Recommendations by the RSK, ESK and SSK; RSK Guidelines

On important issues concerning nuclear licensing and supervision procedures, the development of regulations and safety research, the BMUB consults its advisory commissions:

The commissions may also provide advice on their own initiative. Depending on the issue at hand, Länder authorities, experts, operators or other technically competent institutions and individuals are also consulted. The results of these consultations take the form of statements or recommendations for the BMUB. The licensing and supervisory authorities of the Länder review the recommendations and statements as part of their responsibilities during licensing and supervisory procedures, with a particular focus on site-specific relevance. They decide whether there is a need for action in the case at hand and if so, what form this action should take. They then initiate any measures that may be necessary.

KTA Safety Standards

The Nuclear Safety Standards Commission (Kerntechnischer Ausschuss – KTA) was set up by the BMUB. It comprises representatives of the following five groups: manufacturers, operators, authorities of the Federal Government and the Länder, authorised experts and, finally, representatives of public interests (e.g. trade unions, occupational health and safety institutions and liability insurers).

The office of the Nuclear Safety Standards Commission is hosted by the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BfE).

In accordance with its statutes, the KTA establishes detailed safety standards on the basis of experience gained whenever a uniform position emerges among professionals from the manufacturers, constructors and operators of nuclear installations, independent experts and public authorities. The safety standards are developed in sub-committees and working parties of experts and then adopted by the KTA. The five groups have equal representation, with each having seven out of a total of 35 votes. A safety standard is only adopted if five-sixths of the members vote in favour. This means that no group that votes unanimously can be outvoted.

The KTA safety standards pertain to

  • organisational issues,
  • occupational health and safety (specific additional requirements in the field of nuclear technology),
  • civil engineering,
  • nuclear and thermal-hydraulic design,
  • materials,
  • instrumentation and control,
  • monitoring of radioactivity,
  • other provisions. 

Quality assurance and quality management play a major role; these aspects are addressed in most of the safety standards. The term “quality assurance”, as used in the KTA safety standards, also comprises the area of ageing management, which is now treated as a separate issue at the international level. Specific KTA standards apply to management systems and ageing management.

Currently, the KTA safety standards comprise 97 safety standard projects (as at March 2017), seven of which are no longer subject to regular reviews. A total of 28 standards are currently being revised.

Conventional technical standards

In addition, conventional technical standards – primarily the national standards set by the German Institute for Standardization (DIN) and the international ISO and IEC standards – apply to the construction and operation of nuclear installations. 

These conventional technical standards are the minimum applicable to nuclear systems and components. Provisions adopted by the Federation and the Länder on the nuclear sector are not affected by the conventional standards if those provisions establish or permit other or more stringent requirements.