Atomic Energy Act (Germany)

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Basic data
Title: Law on the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy and Protection against its Dangers
Short title: Atomic Act
Abbreviation: AtomG, AtG
Type: Federal law
Scope: Federal Republic of Germany
Legal matter: Commercial administrative law , energy law
References : 751-1
Original version from: December 23, 1959
( BGBl. I p. 814 )
Entry into force on: January 1, 1960
New announcement from: July 15, 1985
( BGBl. I p. 1565 )
Last change by: Art. 239 VO of June 19, 2020
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1328, 1356 )
Effective date of the
last change:
June 27, 2020
(Art. 361 of June 19, 2020)
Weblink: Text of the law
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.

The German Atomic Energy Act is the legal basis for the use of nuclear energy and for protection against the harmful effects of ionizing radiation in Germany . It came into force in its original version in 1960; In Berlin, paragraphs 40 to 52 did not come into force until October 20, 1961. The legal matter can be assigned in the broadest sense to special administrative law or, more precisely, to environmental law . The Atomic Energy Act is also the basis for various statutory instruments . These are the implementing ordinances for the Atomic Energy Act (Nuclear Waste Shipment Ordinance, Nuclear Security Provision Ordinance, Cost Ordinance for the Atomic Energy Act, Nuclear Safety Officer and Reporting Ordinance , Nuclear Procedural Ordinance , Nuclear Reliability Review Ordinance, Final Storage Provision Ordinance ) - and was also the basis of the Radiation Protection Ordinance and the X-ray Protection Ordinance until December 31, 2018 .

In particular, since its purpose was changed by the Atomic Phase-Out Act of 2002, it has provided the framework for the orderly termination of the operation of stationary nuclear facilities for the commercial generation of electricity (see nuclear phase-out).

Structure of the law and important provisions

The Atomic Energy Act is divided into six sections. While the first section, the General Regulations ( §§ 1 and 2 ), deals with the purpose of the law and definitions, the following sections include: a. Paragraphs to

The approval of nuclear power plants and other nuclear facilities for the splitting, generation, treatment and processing of nuclear fuels is regulated in Section 7 . The permit requirement also applies to the decommissioning, safe enclosure and dismantling of these facilities. Outside of these facilities, the handling of nuclear fuels is also subject to approval ( Section 9 ).

Before granting a license, the competent authority checks whether the nuclear licensing requirements are met. In the case of nuclear power plants and other nuclear facilities (permits in accordance with Section 7 AtG), the scope of testing includes, for example, the reliability of the permit holder, special knowledge and expertise of the staff, precautionary measures against damage, protection against disruptive measures by third parties and provision for compliance with statutory obligations to pay compensation. The same applies to other permits under the AtG. These are both personal and factual approval requirements, without which approval cannot be granted.

For certain nuclear law projects (construction, operation, decommissioning , safe enclosure , dismantling) there is an obligation to carry out an environmental impact assessment in accordance with Section 2a . The Environmental Impact Assessment Act (UVPG) regulates which projects are affected . The approval authority assigns the plant terms mentioned in the UVPG to the terms used in the Atomic Energy Act, which is not always clear.

The transport and storage of nuclear fuels (see also nuclear waste transport ) outside of government custody must also be approved ( Sections 4 and 6 ).


§ 7 AtG played an important role in the history of nuclear energy and the public debate. The controversy reached its peak in the 1970s.

In 1994 the then Federal President Herzog had constitutional concerns about drafting an amendment to the Atomic Energy Act . He did not refuse to copy it, but wrote his concerns to the Federal Chancellor, the President of the Bundestag and the President of the Bundesrat.

Amendment 2002

The amendment of the Atomic Energy Act of 2002 legally secured the agreement between the federal government and the energy supply companies of June 14, 2000. In this agreement (also known as the atomic consensus ), the four large energy supply companies active in Germany had accepted the decision of the federal government and the legislature to reassess the risks of using atomic energy.

The key points of the amendment to the law that came into force on April 27, 2002 included the prohibition of the construction of new commercial nuclear power plants and the limitation of the normal term of the existing nuclear power plants to an average of 32 years since commissioning. The law stipulated that from January 1, 2000, a maximum of 2.62 million gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity could be generated in German nuclear power plants . This amount was added up from the remaining electricity volumes that were allocated to the individual systems depending on their age. However, the residual amounts of electricity from older systems could be transferred to newer systems. A transfer of electricity from newer systems to older systems was not ruled out, but was described as an exceptional case that required the approval of the Federal Environment Ministry. Because of this flexible regulation, the exact shutdown date for the individual systems was not specified. It was assumed that the last nuclear power plant would shut down around 2021. According to the Federal Office for Radiation Protection , which monitored the handling of these quantities of electricity, 1.34 million gigawatt hours of the 2.62 million GWh on December 31, 2008 were still left. A year and a half later, 0.95 million gigawatt hours remained. In terms of the amount of nuclear power granted, the nuclear phase-out was around 53 percent at the end of 2008 and around 62 percent at the end of June 2010.

