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Federal custody of nuclear fuels

Storage of nuclear fuels is subject to strict safety requirements. Nuclear fuels may only be stored once a storage licence pursuant to § 6 Atomic Energy Act (AtG) has been granted or when they are used in an installation licensed pursuant to § 7 AtG, e.g. a nuclear power plant. To protect the population, the state takes care for the safekeeping of these materials if such a licence has not been granted. This could occur, if, for example, nuclear fuels were to be found or secured at border controls.

The responsible authority for the federal custody pursuant to § 5 Atomic Energy Act is the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BfE). It has taken over this task on 30. July 2016 from the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) that had been responsible until then. In order to be prepared to respond in the event of an emergency, storage positions are rented in the Zwischenlager Nord near Lubmin. It would be possible to store smaller volumes of nuclear fuels there. This is a precautionary measure to protect the population.

As an exception, federal custody could also become necessary if an existing licence expired and there was no other option for legal storage, e.g. a supervisory order pursuant to § 19 para. 3 sentence 2 AtG. In this case, larger volumes of nuclear fuels would be taken over initially at their previously licensed storage place. The Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management would then have to take all measures to guarantee that safety is in compliance with the state of the art of science and technology.

State of 2017.03.03

© Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management