Cooperation between the Federation
and the Länder
The Länder Committee for Nuclear Energy (LAA) and its sub-committees play a key role in the cooperation between the Federation and the Länder. Set up in 1956, this permanent Federation-Länder committee is composed of representatives of the licensing and supervisory authorities of the Länder and representatives of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). It is chaired and managed by the BMU. It generally adopts its decisions unanimously.
The Committee’s task is to prepare and coordinate the activities of the Federation and the Länder relating to the implementation of the Atomic Energy Act, to prepare amendments and to further develop legal and administrative provisions and secondary regulations. In the context of law-making, the Committee is an important forum for early and full involvement of the Länder, supplementing their formal right to participate in the legislative process through the Bundesrat.
This form of voluntary cooperation is distinct from formal action which the Federation may take unilaterally in the exercise of federal oversight. The competent licensing and supervisory authorities report to the Federal Government, upon request, on the implementation of laws. For this purpose the Federal Government may require the submission of reports and documents and send commissioners to all authorities (Article 85, paragraph 4 of the Basic Law). In addition, the BMU, as the highest federal authority, may issue binding instructions to the Land authorities in individual cases (Article 85, paragraph 3 of the Basic Law). The Federation may decide to exercise the substantive competence itself, i.e. it may take a decision on the matter, by issuing instructions to the Länder, as is its right. In all cases, however, the Länder remain responsible for implementing the decision vis-à-vis the applicant or licence holder.