(Updated 2019)


Germany has seven nuclear power reactors in operation and is in the process of phasing out its nuclear power programme. A total of 23 nuclear power reactors are undergoing decommissioning and three nuclear power plants have already been fully dismantled. The remaining seven nuclear power reactors in operation will be permanently shut down in a phased approach by the end of 2022.

This report provides information on the status and development of nuclear power programmes in Germany, including factors related to the effective planning, decision making and implementation of the nuclear power programme that together lead to safe and economical operation of nuclear power plants.

The CNPP summarizes organizational and industrial aspects of nuclear power programmes and provides information about the relevant legislative, regulatory and international framework in Germany.



1.1.1. Energy policy

Energy policy is, within the Federal Government, the responsibility of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi)). The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und nukleare Sicherheit (BMU)) is responsible for environmental policy within the Federal Government.

The major aim of the German energy policy is an affordable, secure and environmentally friendly energy supply. This aim shall be reached through the ongoing energy transition, where it is planned to produce energy on a sustainable basis and to maintain one of the most energy efficient and environmentally compatible economies in the world. The energy transition includes the following steps:

  • The last German nuclear power plant (NPP) will be taken off-grid by the end of 2022.

  • A greater share of renewable energy shall be used — according to the energy concept, 60% of the energy supply and 80% of electricity should be generated by renewables by 2050.

  • Germany shall become less dependent on oil and gas imports.

  • In line with the Paris Agreement, the emissions of greenhouse gases, which are harmful to the environment, shall be reduced by 80% to 95% by 2050.

  • Energy needs shall be reduced by more economical and efficient use.

  • The restructuring of the energy supply shall be a driver of innovation for Germany as an industrial base in order to generate growth and create sustainable and secure jobs.

To meet the challenges of the energy transition, the BMWi has launched a Ten Point Energy Agenda (see

1.1.2. Estimated available energy

Germany is one of the largest energy consumers in the world and is currently expanding generation capacities for primary energy from renewable sources as part of the implementation of its energy transition, and to comply with the obligations inherent in the Paris Climate Agreement signed in 2015. However, around 80% of its primary energy consumption still has to be provided by fossil fuels. Germany must import the majority of the energy resources it requires. The most significant source countries for fossil fuel imports to Germany are the Russian Federation, Norway and the Netherlands.

Around 2% of crude oil production and 10% of natural gas production are derived from domestic production. Mining of hard coal was phased out in 2018. Of all the energy resources in Germany, lignite is the only non-renewable energy resource which is available in large, economically extractable amounts — Germany supplies its own needs, and is the world’s largest producer and consumer of this resource.

The demand for natural uranium is covered almost entirely by imports. Since the closure of the Wismut facility in East Germany in 1990, there has been no mined production of natural uranium in Germany.

An overview of the estimated available energy sources in Germany is given in Table 1. The remaining potential includes reserves (proven volumes of energy resources economically exploitable at today’s prices and using today’s technology) and resources (proven amounts of energy resources which cannot currently be exploited for technical and/or economic reasons, as well as unproven but geologically possible energy resources which may be exploitable in future).


Fossil fuels Nuclear Renewables
[million t]
[million t]
[billion m3]
Total amount in specific units 155 567 268 1 574 7 000 0.006 0.114
Total amount in exajoules (EJ) 2 934.0 11.4 59.8 3.5 1.8 35.9

1 Including 70 million tonnes of shale oil resources.

2 Identified resources (reasonably assured and inferred).

3 Renewables are given as installed capacity in 2017, hydro as run-of-river, storage, and pumped storage power station with natural inflow. EJ equivalent is calculated for a period of 10 years. It is noted that the projected production for a period of 10 years is calculated to be 0.7 EJ hydro and 6.8 EJ other renewables.

Source: [1, 2].

1.1.3. Energy statistics

Table 2 gives an overview of the primary energy consumption in Germany and of the energy production from German domestic resources.


2000 2010 2015 20171 Compound
annual growth
rate (%)
2000 to 2017
Energy consumption [EJ]2
- Total ± net import 14.40 14.22 13.26 13.59 (0.6
- Solids3 3.57 3.23 3.29 3.00 (1.5
- Liquids 5.50 4.68 4.49 4.70 (1.3
- Gases 2.99 3.17 2.77 3.23 +0.1
- Nuclear 1.85 1.53 1.00 0.83 (4.6
- Hydro 0.09 0.08 0.07 0.07 (2.4
- Other/Renewables 0.40 1.59 1.81 1.95 +9.9
Energy production [EJ]
- Total 5.63 5.69 5.07 4.85 (0.9
- Solids3 2.53 1.92 1.79 1.65 (2.5
- Liquids 0.13 0.11 0.10 0.09 (2.1
- Gases 0.65 0.46 0.29 0.24 (5.7
- Nuclear4 1.85 1.53 1.00 0.83 (4.6
- Hydro 0.09 0.08 0.07 0.07 (1.5
- Other/Renewables 0.38 1.59 1.82 1.97 +10.2

1 Latest available data.

2 Energy consumption = Primary energy production + Net import (Import–Export) of secondary energy.

3 Solid fuels include coal and lignite.

4 Nuclear considered as imported energy in national energy balance.

Source: [2].


1.2.1. Electricity system and decision making process

German electricity policy is based on three fundamental objectives: sustainability, security of supply and economic efficiency. The main challenge will be the integration of an increasing number of plants generating electricity from renewable sources, including a large number of offshore wind farms in the Baltic and North Seas. Consequently, the German electricity grid and the electricity market are facing new challenges.

The Energy Industry Act (Energiewirtschaftsgesetz), together with secondary legislation enacted under it, specifies the regulatory framework governing grid access and transmission fees for electricity and gas. The objective is to provide the public with a secure, affordable, consumer-friendly, efficient and environmentally sound supply of grid electricity and gas. Enforcement lies with the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), which regulates electricity, gas, telecommunications, postal and railway networks spanning two or more federal states and network operators with more than 100 000 customers. Network operators with fewer than 100 000 customers are regulated by regulatory agencies in the individual German federal states.

1.2.2. Structure of electric power sector


Germany’s electricity supply is undergoing radical change. At present, conventional energy sources (including nuclear) generate approximately 60% of Germany’s electricity. However, the ongoing expansion of renewable energy and the phase out of nuclear energy for power generation will change the composition of the electricity mix. With 226.4 TWh in 2018, renewables accounted for 35.2% of Germany’s gross electricity production. Onshore and offshore wind provided 17.0%, biomass 6.9% and photovoltaic 7.0%.

There are more than 1000 commercial electricity producers in Germany. The four largest electricity producers are RWE AG, E.ON SE/Uniper SE, EnBW AG and Vattenfall GmbH, which contribute about 75% to the German electricity market.

Though demand for electricity is forecast to remain relatively flat, construction projects for power plants using conventional fuels and for those using renewables are currently in the planning, preparation or building phase in order to replace existing plants, particularly nuclear plants, slated for closure.


Germany has a comparatively well developed and intricately meshed electricity grid. The four transmission system operators are TenneT TSO GmbH, Amprion GmbH, TransnetBW GmbH and 50Hertz Transmission GmbH. They provide non-discriminatory third party access to their networks for all generators. All decisions on grid access and access fees can be appealed to the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) or to the respective regional regulator (Länderregulierungsbehörde). Grid fees, which cover transmission operations and investments, are charged to distributor companies, which are then passed on to the end users through retail rates. Transmission system operators charge distribution companies via a ‘postage stamp’ rate, at a single flat rate per kW of maximum demand.

Under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz (EEG)), grid system operators are required to connect plants generating electricity from renewable sources to their system at standard rates and to guarantee priority feed-in and transmission of electricity to such plants. The extension of renewables, intensified transboundary power trading and new conventional power plants are the main reasons for the plans to modernize the existing transmission grid and to build up new extra high voltage transmission lines.

The total length of the German transmission grids is about 36 000 kilometres (km) of ultra-high voltage grid. At the moment, electricity is transmitted as alternating current (AC) with a maximum voltage of 220 kilovolts (kV) or 380 kV. In the future, new high voltage direct current transmission lines are planned, with a voltage of up to 525 kV.

