Country profile: Germany

Summary figures for 2016

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.

Number of nuclear power plants connected to the grid
Nuclear electricity generation
(net TWh) 2016
Nuclear percentage of total electricity supply
OECD Europe
OECD Total
1 877.5
NEA Total
2 061.1

* 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 a plan approval 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 repository for heat generating radioactive waste in particular is to be erected at a site yet to be identified.

Therefore, the German parliament's Commission on Storage of High-Level Radioactive Waste (the Commission) was set up pursuant to Section 3 of the Site Selection Act. 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, and in particular high-level, radioactive waste that shall ensure the best possible safety for a period of one million years through a science based and transparent process.

In July 2016, the commission presented its report to the federal parliament and the federal government. The report contains recommendations on the implementation of the site selection process, including decision criteria, as well as on general aspects of radioactive waste management. An amendment of the Site Selection Act, incorporating the commission's recommendations, is in preparation.

Two individual recommendations have already been implemented during the summer of 2016: the National Societal Commission has been established as an independent observer of the site selection process that can also act as a mediator if conflicts arise. It 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.

Also in summer 2016, the Agency for the Disposal of Nuclear Waste (Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung, BGE) was founded as a limited liability company in federal ownership, which is to become 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 (BfE) has taken up its duties as the sole licensing authority for nuclear waste management and regulator of the site selection process. The organisational measures to implement the new structure of authorities are currently under way.

Redistribution of responsibility for nuclear waste management

In December 2016, the German parliament adopted new regulations introducing 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 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 will continue to bear the full responsibility for the decommissioning and dismantling of NPPs. On the other hand, the state will assume responsibility for the management and financing of interim and final storage. The funds for the interim and final storage will be provided by the NPP operators. For this purpose, they will be obliged to transfer about EUR 17.5 billion to a public fund – this corresponds to the total amount of provisions built by energy companies in order to finance the management of nuclear waste. The NPP operators will also have the opportunity to pay a voluntary risk surcharge, amounting to a total of EUR 6.3 billion, in order not to be obliged to provide additional capital to the fund in case of a capital shortage in the future. The fund collecting the payments of the NPP operators will be set up as a foundation under public law. It will invest the funds provided by the NPP operators and reimburse the costs incurred by the state in connection with the interim and final storage of nuclear waste.

The new regulations are expected to enter into force in the first half of 2017, after the finalisation of the state aid approval process that is currently being conducted by the European Commission.

Source: Nuclear Energy Data 2017

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Last reviewed: 6 November 2017