The Oeko-Institut’s researchers work on more than 350 national and international projects a year, focusing on Chemicals Management and Technology Assessment, Energy and Climate, Emission and Ambient Pollution Control, Radiation Protection, Agriculture and Biodiversity, Sustainable Consumption, Mobility, Resource Management and Industry, Nuclear Engineering and Facility Safety, and Law, Policy and Governance.

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The Standortauswahlgesetz (StandAG), a German law defining the process for the selection of a final repository, regulates the individual procedural steps for a scientifically based, participatory and transparent search for a secure disposal site for high-level radioactive waste in Germany. The result should be supported by a broad social consensus; those affected should be able to tolerate the outcome.
The Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Disposal (BASE) oversees the site selection and is responsible for public participation. It creates the foundations and framework conditions for involving the public in the search for a repository sites through formal and informal participation procedures. The Federal Company for Radioactive Waste Disposal (BGE) is responsible for searching for, constructing and operating a repository for high-level radioactive waste materials.
The site selection procedure follows three stages: 1) definition of subareas and suitable siting regions on the basis of existing geoscientific data; 2) above-ground exploration and identification of suitable sites; 3) underground exploration and site selection. Germany is the European country with the highest number of contiguous states. It is therefore not out of question that some of the sub-areas, siting regions and potential sites defined in the selection procedure are located on or in the immediate vicinity of one or more national borders. In the case of the construction of a repository for high-level radioactive waste, however, “concern” does not stop at national borders, so that the public (citizens* and other stakeholders) from neighboring countries must be involved in the participation processes from an early stage.
In order to adequately involve the public of the neighboring countries in the participation processes, it is required to analyze both the specific legal requirements for cross-border participation processes, and the socio-cultural expectations and practices in order to consider these in participation concepts.
The aim of the HErüber research project therefore is to identify such requirements and conditions relevant for the search of a final radioactive waste disposal in Germany. The project proceeds in three steps:
First, a literature review is prepared to analyze legal requirements and evaluate the state of knowledge regarding the practice of transboundary participation from a political science perspective; Second, three case studies are conducted – the Swiss ‘Sectoral Plan Process’ for a radioactive waste disposal, the maritime spatial planning for the German exclusive economic zone, the construction of further units at the Dukovany nuclear power plant – to investigate in more detail how cross-border public participation takes place in practice; Third, five case studies are conducted to investigate expectations of cross-border public participation from the perspective of regions bordering Germany. The selecting of case study regions does not refer to the audits currently taking place by the BGE in context of the site selection process. The goal in the selection is to capture as wide a variety of spatial-geographic contexts as possible across the nationwide sub-areas.
Based on the literature review and the case studies, recommendations are developed for designing a legally compliant procedure that takes into account the cultural and political framework conditions of the neighboring countries.
This research project essentially breaks 'new ground', as the field of transboundary public participation has received little attention in social science research so far.

Support of BASE in the process analysis of the site selection procedure (PaSta)

Project manager: Mbah, M. | Spieth-Achtnich, A. | Schütte, S.
Start of project: 06 / 2020

The site selection procedure for a repository for high-level radioactive waste in the Federal Republic of Germany is regulated by the Site Selection Act (StandAG). The requirements contained therein regarding a "participatory,…

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Evaluation of the sports grounds noise protection regulation

Project manager: Schütte, S.
Start of project: 07 / 2019

The research project evaluates the amendment to the Sports Facilities Noise Regulation. The aim is to investigate the effects of the changes - in particular the increase in the permitted noise levels emitted by sports facilities. It…

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Evaluation of public participation – Improving planning and permitting of major environmentally-relevant projects through participation of citizens and environmental organisations

Project manager: Schütte, S.
Start of project: 01 / 2019

The research project assesses the advantages of public participation in planning and approval procedures, with a focus on the improved consideration of environmental concerns. It also examines the extent to which the possible costs and…

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Reduction of commercial noise in cities

Project manager: Schütte, S.
Start of project: 08 / 2018

The research project focuses on the build-up of existing German cities and analyses health risks with respect to noise in living areas near commercial sites.

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Evaluating the legal framework for aircraft noise quotas

Project manager: Schütte, S.
End of project: 05 / 2019

The report aims to determine the legal possibilities for aviation authorities to limit air traffic for noise control. It takes into account the current approval situation – existing airfields, airfields with a fictitious approval and…

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Public Participation in the Siting Procedure for a Final Repository: Challenges of a Cross-generational, Self-reflecting and Learning Procedure

Project manager: Brohmann, B.
Project staff:  Mbah, M. | Schütte, S.
Start of project: 05 / 2018

The German Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management mandated a two-year research project in which the challenges of public participation in the siting procedure for a final repository for high-level radioactive waste…

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Evaluation of the 2nd Aircraft Noise Protection Regulation (2. FlugLSV)

Project manager: Schütte, S.
End of project: 11 / 2015

The study focuses on the regulation as well as on the effectiveness and compliance of the 2. FlugLSV. Beginning with a review of the existing requirements, in further steps the application of the regulation in practice will be assessed…

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To publication "Evaluation der 2. Fluglärmschutzverordnung (2015) "

Environmental Partnership Project - Component 2 - CCICED "International Dialogue on Environmental Policy"

Project manager: Schütte, S.
End of project: 10 / 2014

Conformity Study for Germany: Directive 2006/118/EC on the protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration

Project manager: Schütte, S.
End of project: 08 / 2011
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