Germany’s grid is linked to its neighbours’ power grids via cross-border connections. The interconnection capacity is equivalent to about 15% of total capacity. Electricity is physically exchanged with nine neighbouring countries: Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland. Some of these transmission lines are already high voltage direct current systems (i.e. with Denmark) or are under construction (i.e. with Belgium and Norway). In 2018, Germany exported around 82.7 TWh of electricity to its neighbours, while importing 31.5 TWh (these are preliminary values).


At the level of the distribution grids, electricity is transmitted at high, medium and low voltages. The high voltage grid is linked to the ultra-high voltage grid and distributes electricity to urban areas (60 kV to 220 kV; grid length approximately 97 000 km). The medium voltage grid distributes the electricity to regional transformer substations or directly to large facilities (6 kV to 60 kV; grid length approximately 511 000 km). The low voltage grid distributes the power to end users (230 V or 400 V; grid length approximately 1 173 000 km). There are about 900 distribution system operators in Germany, mainly regional and municipal grid operators.

1.2.3. Main indicators

Baseload power is provided by hard coal, lignite and nuclear power plants, which typically run with a maximum number of operating hours, but can also be operated in load following operation. These plants provide about 46% of the total electricity production. At present, the proportion of renewable energy in the electricity supply is about 34%. This value is an average for the whole year, though it can reach higher levels at peak times. Phases with low renewable availability therefore need to be covered by facilities such as flexible conventional power stations to ensure the reliability of the power supply.

Table 3 gives an overview of the installed capacity of electrical plants in Germany, and of the gross electricity production in TWh. The values are reported as gross values.

Table 4 displays several energy related ratios.


2000 2010 2015 20171 Compound
annual growth
rate (%)
2000 to 2017
Capacity of electrical plants (GWe) G/N
- Thermal2 G 83.9 82.6 86.2 83.6 0.0
- Nuclear G 23.6 21.5 11.4 11.4 (4.2
- Hydro3 G 9.0 10.4 10.3 10.3 +0.8
- Wind G 6.1 26.9 44.5 55.7 +13.9
- Geothermal G 0.008 0.03 0.04
- Other/Renewables G 2.9 29.6 55.4 58.3 +19.3
- Total G 125.5 171.0 207.8 219.3 +3.3
Electricity production (TWh) G/N
- Thermal3 G 346.5 360.9 340.4 334.2 (0.2
- Nuclear G 169.6 140.6 91.8 76.3 (4.6
- Hydro4 G 29.4 27.4 24.9 26.2 (0.7
- Wind G 9.5 37.8 79.2 105.6 +15.2
- Geothermal G 0.028 0.1 0.2
- Other/Renewables G 21.5 65.8 110.4 111.1 +10.1
- Total4 G 576.6 632.4 646.9 653.7 +0.7
Total electricity consumption (TWh) G 579.6 614.7 595.1 598.7 +0.2

1 Latest available data.

2 Thermal includes hard coal, lignite, gas and oil.

3 Water mills and storage plants.

4 Electricity transmission losses are not deducted.

Source: [2].


2000 2010 2015 2017
Electricity consumption per capita (kWh/capita) 7116 7671 7300 7243
Electricity production/Energy production (%) 37 40 46 48
Nuclear/Total electricity (%) 29.4 22.2 14.2 11.7

Source: [2].



2.1.1. Overview

In the 1950s, research and development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes began. Based on extensive international cooperation, several prototype reactors were constructed, and concepts for a closed nuclear fuel cycle and for the final storage of radioactive waste in deep geological formations were elaborated. From 1956 to 1969, several nuclear research centres were founded in West Germany. Most of these research centres, as well as university institutes, were equipped with research reactors.

With the assistance of United States manufacturers, West Germany started to develop commercial nuclear power plants (Siemens/Westinghouse for pressurized water reactors (PWRs), AEG/General Electric for boiling water reactors (BWRs)). In 1958, the first West German NPP — a 16 MW(e) experimental nuclear power plant (Versuchsatomkraftwerk Kahl, VAK) — was ordered from AEG/GE, and it reached criticality in 1960. Domestic West German nuclear development began in 1961, with the order of 15 MW(e) pebble bed high temperature reactors (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Versuchsreaktor at Jülich, AVR) from the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Brown, Boveri & Cie. (BBC)/Krupp (BBC, or Asea Brown Boveri Ltd. (ABB)). Power reactors with 250–350 MW(e) and 600–700 MW(e) were ordered between 1965 and 1970.

After about 15 years, the gap between the West German and the international technological state of the art was closed. The West German nuclear industry received the first orders from abroad, from the Netherlands (Borssele) and from Argentina (Atucha). In 1972, the construction of the world’s then largest reactor, Biblis A, with 1200 MW(e), started in West Germany. Between 1970 and 1975, an average of three units was ordered annually.

In 1969, Siemens and AEG founded Kraftwerk Union (KWU) by merging their respective nuclear activities. The domestic development of KWU nuclear power plants with PWRs started. Based on several years of operational experience, a standardized 1300 MW(e) PWR (the so-called ‘Konvoi’) was introduced, mainly to speed up the licensing process. Three Konvoi units started operation in 1988 and were the last NPPs built in West Germany.

The German Democratic Republic (i.e. East Germany) started to develop a peaceful nuclear energy programme with the assistance of the Soviet Union in 1955. In 1956, the Central Institute for Nuclear Physics was founded at Rossendorf. There, in 1957, a research reactor supplied by the Soviet Union started operation. The first East German NPP, a 70 MW(e) plant at Rheinsberg, equipped with a Russian type PWR, was connected to the grid in 1966. Between 1974 and 1979, the Greifswald NPP Units 1 to 4 started operation, all equipped with Russian WWER-440/W-230 reactors. In 1989, Unit 5, a WWER-440/W-213 reactor, was in the process of being commissioned.

Following German reunification in October 1990, comprehensive safety assessments of the Soviet type NPPs were carried out. These analyses showed safety deficiencies in comparison with the current West German nuclear safety requirements. For technical and economic reasons, in particular uncertainties in the licensing process and also decreasing electricity consumption, it was decided to shut down these plants. Work on the nuclear plants under construction (Units 6, 7 and 8 at Greifswald with WWER-440/W-213 reactors and two WWER-1000 reactors near Stendal) was also abandoned.

Following the euphoria of the fifties and sixties, scepticism about nuclear power began to grow in the early 1970s. An increasing number of citizens were opposed to the risks of atomic energy, and opposed the further expansion of nuclear power plants. In West Germany, names such as Wyhl and Brokdorf (planned nuclear power plants), Gorleben (waste management centre), Wackersdorf (reprocessing unit) and Kalkar (fast breeder) are synonyms for the protests against nuclear power. After the Three Mile Island nuclear incident in Harrisburg, PA, in 1979, and finally after the disaster of Chernobyl in 1986, it became clear that the risks of nuclear power are not merely theoretical.

In 2000, the Government concluded an agreement with the electricity companies on a structured phase out of the commercial utilization of nuclear energy for electricity production. The Atomic Energy Act was amended accordingly in April 2002. A legal ban on the construction of new NPPs was enacted. Each nuclear power plant was assigned a residual electricity volume such that the total output of the respective plant corresponds to an average 32 year lifetime. As electricity volumes can, in principle, be legally transferred between plants, it was not possible to forecast precise shutdown dates.

Since 2010, the Federal Government has focused on an energy mix, in which conventional sources of energy are gradually replaced with renewable energies. After the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP on 11 March 2011, the German Federal Government decided on the termination of the use of nuclear energy by the year 2022.

The revised Atomic Energy Act stipulates the following deadlines for the remaining NPPs, on which the authorization for power operation expires:

31 December 2019: Philippsburg 2;

  • 31 December 2021: Grohnde, Gundremmingen C, Brokdorf;

  • 31 December 2022: Isar 2, Emsland, Neckarwestheim 2.

The authorization for power operation of a NPP may also expire before the above mentioned date if the respective assigned electricity volume has been generated. Electricity volumes may be transferred partially or in total from one NPP to another. For details, see Section 2.2.1 and Table 5B.

2.1.2. Current organizational structure

The current organizational structure is shown in Fig. 1.

FIG. 1. Current organizational structure.

Source: [5].

The regulatory body is composed of the nuclear licensing and supervisory authorities of the Federal Government and state governments. The federal ministry competent for nuclear safety and radiation protection is the BMU. The licensing procedure for operation and decommissioning and the continuous regulatory supervision of the facilities lie within the responsibility of the individual federal states (Land Ministry). Subordinate authorities to the BMU are the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (Bundesamt für kerntechnische Entsorgungssicherheit (BfE)) and the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz (BfS)). A detailed description of the regulatory authorities is given in section 3.1.1.

