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Safety philosophy

In German nuclear power plants safety precautions are taken. They serve the fundamental objective of protecting people and the environment from harmful effects of ionising radiation. All nuclear power plants must be able to manage even operational malfunctions and so-called design basis accidents in such a way as to ensure there is no fear of damage to the environment. In fact, precautionary measures must also be taken in the light of catastrophic consequences generated by events otherwise considered as highly unlikely.

Here you can find more information about possible disorders of safety that may occur, and some technical features that help to ensure the fundamental safety objective.

Technical barriers

Technical barriers are a central component of reactor safety. Several sequential technical barriers (multi-barrier system) are to retain the radioactive materials in the fuel not only in normal operation but also in case of incidents.

Digital instrumentation and control

The instrumentation and control (I&C) systems important to safety are used to monitor the safety parameter values in nuclear power plants, automatically trigger safety functions if required and support manual operations necessary to control design basis accidents. New digital (software-based) technologies are available to transfer and process measurement and control signals. For their application, a high safety level has to be demonstrated which is at least equivalent to that of the hardwired, analogue I&C systems installed up to now. Expert working groups are discussing this issue intensively at national and international level. BfE actively participates in these discussions.

Disorders of safety

Nuclear power plants in Germany have to be protected against different events. According to the Atomic Energy Act, a nuclear power plant may only be issued with an operative licence if the necessary precautions against damages have been taken in line with the state-of-the-art of science and technology.

© Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management