Dr. Gert Maichel, President of the German Atomic Forum (DAtF), judges the current state of implementation of the agreement struck in June 2000 between the Federal Government and the power utilities about the future utilisation of nuclear power with cautious optimism. In a press conference on the occasion of the DAtF Winter Conference, Dr. Maichel said: "The power utilities have obliged politics in many points and to a high degree - sometimes even beyond what has been specified in the agreement. We now expect that the Federal Government will also keep its promises."
Specifically, the President referred to the promise that shipments of spent fuel elements would be made possible. He said that a first important hurdle had been taken by the agreement of the day before between Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and the French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin about the return transport of the vitrified-waste canisters. The serious efforts on the part of the Federal Government to avoid a blockage of the nuclear power plants were to be recognised positively, but an ad-hoc policy with last-minute decisions did not replace long-term planning perspectives. Transports to central interim storage facilities were still necessary to ensure the plants` continued operation at least until on-site storage was legal and functioning reliably. Independent of this aspect, transports to the reprocessing plants abroad had to be got underway as soon as possible. These were absolutely necessary to avoid bottlenecks in several German nuclear power plants. At the same time, existing long-term contracts with foreign partners had to be fulfilled.
As a further central point, Dr. Maichel demanded that the spirit of the agreement would also have to be reflected in the amendment of the Atomic Energy Act.
For the entire process, he urged the Federal Government to allow the constructive involvement of the Länder governments, without which the ensured further operation of the nuclear power plants could not be achieved. Despite the unresolved issues, Dr. Maichel believes that the necessary progress can yet be made this year so that the agreement can be duly signed. On this point, he added: "Until then, however, several obstacles still have to be removed."
DEUTSCHES ATOMFORUM E.V.