In addition, the Atomic Energy Act contained the following provisions in particular:

  • For the first time, the obligation to carry out regular safety inspections of nuclear power plants was laid down in law.
  • The disposal of spent fuel elements was restricted to direct disposal, i.e. the transfer of spent fuel elements from nuclear power plants to reprocessing plants was prohibited from July 1, 2005. Since that date, transports of German nuclear waste to the reprocessing plants in La Hague (France) and Sellafield (England) could no longer be authorized.
  • The operators of the nuclear power plants were obliged to set up and use interim storage facilities for spent fuel elements at the locations of their plants.
  • The maximum limit of financial security for nuclear power plants has been increased tenfold to 2.5 billion euros. “Financial security” is understood to mean the amount for which the nuclear power plant operators must take out liability insurance in the event of nuclear damage. The operators only have unlimited liability with their entire assets if it is not a matter of serious natural disasters, armed conflicts or the like.

By the end of 2005, two German nuclear power plants had been shut down due to these regulations. Just a few weeks after the signing of the nuclear consensus agreement, E.ON Kernkraft announced the premature decommissioning of the Stade nuclear power plant, which it did on November 11, 2003. On May 11, 2005, the Obrigheim nuclear power plant was decommissioned. The electricity volumes for the Biblis  A, Biblis B and Neckarwestheim 1 reactors were already so exhausted that they should have been switched off after the 2010 nuclear consensus. According to the consensus, the remaining electricity from Brunsbüttel lasted until 2011.

Amendment 2010

The coalition agreement of the federal government, which was concluded for the 17th legislative period in 2009, provides for an extension of the service life of existing nuclear power plants, which goes beyond the times agreed in the nuclear consensus. The construction of further nuclear power plants continues to be rejected. In the spring of 2010, the government examined whether to extend the term by several decades.

The German Bundestag decided on October 28, 2010 with a black and yellow majority that

  • the operating times of the seven plants built before 1980 were extended by 8 years and
  • that of the ten other nuclear power plants will be extended by 14 years.

There were protests from organizations and the population against this decision. Nine federal states and three parliamentary groups ( Greens , Die Linke and SPD ) announced a constitutional lawsuit because they consider the new amendment to the Atomic Energy Act to be a law that requires approval . The bill was introduced as a parliamentary group (CDU / CSU and FDP) from the middle of the German Bundestag. The German Bundestag has denied that the Bundesrat is required to give its consent .

The Federal President signed the Eleventh Act amending the Atomic Energy Act - it also contains the term extensions - on December 8, 2010. Its amendments came into force on December 14, 2010.

Amendment 2011

A few days after the start of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, the federal government decided to change its nuclear and energy policy significantly . First, it announced a three-month nuclear moratorium for the seven oldest German nuclear power plants and for the Krümmel nuclear power plant . On June 30, the Bundestag voted with a large majority in favor of the nuclear phase-out and passed a further law to amend the Atomic Energy Act of July 31, 2011. On July 8, the Federal Council approved the amended Atomic Energy Act and six accompanying laws. Federal President Wulff signed it on August 1, 2011, and the amended law came into force on August 6, 2011.

Web links

See also

Individual evidence

  1. a b no official abbreviation
  2. B. Heuel-Fabianek: Transfer of nuclear licenses for the spin-off and spin-off of parts of the company. in: The new radiation protection law - exposure situations and disposal, 49th annual conference of the Association for Radiation Protection, 09. – 12. October 2017 in Hanover, proceedings, pp. 31–34, ISSN 1013-4506
  3. B. Heuel-Fabianek, R. Lennartz: The examination of the environmental compatibility of projects in nuclear law. Radiation Protection PRACTICE, 3/2009
  4. Hans Michaelis: Handbuch der Kernenergie , Volume 1, page 347 ff., Dtv 1982
  5. Act to secure the use of hard coal in electricity generation and to amend the Atomic Energy Act; see on the legislative procedure in the documentation and information system of the German Bundestag , 12th electoral term, document 12020706 (data record number)
  6. The law was promulgated on July 19, 1994 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1618 ).
  7. ; See the press release by Federal President Roman Herzog on the drafting of the law on safeguarding the use of hard coal in electricity generation and on the amendment to the Atomic Energy Act and the Electricity Feed Act of June 21, 1994 .
  8. - remaining battery life and locations in Germany (accessed on August 12, 2009) ( Memento from March 1, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  9. Ten years of phasing out nuclear power: Milestone as a crucial test , Focus Online from June 14, 2010.
  10. a b - Federal Office for Radiation Protection Annual Report 2010 ( Memento from September 15, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 15 kB)
  11. ^ Coalition agreement with the extension of the term of the nuclear power plant but the prohibition of new construction , article in the financial news from October 24, 2009.
  12. ↑ Nuclear power stations of up to 60 years , article in the taz from March 26, 2010
  13. Agreement on extension of the service life of nuclear power plants There links to the two amendments to the Atomic Energy Act (17/3051, 17/3052), the establishment of an energy and climate fund (17/3053) and the Nuclear Fuel Tax Act (17/3054)
  14. of December 8, 2010: Wulff signs atomic laws
  15. ^ Changes to the Atomic Energy Act
  16. Bundestag decides to phase out nuclear power ( memento of the original from October 13, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ,  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  17. Atomic consensus in the Federal Council ( Memento of November 16, 2011 in the Internet Archive ),
  18. Wulff signs nuclear phase-out law
  19. Thirteenth Act to Amend the Atomic Energy Act. (No longer available online.) Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), June 6, 2011, archived from the original on April 8, 2014 ; Retrieved April 5, 2014 .