The BMU is regularly advised by the Reactor Safety Commission (RSK), the Commission on Radiological Protection (SSK) and the Nuclear Waste Management Commission (ESK). The RSK provides advice in matters of nuclear safety including matters with respect to the physical protection of nuclear installations. The SSK provides advice in matters of protection against ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, and the ESK in matters of nuclear waste management. The members of the commissions are obliged by statutes to express their opinion in a neutral and scientifically sound manner and are appointed by the BMU. The results of the commission’s consultations are formulated in the form of general recommendations and statements on individual cases and published.

The authorities in charge may consult authorised experts in the licensing and supervisory procedures. These can include both independent experts and independent technical expert organizations. The BMU draws on the external expertise of several such organizations. In particular, these are the Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit (GRS) gGmbH, Brenk Systemplanung GmbH, and Öko-Institut e.V. The nuclear supervisory authorities of the Länder usually seek advice from the major technical expert organisations of the TÜVs (TÜV = Technical Inspection Association, i.e. TÜV Nord, TÜV Süd and TÜV Rheinland). As a rule, framework agreements exist between the nuclear licensing and supervisory authorities of the Länder and the TÜVs, which oblige TÜVs to perform certain tasks in the long term and to provide the necessary know-how including appropriately qualified personnel.


2.2.1. Status and performance of nuclear power plants

In Germany, seven nuclear power plants (six PWRs and one BWR), with a total gross capacity of 10.0 GWe, are in operation. Table 5A shows the status of German NNPs. Figure 2 shows their geographical location and their status as of the end of May 2018.

According to the current legal situation, the licence for power operation will expire at fixed shutdown dates or even before if the electricity volume for that installation, as listed in the Atomic Energy Act or as derived from an allowable transfer of electricity volume, has been produced. Table 5B shows the residual electricity volumes of the German NPPs as of 31 December 2018.

In 2018, NPPs contributed approximately 11.8% to the gross electricity production, which corresponds to 76.0 TWh. The average availability of German NPPs is shown in Table 5C.

In total, 46 research and training reactors were built and operated in Germany. At present, most research reactors are shut down or being decommissioned, though seven research facilities — three with a thermal power of more than 50 kW(th) and four small training reactors — are still in operation.


Reactor Unit Type Net
Status Operator Reactor
First Grid
BROKDORF PWR 1410 Operational PElectra KWU 1976-01-01 1986-10-08 1986-10-14 1986-12-22 84.7
EMSLAND PWR 1335 Operational KLE KWU 1982-08-10 1988-04-14 1988-04-19 1988-06-20 94.7
GROHNDE PWR 1360 Operational PElectra KWU 1976-06-01 1984-09-01 1984-09-05 1985-02-01 91.6
GUNDREMMINGEN-C BWR 1288 Operational KGG KWU 1976-07-20 1984-10-26 1984-11-02 1985-01-18 89.8
ISAR-2 PWR 1410 Operational PElectra KWU 1982-09-15 1988-01-15 1988-01-22 1988-04-09 95.2
NECKARWESTHEIM-2 PWR 1310 Operational EnKK KWU 1982-11-09 1988-12-29 1989-01-03 1989-04-15 81.0
PHILIPPSBURG-2 PWR 1402 Operational EnKK KWU 1977-07-07 1984-12-13 1984-12-17 1985-04-18 90.5
AVR JUELICH HTGR 13 Permanent Shutdown AVR BBK 1961-08-01 1966-08-16 1967-12-17 1969-05-19 1988-12-31
BIBLIS-A PWR 1167 Permanent Shutdown RWE KWU 1970-01-01 1974-07-16 1974-08-25 1975-02-26 2011-08-06
BIBLIS-B PWR 1240 Permanent Shutdown RWE KWU 1972-02-01 1976-03-25 1976-04-25 1977-01-31 2011-08-06
BRUNSBUETTEL BWR 771 Permanent Shutdown KKB KWU 1970-04-15 1976-06-23 1976-07-13 1977-02-09 2011-08-06
GRAFENRHEINFELD PWR 1275 Permanent Shutdown E.ON KWU 1975-01-01 1981-12-09 1981-12-30 1982-06-17 2015-06-27
GREIFSWALD-1 PWR 408 Permanent Shutdown EWN AEE 1970-03-01 1973-12-15 1973-12-17 1974-07-12 1990-02-14
GREIFSWALD-2 PWR 408 Permanent Shutdown EWN AEE 1970-03-01 1974-12-03 1974-12-23 1975-04-16 1990-02-14
GREIFSWALD-3 PWR 408 Permanent Shutdown EWN AEE 1972-04-01 1977-10-16 1977-10-24 1978-05-01 1990-02-28
GREIFSWALD-4 PWR 408 Permanent Shutdown EWN AEE 1972-04-01 1979-07-22 1979-09-03 1979-11-01 1990-07-22
GREIFSWALD-5 PWR 408 Permanent Shutdown EWN AEE 1976-12-01 1989-03-26 1989-04-24 1989-11-01 1989-11-24
GUNDREMMINGEN-A BWR 237 Permanent Shutdown KGB AEG,GE 1962-12-12 1966-08-14 1966-12-01 1967-04-12 1977-01-13
GUNDREMMINGEN-B BWR 1284 Permanent Shutdown KGG KWU 1976-07-20 1984-03-09 1984-03-16 1984-07-19 2017-12-31
HDR GROSSWELZHEIM BWR 25 Permanent Shutdown HDR AEG,KWU 1965-01-01 1969-10-14 1969-10-14 1970-08-02 1971-04-20
ISAR-1 BWR 878 Permanent Shutdown E.ON KWU 1972-05-01 1977-11-20 1977-12-03 1979-03-21 2011-08-06
KNK II FBR 17 Permanent Shutdown KBG IA 1974-09-01 1977-10-10 1978-04-09 1979-03-03 1991-08-23
KRUEMMEL BWR 1346 Permanent Shutdown KKK KWU 1974-04-05 1983-09-14 1983-09-28 1984-03-28 2011-08-06
LINGEN BWR 183 Permanent Shutdown KWL AEG 1964-10-01 1968-01-31 1968-07-01 1968-10-01 1977-01-05
MUELHEIM-KAERLICH PWR 1219 Permanent Shutdown KGG BBR 1975-01-15 1986-03-01 1986-03-14 1987-08-18 1988-09-09
MZFR PHWR 52 Permanent Shutdown KBG SIEMENS 1961-12-01 1965-09-29 1966-03-09 1966-12-19 1984-05-03
NECKARWESTHEIM-1 PWR 785 Permanent Shutdown EnKK KWU 1972-02-01 1976-05-26 1976-06-03 1976-12-01 2011-08-06
NIEDERAICHBACH HWGCR 100 Permanent Shutdown KKN SIEM,KWU 1966-06-01 1972-12-17 1973-01-01 1973-01-01 1974-07-31
OBRIGHEIM PWR 340 Permanent Shutdown EnBW SIEM,KWU 1965-03-15 1968-09-22 1968-10-29 1969-03-31 2005-05-11
PHILIPPSBURG-1 BWR 890 Permanent Shutdown EnKK KWU 1970-10-01 1979-03-09 1979-05-05 1980-03-26 2011-08-06
RHEINSBERG PWR 62 Permanent Shutdown EWN AEE 1960-01-01 1966-03-01 1966-05-06 1966-10-11 1990-06-01
STADE PWR 640 Permanent Shutdown E.ON KWU 1967-12-01 1972-01-08 1972-01-29 1972-05-19 2003-11-14
THTR-300 HTGR 296 Permanent Shutdown HKG HRB 1971-05-03 1983-09-13 1985-11-16 1987-06-01 1988-09-29
UNTERWESER PWR 1345 Permanent Shutdown E.ON KWU 1972-07-01 1978-09-16 1978-09-29 1979-09-06 2011-08-06
VAK KAHL BWR 15 Permanent Shutdown VAK GE,AEG 1958-07-01 1960-11-13 1961-06-17 1962-02-01 1985-11-25
WUERGASSEN BWR 640 Permanent Shutdown PE AEG,KWU 1968-01-26 1971-10-20 1971-12-18 1975-11-11 1994-08-26
GREIFSWALD-6 PWR 408 Cancelled Constr. EWN AEE 1976-12-01 1990-01-01
GREIFSWALD-7 PWR 408 Cancelled Constr. EWN AEE 1978-12-01 1990-10-01
GREIFSWALD-8 PWR 408 Cancelled Constr. EWN AEE 1978-12-01 1990-10-01
KALKAR FBR 295 Cancelled Constr. SBK INB 1973-04-23 1991-03-20
STENDAL-1 PWR 900 Cancelled Constr. EWN AEE 1982-12-01 1991-03-01
STENDAL-2 PWR 900 Cancelled Constr. EWN AEE 1984-12-01 1991-03-01
Data source: IAEA - Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).
Note: Table is completely generated from PRIS data to reflect the latest available information and may be more up to date than the text of the report.

