On 28 September 2005, the German Cabinet endorsed the second report of the Federal Republic of Germany presented by the Federal Environment Ministry to comply with the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. The report - drawn up according to a regulation agreed by the Contracting Parties - was submitted to the Depositary for the Convention, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, on 11 October 2005.
At present, a total of 34 states have ratified the Convention. The Federal Republic of Germany has been a Contracting Party since 13 October 1998.
The objectives of the Convention are:
- to achieve and maintain a high level of safety in radioactive waste management facilities worldwide,
- to establish provisions against potential hazards with radiological consequences from radioactive waste management facilities and safeguard them in the long term.
The Conferences of the Parties, which take place regularly at three-year intervals, review if and to what extent the Contracting Parties meet these objectives. For this purpose, the Contracting Parties are obliged to submit written reports that are discussed and evaluated during the conferences. The first such conference took place in Vienna in November 2003. The second review meeting is scheduled for May 2006.
The second German report, which has now been adopted, shows that Germany fulfils the obligations laid down in the Convention and demonstrates the required safety level for its radioactive waste management facilities. This has been achieved by continuously upgrading nuclear energy regulations and by carrying out sustainable technological improvements to the installations concerned. Enhancing nuclear safety means that existing and future radioactive waste management facilities are adapted to the scientific and technological state of the art.
The German government assumes a special responsibility in bringing about a sustainable improvement of the safety level, also for radioactive waste management facilities, on an international scale. It exercises this responsibility through bilateral and multilateral exchanges of experience. In addition to supporting Central and Eastern European countries by sharing know-how, it also provides practical assistance there, in particular in the framework of G8 partnership projects.
The German government will make every effort to ensure that the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management is used as an effective instrument for improving the safety of radioactive waste management facilities worldwide and harmonising the pertinent safety requirements at a high level.