The Annual Report 2008 of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) presented today (15 July) by Federal Minister for the Environment Sigmar Gabriel counteracts his statement that incidents in German nuclear power plants are the normal case.
"The suggestion expressed by Mr. Claassen, the chairman of the board of directors of EnBW, to anchor nuclear power phase-out in the Basic Law as counteraction for longer running times is his own opinion. The German Atomic Forum does not share this opinion in any way. This is an unsuitable attempt to patronise future generations. Climatic protection needs other answers. It is precisely for this reason that nuclear power must also continue to be a further component of a sustainable energy programme in Germany. For me one thing is certain: there is no way of avoiding reassessment of nuclear power in Germany".
The annual report is evidence of the strong safety culture and very strict and comprehensive reporting procedure in Germany. 91 of the total 92 reportable events in German nuclear power plants were below the seven-level international assessment scale for nuclear events (INES scale). Only one event was to be rated as the lowest category, INES scale 1, and is officially termed as an anomaly. Anomalies, however, are only deviations from the permissible ranges for safe operation of the plant and have no radiological impacts. There were no incidents, that is events of INES scale 2 or higher, in 2008.
When Gabriel speaks of incidents in public, he is no longer out and about as Federal Minister for the Environment but rather more as an election campaigner.