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Bilateral collaboration in the field of nuclear safety

Germany has signed bilateral agreements with 59 countries on the safety of nuclear power plants and on radiation protection.

Germany has entered into bilateral agreements with eight neighbouring countries regarding the exchange of information on nuclear installations located in border regions. An extensive network of contacts exists between Germany and Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Joint commissions and expert groups were set up with each of these countries. Annual consultations are held to discuss issues of nuclear safety and radiation protection.

The following commissions and panels of experts maintain regular contact:

German-Belgian Nuclear Commission (DBK)

In December 2016, the German-Belgian Nuclear Agreement on the exchange of information and experiences as well as cooperation in the field of nuclear safety, radiation protection and safety and disposal of spent fuel and radioactive waste came into effect. This 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, responsible for the supervision of the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control of the Kingdom of Belgium. The reason for the negotiation of this nuclear agreement was, in particular, the decision to reactivate the Belgian nuclear power plants Doel 3 and Tihange 2 at the end of 2015. This led to great public concern in Germany, particularly among those living in the border regions, but also further afield. The agreement serves as a reliable basis for open and critical discussion between Germany and Belgium on key issues of nuclear safety.

The agreement specifically provides for the establishment of a German-Belgian Nuclear Commission which will convene in 2017 for the first time and determine topics to be discussed further. In addition to nuclear safety, the future collaboration will also include other areas of operation, mentioned in the agreements’ title.

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German-French Commission (DFK)

The aim of the German-French Commission is to address issues concerning the safety of nuclear installations. The Commission originated from an exchange of letters in 1976 between Germany's Federal Minister of the Interior, at the time responsible for issues of nuclear safety and radiation protection, and the French Industry Minister concerning an agreement to cooperate on matters of radiation protection. This agreement arose from the construction of nuclear power plants in the border regions of Germany and France, and the resulting need for mutual information concerning national safety regulations. The Commission is therefore intended as a platform for mutual exchange of information and cooperation.

On the German side, the Commission is made up of experts from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), as well as from Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland Palatinate, and the Saarland. Membership is also extended to several external specialists. The Commission currently fields four working groups:

  • WG 1 Safety of Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs)
  • WG 2 Emergency response planning
  • WG 3 Radiation protection
  • WG 4 Radiation protection outside nuclear facilities

The "Vereinbarung zwischen der Regierung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Regierung der Französischen Republik über den Informationsaustausch bei Vorkommnissen oder Unfällen, die radiologische Auswirkungen haben können" (“Agreement between the government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the government of the French Republic concerning the exchange of information on incidents or accidents which might have radiological impacts”) came into effect in August 1981.

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German-Swiss Commission (DSK)

The German-Swiss Commission (DSK) serves to address issues concerning the safety of nuclear facilities and was founded to implement the "Vereinbarung zwischen der Regierung der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft und der Regierung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland über die gegenseitige Unterrichtung beim Bau und Betrieb grenznaher kerntechnischer Einrichtungen" ("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") which came 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 particularly applies to pending licensing procedures, and specifically aims to protect the lawful interests of the relevant neighbouring state. In addition, the DSK is responsible for forwarding and analysing issues of interest to both sides associated with the safety of nuclear facilities, radiation protection, emergency planning and the management of radioactive waste.

Four working groups exist to examine any pending issues:

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

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German-Dutch Commission (NDKK)

The German-Dutch collaboration originated from an exchange of letters and memos in September/October 1977 between the Federal Minister of the Interior, at the time responsible for issues of nuclear safety and radiation protection, and the Dutch Minister for Public Health, Environmental Protection and Social Affairs concerning the exchange of information and collaboration with relation to nuclear facilities located in border regions.

The German-Dutch Commission conducts in-depth appraisals of issues of mutual interest in specialist working groups. As direct neighbours to the Dutch, North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony attend Commission meetings and are also represented in the following working groups:

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

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German-Czech Commission (DTK)

The German-Czech Commission serves to supply information to both countries on safety-related events and nuclear legislation. Issues surrounding the safety of border region Temelin and Isar power plants are one particular focus. In addition to the Czech supervisory and licensing body - the State Office for Nuclear Safety (SUJB) - and Germany's BMUB, representatives from the neighbouring German states of Bavaria and Saxony also attend the meetings.

The "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" (“Agreement between the government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the government of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic”) came into effect in August 1990 and serves as a basis.

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German-Austrian Panel of Nuclear Experts (DÖE)

The collaboration of the German-Austrian Panel of Nuclear Experts is based on the "Abkommen zwischen der Regierung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Regierung der Republik Österreich über Informations- und Erfahrungsaustausch auf dem Gebiet des Strahlenschutzes" ("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"). Priority is given to issues of radiation protection, research reactor safety, and nuclear waste management. Issues concerning the safety of the Temelin and Isar nuclear power plants are also addressed. Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg attend meetings of the DÖE.

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Last update: 17.02.2017

Further information

International cooperation