FIG. 2. Nuclear power plants in Germany (including prototype and experimental reactors) as of 30 April 2019.

Source: [5].


Residual electricity
volume as of
1 January 2000
(Annex 3 of the
Atomic Energy Act)
Net electricity
volume produced
1 January 2000 to
31 December 2018
Transfer of
Residual electricity
31 December 2018
Biblis A (KWB A)1
Biblis B (KWB B)1
Brokdorf (KBR)
Brunsbüttel (KKB)1
Emsland (KKE)
Grafenrheinfeld (KKG)2
Grohnde (KWG)
Gundremmingen B (KRB B)3
Gundremmingen C (KRB C)
Isar 1 (KKI 1)1
Isar 2 KKI 2)
Krümmel (KKK)1
Mülheim-Kärlich (KMK)4
Neckarwestheim 1 (GKN 1)1)
Neckarwestheim 2 (GKN 2)
Obrigheim (KWO)5
Philippsburg 1 (KKP 1)1
Philippsburg 2 (KKP 1)
Stade (KKS)6
Unterweser (KKU)1

1 On 6 August 2011, the authorization to operate the NPP for electricity production expired.

2 The NPP Grafenrheinfeld was shut down in June 2015.

3 The NPP Gundremmingen B was shut down in December 2017.

4 The NPP Mülheim-Kärlich was shut down in September 1988. The electricity volume of the NPP Mülheim-Kärlich can be transferred to KKE, GKN 2, KKI 2, KBR, KRB B, KRB C.

5 The NPP Obrigheim was shut down in May 2005.

6 The NPP Stade was shut down in November 2003.

Source: [4].


Time availability
Energy availability
Capacity availability

Note: Preliminary data.

Time availability: available operating time/calendar time. Energy availability: available energy/nominal energy. Capacity availability: energy generated/nominal energy.

Source: [3].

2.2.2. Plant upgrading, plant life management and licence renewals

According to the Atomic Energy Act, a licence for operating an NPP is only granted if the applicant proves that the necessary technical and organizational precautions for safe operation have been taken. During operation, the plant operator must fulfil his or her responsibilities continuously, which the licensing and supervisory authority verifies and ensures.

Planned modifications of an NPP are to be assessed systematically with regard to the impacts on the safety level of the NPP. Modifications with insignificant impacts on safety levels do not require a licensing procedure, but they do require accompanying inspections by the safety authorities within the framework of the supervisory procedure. Significant modifications of an NPP or its operations require a licence from the competent authority (see Section 3.1.2).

According to the Atomic Energy Act, safety reviews must be carried out every ten years and follow the standardized national criteria. Safety reviews consist of a deterministic safety status analysis, a probabilistic safety analysis and a deterministic analysis on physical protection of the plant. The results are then submitted to the supervisory authority and usually assessed by independent experts who act by order of the supervisory authority.

Germany participated actively in the European Union’s stress test and in its follow-up process, initiated by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG). During ENSREG workshops in April 2013 and 2015, it was stated that Germany’s NPPs had already completed significant enhancements to robustness ahead of the Fukushima Daiichi events (e.g. filtered containment venting and mobile pumps). The German National Action Plan identified that further work was required in some technical areas which are relevant to the stress test. Some of these actions were completed in 2013, with some left to be completed in 2014/2015/2016. The National Report and the National Action Plan of Germany can be found at

Furthermore, Germany will participate in the first European Union Topical Peer Review with the topic Ageing Management of Nuclear Power Plants, coordinated by ENSREG. A national assessment report was submitted and published. For further information, see

2.2.3. Permanent shutdown and decommissioning process

As of 30 April 2019, 29 nuclear power plants, including prototype and experimental reactors, had been permanently shut down. Of these, 25 facilities are being dismantled and returned to greenfield status including one facility in safe enclosure and three facilities have already been completely dismantled and the sites returned to greenfield status and released from nuclear regulatory control. One facility is in post-operation. Further information (shutdown date and reason, etc.) is shown in Table 6. For decommissioning, a licence is required from the competent licensing authority of the state in which the nuclear installation is sited. The licensing and supervisory process is described in Sections 3.1.1 and 3.1.2.

Each decommissioning project runs individually. The course of the project, the financing, the choice of the decommissioning strategy and many other boundary conditions depend strongly on the type of plant and the owner of the plant. NPPs and uranium enrichment and fuel assembly plants are usually overseen by energy supply companies. The licensees are obliged to continuously build up financial reserves for the decommissioning of their installations. On the other hand, research reactors, prototype and experimental reactors as well as prototype plants for fuel supply are mostly located in research centres or at universities. Their decommissioning is financed predominantly by the federal budget.

The decommissioning of the NPPs Greifswald and Rheinsberg of the former East Germany is financed from the federal budget as well, as is the decommissioning of facilities for uranium ore mining and processing in the former East Germany.

On 16 June 2017, the Act on the Reorganization of Responsibility in Nuclear Waste Management entered into force. Under the Act, the Federation is responsible for the implementation and financing of storage and disposal of radioactive waste, while the NPP operators remain responsible for the financing and management of decommissioning of the nuclear power plants and the proper packaging of the nuclear waste. On 3 July 2017, the operators transferred financial means amounting to approximately €24 billion into a public law fund to cover the future costs of the storage and disposal of radioactive waste. The spent fuel and radioactive waste, as well as the storage facilities defined in the Act, are in the process of being transferred to the Federation.


Reactor name
Shutdown date
Shutdown reason
Decom. strategy
Current decom. phase
Current fuel management phase
Decom. licensee
Licence terminated
AVR Jülich (AVR)
Experimental programme ended
Final dismantling
Storage at Jülich
JEN GmbH (part of EWN)

Phase out regulation
Partial dismantling
Storage in on-site facility
RWE Power AG

Phase out regulation
Partial dismantling
Storage in on-site facility
RWE Power AG

Brunsbüttel (KKB)
Phase out regulation
Partial dismantling
Storage in on-site facility
Kernkraftwerk Brunsbüttel GmbH & Co. oHG

Grafenrheinfeld (KKG)
Phase out regulation
Partial dismantling
Storage in on-site facility
PreussenElektra GmbH

Greifswald-1 (KGR 1)
Safety concerns
Final dismantling
Storage Zwischenlager Nord (ZLN)

Greifswald-2 (KGR 2)
Safety concerns
Final dismantling
Storage Zwischenlager Nord (ZLN)

Greifswald-3 (KGR 3)
Safety concerns
Final dismantling
Storage Zwischenlager Nord (ZLN)

Greifswald-4 (KGR 4)
Safety concerns
Final dismantling
Storage Zwischenlager Nord (ZLN)

Greifswald-5 (KGR 5)
Final dismantling
Storage Zwischenlager Nord (ZLN)

Gundremmingen-A (KRB-A)
Final dismantling
Kernkraftwerk Gundremmingen GmbH

Gundremmingen –B (KRB-B)
Phase out regulation
Partial dismantling
Storage in on-site facility
Kernkraftwerk Gundremmingen GmbH

HDR Großwelzheim
Licence terminated
Reprocessed in WAK
Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)
Phase out regulation
Partial dismantling
Storage in on-site facility
PreussenElektra GmbH

Experimental programme ended
Final dismantling
Storage Zwischenlager Nord (ZLN)
KTE GmbH (part of EWN)

Lingen (KWL)
Final dismantling
Transport to Sellafield (GB)
Kernkraftwerk Lingen GmbH

Mülheim-Kärlich (KMK)
Phase out regulation
Final dismantling
Reprocessed in La Hague (F)
RWE Power AG

