Even after its last remaining nuclear power plant is shut down, debate about nuclear energy in Germany will not be over. Although decommissioning has already begun, it will take years to remove all traces of the reactors from the landscape. Dismantling nuclear power plants is a protracted process which requires meticulous care. The handling of radioactive components and parts must comply with rigorous safety standards. Radioactive materials need to be separated carefully from non-hazardous materials, and appropriate interim storage must be guaranteed.
The Oeko-Institut monitors these processes in its capacity as an external consultant. The researchers conduct assessments of the environmental impacts of dismantling processes and advise the Federal Environment Ministry (BMUV) on the statutory provisions. They also advise the regional state (Land) authorities on supervising the implementation of these rules. Securing public acceptance for the clearance of materials that fall below specified permissible clearance limits and are destined for landfill is often challenging. Here, the Oeko-Institut endeavours to achieve transparency, raise awareness and develop solutions that are acceptable to all sides.