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Statement of position on comments from the Federal Court of Audit about the Konrad mine

The Federal Office for Radiation Protection states its position regarding the comments "2016 Comments Volume II No. 05 - Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Construction and Reactor Safety neglects functional supervision of the Konrad final repository" made by the Federal Court of Audit.

The report from the Federal Court of Audit emphasises that the reorganisation pursued for a long time by the BfS and consequently implemented by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Construction and Reactor Safety as regards radiation protection and the final repository is correct and necessary. It offers the foundation on which to create the double structures and interfaces arising from the contractual foundations and responsibilities that have been valid up to this point in time.

As long ago as July 2005, the then President of the BfS, Wolfram König, indicated to the President of the Federal Court of Audit in a letter that "... the final repository planning and construction requires restructuring." At the same time he asked for support for the project with the aim of "...launching new regulations that put me in a position to be able to apply future tax monies sparingly and economically in the context of my legal responsibilities."

In November 2014, König presented suggestions to the final repository commission to improve the procedures and processes in the final repository projects. In 2016, the vast majority of legislators voted in favour of the reorganisation.

Contract secures DBE monopoly position in the operation of final repositories

Since 25 April 2017, the Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung mbH (BGE) has become responsible in the course of the reorganisation for the construction and operation of the Konrad mine. The operational tasks previously carried out by the BfS were transferred to the BGE on this date. As a consequence, the operating company Asse GmbH and the Deutsche Gesellschaft zum Bau und Betrieb von Endlagern mbH (DBE), which itself had 75 per cent ownership of the nuclear power station operator, were merged with the state-run BGE. Before the reorganisation, the general task of constructing and operating final repositories fell to the BfS. In 1984, the federal government had commissioned the DBE with the "planning and construction of a federal system for the securing and final repository of radioactive waste" and in the context of an irredeemable cooperation contract had accorded them a monopoly position for these tasks. At that time newly founded, the BfS entered the cooperation contract in 1989 and was bound thereafter to the DBE.

While the duties of operator and contractor fell to the BfS, the DBE has to date been carrying out the planning and construction of the Konrad final repository as a public construction project. The DBE is responsible for the overall coordination of the construction process and for implementation planning. According to the contract, it is the task of the DBE to plan the procedures, schedules and costs for the construction of the Konrad final repository. The BfS had no direct influence here on the operational business of the company. Since 2013, the DBE has given the year 2022 as a completion date for the Konrad mine. The BfS has informed the company that this deadline must be met and has offered its support to achieve this.

Classification of the report from the Federal Court of Audit

In its comments, the Federal Court of Audit presents the framework conditions under which the construction of the Konrad mine meets approval as a final repository under Atomic Law, is insufficient as regards some points or is completely insufficient:

  • The Federal Court of Audit writes: "The Federal Office may be served by third parties to fulfil its responsibilities." Actually, the BfS MUST be served by a third party, namely the Deutschen Gesellschaft zum Bau und Betrieb eines Endlagers mbH (DBE), in the operation, construction and decommissioning. The BfS indicated this problematic structure to the Federal Court of Audit as long ago as July 2005.
  • The comments of the Federal Court of Audit continue: "In 2008, the BfS commissioned the Deutsche Gesellschaft zum Bau und Betrieb von Endlagern für Abfallstoffe mbH (DBE) to construct the Konrad final repository for low-level and intermediate-level waste in a former mine." Because of the pertaining cooperation contract, the DBE had to be commissioned, i.e. the BfS had no opportunity to choose.
State of 2017.04.26

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