Experimental programme ended
Final dismantling
Reprocessed in WAK
KTE GmbH (part of EWN)

Neckarwestheim-1 (GKN-1)
Phase out regulation
Partial dismantling
Storage in on-site facility
EnBW Kernkraft GmbH (EnKK)

Niederaichbach (KKN)
Licence terminated
Transported to Commissariat à l’energie atomique
Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)
Obrigheim (KWO)
Phase out regulation
Final dismantling
Dry storage is planned
EnBW Kernkraft GmbH (EnKK)

Philippsburg-1 (KKP-1)
Phase out regulation
Partial dismantling
Storage in on-site facility
EnBW Kernkraft GmbH (EnKK)

Rheinsberg (KKR)
Safety concerns
Final dismantling
Storage Zwischenlager Nord (ZLN)

Stade (KKS)
Phase out regulation
Final dismantling
Reprocessed in France
PreussenElektra GmbH

Economic, technical
Safe enclosure
Safe enclosure
Storage at Ahaus
Hochtemperatur-Kernkraftwerk GmbH (HKG)

Phase out regulation
Partial dismantling
Storage in on-site facility
PreussenElektra GmbH

VAK Kahl
Experimental programme ended
Licence terminated
Reprocessed in WAK/disposal in Sweden
Versuchsatomkraftwerk Kahl GmbH (VAK)
Würgassen (KWW)
Final dismantling
Reprocessed in La Hague (F)
PreussenElektra GmbH


As specified in the Atomic Energy Act, no new NPPs for commercial production of electricity will be built. For further details on nuclear energy policy, see Section 1.2.3.


All NPPs currently in operation in Germany were constructed in the 1970s and 1980s by KWU, a 100% subsidiary of Siemens AG until 2001.

The company Babcock-Brown Boveri Reaktor GmbH (BBR, a joint venture of Brown, Boveri & Cie. and Babcock & Wilcox from the United States of America, later ABB, sold to BNFL/UK in December 1999, now renamed Westinghouse) supplied the PWR plant Mülheim-Kärlich, which was shut down in 1988.

German utilities, together with Siemens/KWU and in close cooperation with French counterparts (Électricité de France (EDF) and Framatome), developed the European pressurized water reactor (EPR) with enhanced safety features. EPRs are currently being built in Finland, France and the United Kingdom, and one EPR is already in operation in China. German utilities also supported the Siemens/KWU development of an advanced BWR (SWR 1000) with additional passive safety features.

In 2001, the only remaining domestic manufacturer, Siemens/KWU, merged its nuclear business with Framatome S.A., which has since become part of the French AREVA Group as AREVA GmbH. It was renamed Framatome GmbH in 2018, and is now part of the French electric utility company EDF. The second German supplier for NPPs, BBR, now part of Westinghouse, concentrates on nuclear services.


EnBW Kernkraft GmbH (EnKK), as part of the holding company Energie-Baden-Württemberg AG (EnBW), operates the NPPs Neckarwestheim 2 and Philippsburg 2. The NPPs Brokdorf, Grohnde and Isar 2 are operated by PreussenElektra GmbH, which is a subsidiary of E.ON SE. The NPP Gundremmingen C is operated by Kernkraftwerk Gundremmingen GmbH; the shareholders of this company are RWE Power AG (75%) and PreussenElektra GmbH (25%). The NPP Emsland is operated by Kernkraftwerke Lippe-Ems GmbH, which is held by RWE Power AG (87.5%) and PreussenElektra GmbH (12.5%).


In recent decades, several nuclear power plants and test facilities have already been successfully dismantled in Germany. There are also a number of plants in the decommissioning phase. Licensees are responsible for the decommissioning of nuclear power plants, as mentioned in Table 6. For decommissioning, a licence is required from the competent licensing authority of the state in which the nuclear installation is sited. The licensing and supervisory process is described in Sections 3.1.1 and 3.1.2. Companies involved in the operation of NPPs are also involved in their decommissioning.

EnBW Kernkraft GmbH has three plants in the process of being dismantled: NPP Obrigheim, since 2008; and Neckarwestheim 1 and Philippsburg 1, since 2017. Two NPPs are still in operation (Philippsburg 2 and Neckarwestheim 2) but have already applied for decommissioning.

The company RWE Power AG dismantled NPP Kahl in the 1990s and returned it to greenfield status in 2011. RWE Power AG is currently dismantling the NPPs Mülheim-Kärlich, Lingen and Gundremmingen A. They will also be responsible for the dismantling of the NPPs Gundremmingen B and Biblis A and B.

PreussenElektra GmbH, as a subsidiary of E.ON SE, is responsible for the dismantling of the NPPs Würgassen, Stade, Isar 1, Unterweser and Grafenrheinfeld. The dismantling of Würgassen took place from 1997 to 2014; the dismantling of NPP Stade started in 2005 and is well advanced.

Kernkraftwerk Brunsbüttel GmbH & Co. oHG, held by Vattenfall GmbH (66.6%) and PreussenElektra GmbH (33.3%) will be responsible for the decommissioning of the NPP Brunsbüttel. Vattenfall GmbH and PreussenElektra GmbH are also shareholders in equal parts of Kernkraftwerk Krümmel GmbH & Co. oHG, which will be responsible for the decommissioning of the NPP Krümmel. Both NPPs have filed an application for decommissioning in 2012 and 2015, respectively, but no licence was granted yet.

The state owned company EWN GmbH is responsible for the decommissioning of the NPPs Greifswald and Rheinsberg in the former East Germany, and for the decommissioning of several research reactors. EWN GmbH receives its financial resources solely from the federal budget.


With the commercial use of nuclear energy, various nuclear facilities dedicated to the fuel cycle and waste management have emerged in Germany. Today, only a few of them are in operation. Several facilities have been shut down and are being decommissioned.

Mining and milling

In Germany, the search for mines containing uranium ore began very early. However, for economic reasons, only a few were of interest and were operated as pilot mines. In 1961, West Germany built a very small utility for yellow cake production at Ellweiler. The supervisory authority stopped work in 1989. The facility was decommissioned and restoration was finalized in 2000. In East Germany, the large uranium production facility Wismut was made operational, initially supplying uranium also to the Soviet Union. Mining was stopped on 31 December 1990. This facility is being decommissioned and remediation is under way.

Uranium enrichment

At the enrichment plant at Gronau (URENCO Germany), natural uranium in the form of uranium hexafluoride is enriched via centrifuge cascades to a maximum of 6% by weight of fissionable uranium-235. The facility started operation in 1985, with a capacity of 400 kSWU/year. The design capacity was expanded in stages. The last increase in capacity up to 4500 kSWU/year was licensed in 2005. The additional systems were constructed after 2008 and commissioned gradually. At the end of 2013, the installed capacity reached full capacity of 4500 kSWU/year.

Fuel fabrication

At Lingen, the Fuel Element Fabrication Plant ANF (Advanced Nuclear Fuels GmbH) has operated since 1979 and produces uranium fuel elements for light water reactors. In 2009, the conversion facility was licensed at a capacity of 800 Mg of uranium per year.

At the Siemens Fuel Element Fabrication Plant Hanau (Siemens Brennelementewerk Hanau, Siemens AG), mixed oxide fuel elements and uranium fuel elements for light water reactors were produced from 1968 until 1991 and from 1969 until 1995, respectively. The facility was finally decommissioned in 2006. The Siemens Fuel Element Fabrication Plant Karlstein (Siemens Brennelementewerk Karlstein, Siemens AG) started in the year 1966 with the production of special fuel elements using low enriched uranium dioxide. Decommissioning of this plant was finalized in 1999. At the NUKEM Fuel Element Fabrication Plant Hanau (Brennelementefabrik Hanau), the company NUKEM produced special fuel elements consisting of uranium and thorium for research reactors from 1962 until 1988. The decommissioning process has been finalized for this plant (status: installation was removed, clearance of the site). The company Hochtemperatur-Brennelement-Gesellschaft (HOBEG) operated a fuel fabrication plant at Hanau for the production of spherical fuel elements, composed of highly enriched uranium and thorium for high temperature reactors, from 1972 until 1988. The utility was finally decommissioned in 1995.

