The 43rd Annual Meeting on Nuclear Technology of the German Atomic Forum (DAtF) and the German Nuclear Society (KTG) opened in Stuttgart. It took place in the Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Liederhalle of Baden-Württemberg’s capital Stuttgart from 22 to 24 May 2012. With approximately 1,100 participants and 49 exhibitors from 17 countries, it was again one of the world’s largest trade fairs for nuclear engineering and technology. The programme covered 213 specialist sessions, workshops and presentations.
Dr. Ralf Güldner, President of the DAtF, referred in his opening speech of the Annual Meeting to the fact that shaping of the energy transition in Europe’s largest economy will require a sense of proportion and responsibility, “The energy economy is too large and too important an area of our national economy for a few months of strong emotion to be allowed to influence our actions for decades. Were German politicians really able to make a balanced, long-term decision a year ago? We must be allowed to ask this question. Other countries are dealing differently with nuclear energy even after Fukushima.”
Society as a whole but also politicians in particular face a large number of complex and very demanding tasks during the energy transition. The state’s statutory obligation to build a final repository for high active waste continues to be a part of this. Without reservation, operators stand by their responsibility regarding shutdown, decommissioning and disposal of the plants. However, they and also supporting industrial companies and suppliers rely on the Federal Government specifying a clear and sustainable outlook with a concrete and binding time schedule for the provision of a final repository for high active waste. At the same the government is required to guarantee that in practice the approved Konrad Mine final repository can also be commissioned for low and medium active waste by 2019 as announced.
The DAtF and its members accept and back the political decisions taken almost a year ago to speed up the phase-out of nuclear energy in Germany. Reliable operation of the remaining nuclear power plants at the highest level of international safety and their safe, cost-efficient and climate-friendly power generation make a significant contribution to this. The course of the EU stress tests to date has confirmed the impressive results of the national report for Germany: the German plants have a significantly higher safety level than the plants affected by the accident in Fukushima on 11 March 2011. According to the report, Germany’s nuclear power plants possess a high degree of robustness in the event of earthquakes, floods and extreme weather conditions and adequate precautions are taken against incidents such as power failure, cooling failure and severe accidents.