Since 2002, no further licences have been issued for commercial nuclear power plants. Essential modifications to existing nuclear power plants or their operation continue to be possible but require a licence (Section 7, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the German Atomic Energy Act).

The competent licensing authority must involve in the licensing procedure all federal, Land and municipal authorities whose spheres of competence are affected; examples are the building, water, regional planning and disaster risk management authorities. Independent experts are generally commissioned and public consultations take place. This ensures that the licensing authority can take proper account of all stakeholders’ concerns and interests.