Storage of spent fuel

Twelve on-site storage facilities at NPP sites have been licensed and are all in operation. Three central storage facilities for spent fuel are in operation: the Transport Cask Storage Facility Ahaus, for irradiated fuel and other radioactive substances; the Transport Cask Storage Facility Gorleben, for both irradiated fuel and vitrified reprocessing products; and the Transport Cask Storage Facility in the storage facility North Rubenow (Zwischenlager Nord (ZLN)) for spent fuel elements, nuclear fuel and other radioactive waste from decommissioning of the NPPs Greifswald and Rheinsberg. In 2009, the ZLN was licensed to store vitrified waste from the shutdown pilot reprocessing plant at Karlsruhe (Wiederaufarbeitungsanlage Karlsruhe (WAK)).

In the AVR cask storage facility in Jülich, the spent fuel spheres from the operation of the AVR are stored in 152 transport and storage casks of the CASTOR THTR/AVR type.

The state owned Federal Company for Storage (Gesellschaft für Zwischenlagerung mbH (BGZ)) resumed responsibility for the operation of the central storage facilities in Gorleben and Ahaus in August 2017. At the beginning of 2019, the BGZ will also be responsible for the 12 on-site storage facilities for spent fuel at the NPP sites. In 2020, it will assume responsibility for the on-site storage facilities for radioactive waste.


In Germany, the development of reprocessing technologies started in the 1960s. In 1989, the plans for reprocessing were abandoned and it was intended to transport irradiated fuel elements into other member states of the European Union for storage and reprocessing. These transports were banned in 2002, with the last transport allowed in 2005. At that time, the direct final disposal of fuel elements became the aim of waste management.

The pilot reprocessing plant at Karlsruhe (WAK) operated from 1971 until 1990. The facility has since been shut down and is in the process of being dismantled. The highly radioactive solutions of fission products (high active waste concentrate) present at this plant were vitrified at the on-site vitrification plant. In total, 56 tonnes of vitrified waste were produced and shipped to the storage facility Zwischenlager Nord in February 2011.

The project for a reprocessing plant at Wackersdorf (Wiederaufarbeitungsanlage Wackersdorf) started 1982 and was abandoned in 1988 [8].

Disposal of low and intermediate level radioactive waste

From the outset, it was intended to dispose of all kinds of radioactive waste in deep geological formations.

Development work in the field of repositories started in West Germany with the Asse II mine, a salt dome in Lower Saxony, where approximately 47 000 cubic metres of low and medium active radioactive waste in about 125 000 drums were stored from 1967 until 1978. Today, the Asse II mine faces two major problems: on the one hand, saline solutions enter the mine, on the other hand the stability of the mine openings is endangered. It was decided that retrieval of the radioactive waste stored in Asse II would be the best option to protect the public and the environment; a closure concept is being prepared.

In the late 1960s, East Germany erected a repository at the former salt dome Morsleben, where approximately 36 752 cubic metres of low and intermediate level radioactive waste was stored from 1971 until 1998 with an interruption between 1991 and 1994. The licensing procedure for its closure is in progress.

The former iron ore Schacht Konrad was licensed as a repository in May 2002, to dispose of radioactive waste with negligible heat generation. Since the licence was confirmed by the Federal Administrative Court on 26 March 2007, the Konrad mine is being converted to a repository for radioactive waste with negligible heat generation.

Between 1979 and 2000, the salt dome of Gorleben was investigated for its suitability as a repository for all types of radioactive waste, in particular for high level waste. Exploration work was terminated on 27 July 2013 when the Site Selection Act became effective (see below, “Disposal of high level radioactive waste”).

Disposal of high level radioactive waste

Since 2005, it is mandatory to directly dispose of the spent fuel from commercial electricity production that currently exists or will be generated in the future in Germany. However, other kinds of high level radioactive waste, in particular vitrified waste from reprocessing, were generated due to the differing regulation in earlier times (see above) and are to be disposed of in Germany as well.

The site for a disposal facility for high level radioactive waste in Germany is to be determined according to the Site Selection Act. The 2017 amendment of this act was based on the recommendations of the Commission on Storage of High-Radioactive Waste Materials, which consulted on the fundamental issues related to the search procedure from 2014 to 2016 and consisted of 33 members representing different parts of society, including scientists, public groups and the Federal Parliament and Federal Council (Bundestag and Bundesrat). It provides for a participative, science based, transparent, self-critical and learning procedure for identifying the site offering the best possible safety for one million years.

Starting from a ‘blank map’ of Germany without preferring or excluding certain regions from the outset, potential sites will be identified following the selection criteria laid down in the Site Selection Act. In a three stage procedure, the geological conditions at the potential sites will be explored in detail and compared based on repeated preliminary safety analyses, thereby narrowing down the number of site candidates until the site can be determined in the final stage.

In each of the stages and with comprehensive participation of the regional and supraregional public, the Federal Company for Radioactive Waste Disposal (Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung (BGE)) as the operator conducts the aforementioned site exploration and preliminary safety analyses and develops proposals for the potential sites to remain in the procedure. The newly established BfE, being in charge of the procedure, examines the proposals of the BGE, organizes public participation and forwards the results to the BMU. At the end of each stage, The Federal Parliament and Federal Council decide on the sites to be further explored or, in the third stage, the definitive site for the disposal facility.


2.8.1. R&D organizations

Safe operation of nuclear power plants is a top priority for the Federal Government, and consequently research in this field is continued and extended. For a more complete list of organisations, please refer to Appendix 2.

In 2017, the Energy R&D Programme of the BMWi and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)) supported research on nuclear safety and waste disposal with a total amount of €78.9 million.

Within the Government, the BMWi currently provides approximately €21.0 million annually for reactor safety research, funding experimental or analytical studies of the plant behaviour of nuclear reactors under accident conditions, studies concerning the safety of pressure retaining components and the development of probabilistic safety analysis. A further approximately €13.6 million is spent on final disposal and nuclear waste management research.

The BMBF promotes projects and institutions with funds of around €43 million, focusing on basic science issues regarding waste disposal, reactor safety research and radiation research. As a long term energy option, BMBF currently supports the development of fusion reactors through institutional funding (around €124 million in total).

2.8.2. Development of advanced nuclear power technologies

Two prototypes of advanced reactor design were developed in Germany: the pebble bed high temperature reactor (Thorium-Hochtemperaturreaktor, THTR 300) at HRB/BBC and a fast breeder reactor (Schneller Natriumgekühlter Reaktor, SNR 300) at Interatom/Siemens. The THTR 300 was connected to the grid in 1985 and shut down in 1989. The SNR 300 was completed in 1985 but never commissioned.

2.8.3. International cooperation and initiatives

See Appendix 1.

As a Member State of the European Union, the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD/NEA), and the IAEA, Germany supports various international programmes in nuclear safety and nuclear waste management. In direct international cooperation, Germany also supports projects and organizations such as licensing and supervisory authorities, technical support organizations and research institutes.

Germany currently participates in most of the OECD/NEA joint projects and hosts the OECD/NEA Primary Coolant Loop Test Facility and the Thermal-hydraulics, Hydrogen, Aerosols and Iodine projects. For project descriptions see


The need for provision of sufficient and qualified personnel is defined in the Radiation Protection Act and in the Atomic Energy Act. Proof of the qualifications of responsible personnel as well as the necessary knowledge of personnel otherwise engaged during operation must already be considered in the licence application for construction, operation or essential modification. Detailed requirements for the technical qualification of personnel are specified in the guidelines. In addition, the guidelines stipulate the qualifications of responsible shift personnel and their maintenance, as well as the qualifications of personnel responsible for radiation protection. The measures taken by the operator to ensure adequate staffing are reviewed by the supervisory authority, on the basis of submitted reports.

German NPPs currently in operation are staffed by personnel with experience in their operation. These employees undergo regular job specific retraining on plant specific, full scope simulators at the Simulator Centre (Simulatorzentrum) in Essen.

Due to the ageing of operating personnel, a forward looking personnel management system is implemented to maintain the competence and quantity of personnel. On the basis of expected retirements, as well as statistical forecasts, plant operators typically plan the need for replacement recruitment up to five years in advance. Systematic training programmes and a long running ‘parallel recruitment’ system are in place to ensure the transfer of know-how.


Comprehensive information about nuclear installations is provided by the nuclear regulatory authorities. The competent authorities of the Federal Government and the states provide information about their activities in the field of nuclear safety on one central web page, providing a comprehensive overview of the topic.

