Bilateral nuclear safety cooperation

Germany currently has bilateral agreements on nuclear safety and radiation protection with 59 countries.

Among them are bilateral agreements with eight neighbouring countries on the exchange of information on nuclear installations located in border regions. Joint commissions and expert groups have been set up with Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Each commission/group involves Germany's Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) as well as representatives from the respective bordering Länder. Annual consultations are held alternately in the member countries to discuss, in particular, issues of nuclear safety, radiation protection and nuclear waste management.

German-Belgian Nuclear Commission (DBNK)

In December 2016 the German-Belgian Nuclear Agreement on the exchange of information and experiences and on cooperation in the field of nuclear safety, radiation protection and safety and disposal of spent fuel and radioactive waste ("German-Belgian Nuclear Agreement") came into effect. The agreement was signed by the Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Minister for Security and Home Affairs of the Kingdom of Belgium, who is responsible for the supervision of the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control. The reason for the negotiation of the nuclear agreement was, in particular, the decision to restart the Belgian Doel 3 and Tihange 2 nuclear reactors at the end of 2015. This decision gave rise to great public concern in Germany, especially in the border regions, but also far beyond. The agreement constitutes a reliable basis for both countries to engage in open and critical discussions on key issues of nuclear safety.

The agreement specifically provides for the establishment of a German-Belgian Nuclear Commission (DBNK). The Commission convened for the first time in 2017. In addition to nuclear safety, future collaboration will also address the other areas of work mentioned in the agreement's title.

German-French Commission (DFK)

The German-French Commission on nuclear safety (DFK) was founded in 1976 through an exchange of letters on cooperation on nuclear safety and radiation protection between Germany's Federal Minister of the Interior, responsible for nuclear safety and radiation protection at the time, and the French Minister of Industry. The agreement was prompted by the construction of nuclear power plants in the border regions of Germany and France and the resulting need for mutual information. Germany is represented in the DFK by the BMUB the competent Länder ministries of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland.

The DFK's three working groups cover the following topics:

  • WG 1 Safety of pressurized water reactors
  • WG 2 Emergency response planning
  • WG 3 Radiation protection

German-Swiss Commission (DSK)

The German-Swiss Commission on nuclear safety (DSK) was founded to implement the Agreement between the government of the Swiss Confederation and the government of the Federal Republic of Germany concerning the exchange of information on the construction and operation of nuclear facilities in border regions ("Vereinbarung zwischen der Regierung der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft und der Regierung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland über die gegenseitige Unterrichtung beim Bau und Betrieb grenznaher kerntechnischer Einrichtungen") which entered into force on 19 September 1983. The exchange of information on the construction and operation of nuclear facilities in border regions, specified in the agreement, applies in particular to pending licensing procedures with the aim of taking the legitimate interests of the neighbouring country into account. Another task of the DSK is to discuss and analyse issues of interest to both sides in relation to nuclear safety, radiation protection, emergency preparedness and radioactive waste management. Germany is represented in the DFK by the BMUB and the competent Länder ministries of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria.

Four working groups have been established to examine any pending issues:

  • WG 1 Plant safety
  • WG 2 Emergency response
  • WG 3 Radiation protection
  • WG 4 Radioactive waste management

German-Dutch Commission (NDKK)

German-Dutch consultations were established through an exchange of letters and a memorandum in September and October 1977 between the Federal Minister of the Interior, responsible for nuclear safety and radiation protection at the time, and the Dutch Minister for Public Health, Environmental Protection and Social Affairs concerning the exchange of information and consultations on nuclear facilities located in border regions. The German-Dutch Commission's (NDKK's) specialist working groups discuss in depth issues of mutual interest. Germany is represented in the NDKK by the BMUB and the competent Länder ministries of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony.

The NDKK has two working groups:

  • WG 1 Nuclear facilities in border regions
  • WG 2 Emergency response

German-Czech Commission (DTK)

In the German-Czech Commission (DTK), both countries supply information on safety-related events happening on their territory and nuclear legislation. The commission's activities are based on the Agreement between the government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the government of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic on the regulation of matters of common interest regarding nuclear safety and radiation protection ("Abkommen zwischen der Regierung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Regierung der Tschechischen und Slowakischen Föderativen Republik zur Regelung von Fragen gemeinsamen Interesses im Zusammenhang mit kerntechnischer Sicherheit und Strahlenschutz"). The DTK provides the framework for a mutual exchange of information on current issues, including regular updates on the two Czech nuclear power plants, Ducovany and Temelin, and on German nuclear power plants, in particular Isar. Germany is represented in the DFK by the BMUB and the competent Länder ministries Bavaria and Saxony.

German-Austrian Panel of Nuclear Experts (DÖE)

The work of the German-Austrian Panel of Nuclear Experts (DÖE) is based on the Agreement between the government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the government of the Republic of Austria concerning the exchange of information and experiences on radiation protection ("Abkommen zwischen der Regierung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Regierung der Republik Österreich über Informations- und Erfahrungsaustausch auf dem Gebiet des Strahlenschutzes"). Priority is given to issues of radiation protection, the safety of research reactors and nuclear waste management. Germany is represented in the DÖE by the BMUB and the competent Länder ministries of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.