Application procedure and assessment
The written licence application is submitted to the licensing authority of the Land in which the nuclear installation is located. Along with the application, the applicant must append or subsequently submit all documents required to determine whether the licensing criteria have been met.
The type and scope of the required documents are stipulated in Sections 2 and 3 of the Nuclear Licensing Procedure Ordinance (AtVfV). The documents’ format is specified in more detail in various guidelines.
Particular importance is attached to the safety report, in which the applicant must describe the project’s impacts in terms of nuclear safety and radiation protection, and, in particular, explain how the requisite precautions have been taken against damage, based on the latest knowledge in the field of science and technology. The purpose of the report is to enable third parties to determine whether their rights may be infringed by the project.
On the basis of the submitted documents, the licensing authority assesses whether or not the licensing criteria have been met.
This assessment focuses mainly on safety issues. In addressing these issues, it is common practice for the licensing authority concerned to engage technical safety organisations such as Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit (GRS) gGmbH or the technical inspections agencies to review and evaluate the application documents. In their written safety evaluation reports, these specialised organisations explain whether or not they consider the nuclear safety and radiation protection criteria to have been met.
The licensing authority makes an assessment and arrives at a decision on the basis of its own judgement; it is not bound by the experts’ opinion.
As the Länder implement the nuclear energy legislation on behalf of the Federation (this is known as execution by the Länder on federal commission), the licensing authority informs the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) prior to granting the licence if:
- it considers the licensing procedure to be significant,
- the criteria issued by the BMUV have been met, or
- the licensing authority deems it necessary to involve the Federation in the individual case.
In performing this federal supervision, the BMUV approaches its advisory commissions and, if necessary, external experts for advice and technical support. Where required, the BMUV states its position to the relevant Land authority.