including spent fuel from NPPs for the purpose of disposal outside Germany.

The siting procedure for the high-level radioactive waste disposal facility was laid down in the 2017 amendment of the Site Selection Act, incorporating the recommendations of the German Parliament's Commission on Storage of High-Level Radioactive Waste. The act prescribes an open-ended and unbiased site selection process, starting from a "blank map" of Germany. The goal is to find a disposal site on German territory for domestic high-level radioactive waste that will ensure the best possible safety for a period of one million years in a participative, science-based, transparent, self-critical and learning process.

During the summer of 2016, the Federal Company for Radioactive Waste Disposal (Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung, BGE) was founded as a limited liability company in federal ownership. Since April 2017, the BGE is the sole implementer for all disposal projects in Germany, including the site selection process. In parallel, the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (Bundesamt für kerntechnische Entsorgungssicherheit, BfE) has taken up its duties as the sole licensing authority for nuclear waste management and the sole supervising authority of the site selection process.

Since October 2016, the National Citizens' Oversight Committee (Nationales Begleitgremium, NBG) has been acting as an independent observer of the site selection process, while also acting as a mediator if conflicts arise. The committee currently consists of six respected notabilities that were elected by Parliament and three members of the public, including one youth representative. These members were selected in a random-based process and appointed by the Federal Minister for the Environment. During 2018, the NBG will reach its intended size of 18 members through the election or appointment of another 9 members.

Redistribution of responsibility for nuclear waste management

On 16 June 2017, the "Reorganising Responsibility for Nuclear Waste Management" Act entered into force. This act implements the recommendations of the Commission to review financing for the phase- out of nuclear energy and introduces a new model for the allocation of responsibilities regarding the decommissioning and dismantling of NPPs and the management of nuclear waste. The new model modifies the existing nuclear liabilities and responsibilities of the NPP operators in Germany, and ensures that the long-term financing of the nuclear phase-out is secured. At the same time, the new model also provides that the companies are in a position to meet their long-term obligations under the Atomic Energy Act without putting their financial stability at risk.

Under the new regulations, the NPP operators continue to bear full responsibility for the decommissioning and dismantling of NPPs. On the other hand, the state bears all operational and financial responsibilities in relation to the storage and disposal of nuclear waste. NPP operators have the obligation to provide the funds for the financing of the storage and disposal of nuclear waste. On 3 July 2017, the NPP operators transferred a total of EUR 24.1 billion to a public law fund established with the entry into force of the Act on the Reorganisation of Responsibility in Nuclear Waste Management. The funds provided by the NPP operators consisted of a so-called basic amount – EUR 17.93 billion in total – and an optional risk premium amounting to a total of EUR 6.21 billion, paid by the NPP operators in order to avoid the obligation of having to provide additional capital to the public fund in the case of unexpected additional costs in the future. The public fund is tasked with investing the capital provided by the NPP operators and with reimbursing the costs incurred by the state in connection with the interim and final storage of nuclear waste.

On 26 June 2017, the German government and the energy utilities operating in Germany signed a contract confirming the division of responsibility laid out in the Act Reorganising Responsibility for Nuclear Waste Management. The contract provides long-term legal certainty for both the Federation and the utilities, and puts an end to a number of legal disputes between energy companies and the state regarding matters linked to nuclear waste management and the nuclear phase-out.

Source: Nuclear Energy Data 2018