Safety Standards of the Nuclear Safety Standards Commission

The safety standards of the Nuclear Safety Standards Commission (KTA safety standards) specify, among other things, the safety requirements of the general regulations (“Safety Requirements for Nuclear Power Plants” and their “Interpretations”) and put them into concrete terms.

The Nuclear Safety Standards Commission (KTA) is formed at the BMU. It has the task to ensure the establishment of safety standards in fields of nuclear technology where consensus is emerging between experts of the manufacturers and licence holders of nuclear installations and of authorised experts and the authorities, and to support their application.

The KTA is composed of seven expert members from each of the following groups:

  • manufacturers and builders of nuclear installations,
  • licence holders of nuclear installations,
  • the Land (state) authorities responsible for executing the AtG in the case of nuclear installations and the federal authority responsible for exercising supervision in accordance with Articles 85 and 87c of the Basic Law
  • consultants and consultancy organisations, and
  • other authorities, organisations and bodies concerned with nuclear technology.

The KTA is governed by an Executive Committee consisting of one member and one deputy each from the groups of manufacturers, licence holders, authorities and authorised experts. The members of the Executive Committee elect a chairperson from among their number.

Managing the affairs of the KTA is the responsibility of an office set up at the BASE. This office is led by a managing director in accordance with the technical instructions given by the Executive Committee.

The safety standards of the KTA are drafted by experts in subcommittees and special work-ing bodies and adopted by the KTA. The five groups are equally represented in the KTA with seven out of a total of 35 votes each. A safety standard will only be adopted if five sixth of the members give their approval. Thus, no group voting unanimously can be outvoted.

The KTA safety standards are part of the substatutory regulations and are not legally binding per se. Their function is to specify the general requirements for precautions against damage as are necessary in the light of the state of the art in science and technology for their scope of application. Due to their development process, they are legally classified as anticipating expert opinions and thus have a legally binding effect. If the requirements of the KTA safety standard are complied with, the damage precautions as are necessary in the light of the state of the art in science and technology have generally also been taken.

Historically, the KTA safety standards developed on the basis of applicable national nuclear rules and regulations and American nuclear safety standards. For example, the ASME Code (American Society of Mechanical Engineers Code) (Section III) was the model for the design and calculation of components.

The KTA safety standards relate to

  • organisational issues and occupational health and safety (specific additions in the field of nuclear safety),
  • plant and structural engineering,
  • operation,
  • electrical and I&C systems,
  • mechanical components,
  • reactor core and system design, and
  • radiological protection.

Quality assurance and quality management play an important role. This aspect is addressed in most of the safety standards. The quality assurance concept of the KTA safety standards also includes the field of ageing, which is internationally treated as a separate issue today. There are also separate KTA safety standards for management systems and ageing man-agement. The KTA programme of standards currently comprises 97 standards. Of these, 88 safety standards will remain applicable after 2022, nine are no longer part of the revision process. Currently, five of the 97 standards are in the revision process.

The regulatory power of the legislator and administrative action by the competent nuclear licensing and supervisory authorities are not restricted by the KTA process.

Conventional technical standards

For the construction and operation of nuclear installations, conventional technical standards apply as a supplement. This is particularly the case for the national standards of the German Institute for Standardization (DIN) as well as the international standards of ISO and IEC (In-ternational Electrotechnical Commission).

In this respect, the requirements of the conventional technical standards are to be referred to as a minimum standard for nuclear systems and components. Moreover, provisions of the Federation and the Länder relating to nuclear law shall not be affected to the extent that other or more stringent requirements are made or permitted by them.