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In Germany, the supervisory system reflects the country’s federal structure. It ensures continuous regulatory supervision in accordance with Section 19 of the Atomic Energy Act (AtG) and related ordinances applicable to the nuclear sector.

In the Länder, the task of supervising the nuclear sector is undertaken by the competent authorities on behalf of the Federation. This means that the Federation is responsible for supervising the legality and expediency of the action taken by the Länder authorities. The Federation may, in individual cases, issue binding instructions to the Länder on substantive and legal issues. Pursuant to Article 19 of the Atomic Energy Act, the supervisory authorities’ primary tasks are to monitor:

  • compliance with the provisions, obligations and ancillary provisions set forth in the licence notices,
  • compliance with the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act, the ordinances issued under the Act and the other nuclear safety standards and guidelines, and
  • compliance with any supervisory order.

In order to ensure safety, the supervisory authority, also with the assistance of the authorised experts and other authorities, monitors:

  • compliance with the safety-relevant operating procedures,
  • the performance of in-service inspections of safety-relevant components and systems,
  • the evaluation of reportable events,
  • the implementation of modifications to the nuclear installation or its operation,
  • radiation protection monitoring of personnel in nuclear installations,
  • radiation protection monitoring of the environment,
  • compliance with the plant-specific authorised limits for radioactive discharges,
  • the measures taken against disruption or other interference by third parties,
  • the reliability of the licence holder and other responsible persons,
  • the technical qualifications and the maintenance of the qualifications of the responsible persons, and the knowledge held by personnel otherwise engaged at the installation,
  • and the quality assurance measures.

The supervisory authority and its experts may access the plant at any time and are entitled to carry out necessary examinations and to demand pertinent information from the operator (Section 20 in conjunction with Section 19, paragraph 2 of the Atomic Energy Act). The decision on supervisory measures is taken by the supervisory authority, which is not bound by the experts’ assessments.

Nuclear power plants are subject to continuous supervision by the authorities; on-site supervisory activities are performed, on average, several times per week at each installation.

Pursuant to Section 6 of the Nuclear Safety Officer and Reporting Ordinance (AtSMV), nuclear power plant operators must report incidents, accidents and other events of significance to nuclear safety to the supervisory authority. In addition, operators must submit regular reports on specific issues.