On 24 September 2008 the German government noted with approval the third report by the Federal Republic of Germany on measures taken to implement the obligations under the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, submitted by the Federal Environment Ministry. The report - drawn up in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Contracting Parties - was submitted to the depositary of the Convention, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, on 9 October 2008.
To date, 46 countries have ratified the Convention. The Federal Public of Germany became a Contracting Party on 13 October 1998.
The aims of the Convention are:
- to achieve and maintain a high safety standard of disposal facilities worldwide,
- to develop and preserve in the long term efficient measures to safeguard against possible hazardous incidents with radiological safety implications in disposal facilities.
Whether and in how far the Contracting Parties fulfil these aims is reviewed at the Meeting of the Contracting Parties which takes place every three years. The Contracting Parties are obligated to submit written reports which are discussed and evaluated during the meetings. Both the First and the Second Review Meeting took place in Vienna in November 2003 and May 2006 respectively. The Third Review Meeting will take place in Vienna from 11 to 20 May 2009.
The recently adopted third national report describes how Germany fulfils its obligations to the Convention and substantiates that the Convention's safety standards for disposal facilities are adhered to. This is achieved by continuously updating nuclear energy legislation and by sustainable technological improvement of the respective facilities. Developing nuclear safety further means adapting disposal facilities to the latest state of the art of science and technology today and in future.
The German government considers itself to have a particular responsibility to work towards a sustainable improvement of safety in the disposal sector at the international level as well. It meets this responsibility by exchanging experience at bilateral and multilateral level.
The German government strongly advocates that the Joint Convention be used as an efficient instrument to improve the safety of nuclear disposal facilities worldwide and to approximate safety requirements at a high level.
The cut-off date for the report is 31 March 2008; up to this date all important developments regarding the disposal of radioactive waste and spent fuel in Germany have been taken into account. However, the report also refers to the current developments regarding the Asse mine, including the envisaged change of operators. A comprehensive, technically sound briefing of international experts cannot take place prior to the Review Meeting in Vienna in May 2009 as the report had to be submitted to the IAEA by 11 October 2008 at the latest.
For the Report of the Federal Republic of Germany for the Third Review Meeting, 120 questions were posed in writing by the other 48 Contracting Parties to the Joint Convention.These questions and the answers of the German government have been compiled in a file.
The results of the Third Review Meeting and the results of the presentation and discussion of the German report have been summarised in a report; the annex to this report contains the rapporteur's report on Germany's presentation and discussion.