The BMU provides general information on its web site on nuclear safety and radiological protection, including information on the legal and regulatory framework, technical rules, international cooperation and the site selection process for a final repository. Additionally, the BMU provides on its web site an overview of current environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedures and strategic environmental assessment (SEA) procedures for nuclear facilities in neighbouring countries with German public participation. This includes procedures for which no cross-border EIA or SEA is carried out in relation to Germany, but the German public still has the opportunity to participate.

The state government authorities provide information on the status of those NPPs in their jurisdiction regarding licensing issues, reportable events or the process of decommissioning.

The Incident Registration Centre is operated by the BfE and informs the general public of reportable events at regular intervals by publishing such information on the Internet. In addition to the monthly updated reports, annual reports on reportable events, categorized by nuclear power plants and research reactors as well as nuclear fuel cycle facilities, are available.

Information on radiation protection and nuclear accident management is provided by the BfS, on the Internet or in the form of brochures, teaching material or mobile exhibitions.

The basis for public participation in the search for a repository for heat generating radioactive waste is the Site Selection Act. The site selection is implemented in several stages and with the participation of the regional and supraregional public. In future, citizens have manifold options to participate in the search for a repository site. This may be within a regional framework (e.g. in so-called regional conferences) as well as within a supraregional framework (e.g. in the symposium subsections). The regional conferences are composed of individual citizens, representatives of organized interests and members of regional authorities. These regional boards monitor the site selection process in situ and combine regional expertise and regional interests. They are established once certain stages of the site selection procedure have been reached. The already appointed National Advisory Body monitors the site selection independently, in particular the participation procedure. It is composed of individual citizens and acknowledged public figures.


Nuclear emergency preparedness in Germany consists of on-site and off-site planning. On-site emergency planning comprises technical and organizational measures taken at NPPs and lies within the responsibility of the operator. Off-site emergency planning comprises disaster control for averting imminent danger and protective measures aiming to deal with the consequences of radiological releases. Off-site emergency planning lies in the responsibilities of the states and the Federation.

At all German NPPs, on-site accident management measures are implemented as a precaution. If an accident occurs that has not been taken into account and against which the plant is not designed, the accident management measures shall detect and control this event and prevent damage (preventive measure) or mitigate the effects within and outside of the plant (mitigative measures). Rulings that are specified to enable the operating personnel to perform situation dependent tasks and the measures that can be taken in case of event sequences that exceed design limit values, with the objective of either controlling the event sequence itself or of mitigating its effects, are described in the plant specific emergency manual. In light of the Fukushima Daiichi accident, Germany also revised the on-site emergency preparedness of its NPPs. The national action plan resulting from the European Union stress test includes new measures regarding on-site emergency preparedness which were implemented or are planned to be implemented.

Off-site emergency planning, especially disaster control, consists of protective actions in the area affected in order to protect the public from the effects of radionuclide releases. Depending on the specific circumstances, these measures may include sheltering, taking iodine tablets, evacuation and, if necessary, resettlement. In order to reduce radiation exposure of the population even in those areas where disaster control measures are not justified, protective measures are foreseen. As a result of the Fukushima Daiichi accident, the existing regulations and basic fundamentals regarding off-site emergency preparedness and response in Germany were reviewed by a working group of the SSK. This discussion was finalized in 2015, resulting in six new and four amended recommendations for further measures. In particular, the planning areas, including associated measures and radii, were revised. For NPPs under decommissioning, specific characteristics were considered due to the changed risk potential.

For more information see [5] and

The provisions of the new Radiation Protection Act (Strahlenschutzgesetz) regulating the emergency management system of the Federation and the states (i.e. the legal and administrative framework for emergency preparedness and response), entered into force on 1 October 2017. The Radiation Protection Act has transposed the Basic Safety Standards Directive 2013/59/Euratom into German law, taking into account the experiences after the Fukushima Daiichi accident. It introduces a new sector interlocking approach into the management system of the Federation and states for the different economic and administrative sectors affected by the consequences of a nuclear accident or other radiological emergency and for all authorities and organizations having a role in preparedness and response to dangers for human health, the environment and public safety. Furthermore, a system of coordinated emergency response plans at the adequate Federal, regional or local level has to be established. For these purposes the BMU has drafted a general emergency response plan for the Federation. It shall inter alia postulate about ten emergency scenarios in Germany, Europe and third countries and contain optimized protection strategies for each of the scenarios. Special emergency response plans of the Federation for the different fields of action will be drafted by the ministries responsible for the affected sector (civil protection, food, non-food products, waste, transport, etc.). Each of the states shall have a general and special emergency response plan supplementing the federal plans.



3.1.1. Regulatory authority(s)

Germany is a republic with a federal structure and is composed of 16 federal states, in German called Länder. The Federal Chancellor determines the competence of the supreme federal authorities by organizational decree. Accordingly, the responsibility for the nuclear safety of nuclear installations and radiation protection was transferred to the BMU. As part of the Federal Government, the BMU is involved in legislation (legislative power), while the Länder implement the Atomic Energy Act on behalf of the Federation (federal executive administration).

The licensing procedure for operation and decommissioning and the continuous regulatory supervision of the facilities lie within the responsibility of the individual federal states (see Table 7).


Nuclear installation
Licensing authority
Supervisory authority
Neckarwestheim 1 & 2
Philippsburg 1 & 2
MZFR Karlsruhe
Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector
in agreement with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of the Interior, Digitization and Migration
Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector
Isar 1 & 2
Gundremmingen A–C
Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Consumer Protection
Ministry of Justice, European Affairs and Consumer Protection
Biblis A and B
Hesse Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection, Agriculture and Consumer Protection
Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony Ministry for the Environment, Energy, Construction and Climate Protection
Greifswald 1–5
Ministry of the Interior and Europe
North Rhine-Westphalia
AVR Jülich
THTR-300 Hamm
North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitization and Energy
Ministry of the Environment, Energy, Food and Forestry
Ministry of Energy, Agriculture, the Environment, Nature and Digitalization

In the case of facilities overseeing safekeeping and disposal of radioactive waste, state supervision is regulated differently from the division of tasks between the Federation and the Länder. The nuclear waste management sector was reorganised in order to efficiently select a site for a disposal facility for high level radioactive waste. Accordingly, the BfE was established in 2014 as the central licensing and supervisory authority in the field of waste management.

Belonging to the BMU’s portfolio are two subordinate authorities responsible for nuclear safety, radiation protection and nuclear waste management issues.

The subordinate authority of the BMU in the area of radiation protection is the BfS. The two technical departments of the BfS deal with the statutory tasks in the areas of “Radiation Protection and Environment” and “Radiation Protection and Health”. This includes, in particular, the effects and risks of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, medical and occupational radiation protection, monitoring of environmental radioactivity as well as emergency preparedness and response.

As a subordinate authority of the BMU, the BfE performs statutory tasks in the areas of licensing for storage and transport, nuclear safety, tasks related to the search for and selection of a site for a disposal facility for high level radioactive waste (site selection procedure), in task related research and in the planning approval and licensing of disposal facilities, including approvals under mining law and permits under water law as well as the supervision of disposal under nuclear and radiation protection law.

3.1.2. Licensing process

According to the Atomic Energy Act, the erection, operation or holding of a stationary installation for the production, treatment, processing or fission of nuclear fuel, an essential modification of the installation or its operation and also the decommissioning and dismantling require a licence. A licence may only be granted if the licensing requirements specified in Atomic Energy Act are met. New licences for the erection and the operation of installations for the fission of nuclear fuel for the commercial generation of electricity and for facilities for the reprocessing of irradiated nuclear fuel will not be issued any more in Germany. The licensing authorities are the supreme Länder authorities stipulated by the Länder governments.

The licensing procedures have to be carried out in accordance with the Nuclear Licensing Procedure Ordinance. This stipulates the application process with the submission of documents, public participation, the opportunity to divide the process into several licensing steps (partial licences) and the observation of other licensing requirements (e.g. for non-radioactive emissions and for discharges into water bodies). Furthermore, in certain cases an environmental impact assessment has to be carried out. In some cases, the Nuclear Licensing Procedure Ordinance is not applicable. Then, a nonformal licensing procedure is carried out.

For further information see Refs. [5] and [8].


The Handbook on Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection contains all applicable legal and sublegal regulatory documents in Germany in the following fields:

Nuclear safety;

  • Disposal of radioactive waste;

  • Transport of radioactive substances;

  • Radiation protection.

Main laws and ordinances in nuclear power:

Atomic Energy Act (Atomgesetz);

  • Radiation Protection Act (Strahlenschutzgesetz);

  • Site Selection Act (Standortauswahlgesetz);

  • Waste Management Fund Act (Entsorgungsfondgesetz);

  • Waste Management Transfer Act (Entsorgungsübergangsgesetz);

  • Radiation Protection Ordinance (Strahlenschutzverordnung);

  • Nuclear Licensing Ordinance (Atomrechtliche Verfahrensverordnung);

  • Nuclear Financial Security Ordinance (Atomrechtliche Deckungsvorsorge-Verordnung);

  • Disposal Prepayment Ordinance (Endlagervorausleistungsverordnung);

  • Nuclear Reliability Assessment Ordinance (Atomrechtliche Zuverlässigkeitsüberprüfungs-Verordnung);

  • Nuclear Safety Officer and Reporting Ordinance (Atomrechtliche Sicherheitsbeauftragten- und Meldeverordnung);

  • Nuclear Waste Shipment Ordinance (Atomrechtliche Abfallverbringungsverordnung).

Main regulations and guidelines in nuclear power:

Safety Requirements for Nuclear Power Plants (Sicherheitsanforderungen an Kernkraftwerke);

  • Interpretations of the “Safety Requirements for Nuclear Power Plants” (Interpretationen zu den Sicherheitsanforderungen an Kernkraftwerke);

  • Guideline Concerning the Proof of the Technical Qualification of Nuclear Power Plant Personnel (Richtlinie für den Fachkundenachweis von Kernkraftwerkspersonal);

  • Guideline concerning Emission and Immission Monitoring of Nuclear Installations (Richtlinie zur Emissions- und Immissionsüberwachung Kerntechnischer Anlagen);

  • Guide to the Decommissioning, the Safe Enclosure and the Dismantling of Facilities or Parts thereof as Defined in §7 of the Atomic Energy Act — Decommissioning Guide (Stilllegungsleitfaden);

  • Guides for the Periodic Safety Review of Nuclear Power Plants (Leitfäden für die Periodische Sicherheitsüberprüfung für Kernkraftwerke);

  • Guide Probabilistic Safety Analysis (Leitfaden Probabilistische Sicherheitsanalyse);

  • KTA safety standards (KTA-Regeln).


[1] BUNDESANSTALT FÜR GEOWISSENSCHAFTEN UND ROHSTOFFE, BGR Energy Study 2017: Data and Developments Concerning German and Global Energy Supplies (2017),


[3] BUNDESAMT FÜR KERNTECHNISCHE ENTSORGUNGSSICHERHEIT, State and Development of Nuclear Energy Utilization in the Federal Republic of Germany 2016 (2017),

[4] Announcement acc. to § 7 para. 1c Atomic Energy Act (AtG) – annual statement 2018 (Federal Law Gazette, BAnz AT 01.04.2019 B9);


[5] FEDERAL MINISTRY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, NATURE CONSERVATION, BUILDING AND NUCLEAR SAFETY, Report under the Convention on Nuclear Safety by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany for the Seventh Review Meeting in March/April 2017,

[7] FEDERAL MINISTRY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, NATURE CONSERVATION, BUILDING AND NUCLEAR SAFETY, Report of the Federal Republic of Germany for the Sixth Review Meeting in May 2018 (2018),


Agreements with the IAEA

NPT related safeguards agreement EURATOM/IAEA, INFCIRC/193
Entry into force for Germany:
21 February 1977
Protocol Additional to the Euratom Agreement, INFCIRC/193(GOV/1998/28)
22 September 1998
Improved procedures for designation of safeguards
Proposal rejected by EURATOM but special procedures agreed upon
16 February 1989
Agreement on privileges and immunities, INFCIRC/9
Entry into force for Germany:
4 August 1960

Multilateral safeguards agreements

Brazil/Germany/IAEA, INFCIRC/237
application suspended, INFCIRC/237/Add.1
Entry into force:
Entry into force:
26 February 1976
21 October 1999
Spain/Germany/IAEA, INFCIRC/305
Entry into force:
29 September 1982

Other relevant international treaties

Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons — NPT, INFCIRC/140
Entry into force for Germany:
2 May 1975
Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, INFCIRC/274
Entry into force for Germany:
6 October 1991
Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material
Entry into force for Germany:
8 July May 2016
Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, INFCIRC/335
Entry into force for Germany:
15 October 1989
Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency, INFCIRC/336
Entry into force for Germany:
15 October 1989
Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy
Entry into force for Germany:
30 September 1975
Brussels Supplementary Convention
Entry into force for Germany
1 January 1976
Joint Protocol Relating to the Application of the Vienna and Paris Conventions,
Entry into force for Germany:
13 September 2001
Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, INFCIRC/500

Not signed
Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, INFCIRC/567

Not signed
Convention Relating to Civil Liability in Maritime Carriage of Nuclear Materials
Entry into force for Germany:
30 December 1975
Convention on Nuclear Safety,
Entry into force for Germany:
20 April 1997
Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, INFCIRC/546
Entry into force for Germany:
18 June 2001
International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism
Entry into force for Germany:
9 March 2008
Espoo Convention
Entry into force for Germany:
6 November 2002
Aarhus Convention
Entry into force for Germany:
15 April 2007
European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM)

Zangger Committee

Nuclear Suppliers Group


Bilateral agreements covering the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the safety of nuclear installations and radiation protection

Germany has concluded bilateral agreements on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the safety of nuclear installation or radiation protection with the following:

Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran (terminated in 2007), Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uzbekistan.

For further information, see Bilateral Agreements in chapter 1D of the Handbook on Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection.


National atomic energy authorities, Federation and states

Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi)
Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, und nukleare Sicherheit (BMU)
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)
Bundesamt für kerntechnische Entsorgungssicherheit (BfE)
Innenministerium Baden-Württemberg
Ministerium für Umwelt, Klima und Energiewirtschaft Baden-Württemberg
Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Umwelt und Verbraucherschutz
Hessisches Ministerium für Umwelt, Klimaschutz, Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz
Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Umwelt, Energie, Bauen und Klimaschutz
Ministerium für Energiewende, Landwirtschaft, Umwelt, Natur und Digitalisierung Schleswig-Holstein

National advisory bodies and commissions

Entsorgungskommission (ESK)
Kerntechnischer Ausschuss (KTA)
Reaktor-Sicherheitskommission (RSK)
Strahlenschutzkommission (SSK)

Other national authorities and institutions

Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR)
Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM)
Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz (BfS)
Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)

Technical Support Organizations (TSOs)

Brenk Systemplanung GmbH
Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit gGmbH (GRS)
Öko-Institut e. V.
Freiburg i. Br.
TÜV Rheinland AG

Main power utilities

EnBW Kernkraft GmbH
PreussenElektra GmbH
RWE Power AG
Uniper SE
Vattenfall GmbH

Manufacturers, services and other nuclear organizations

Advanced Nuclear Fuels GmbH (ANF)
Framatome GmbH
Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung (BGE)
BGZ Bundesgesellschaft für Zwischenlagerung (BGZ)
Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft e.V. (BDEW)
Kerntechnik Deutschland e.V. (KernD)
Kerntechnische Gesellschaft e.V. (KTG)

EWN Entsorgungswerk für Nuklearanlagen GmbH
Jülicher Entsorgungsgesellschaft für Nuklearanlagen mbH (JEN)
Kerntechnische Entsorgung Karlsruhe GmbH (KTE)
Siemens AG, Power Generation
Kraftwerks-Simulator-Gesellschaft mbH (KSG)
Gesellschaft für Simulatorschulung mbH (GfS)
Urenco Deutschland GmbH
VGB PowerTech e.V. (Vereinigung der Großkraftwerksbetreiber)
Westinghouse Electric Germany GmbH
Wismut GmbH

Nuclear safety research institutes

Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf e.V. (HZDR)
Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)
Project management agencies implementing the BMWi funding program for Universities, other academic institutions and research organizations:
Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit gGmbH (GRS) – Bereich Projektträger,
Projektträger Karlsruhe (PTKA)
Köln and Karlsruhe

Coordinator information

Name: Jenny Tuchtenhagen

Institution: Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management Directorate-General Nuclear Safety and Supervision in Nuclear Waste Management

Contact details: