The 46th Annual Meeting on Nuclear Technology (AMNT) is taking place in Berlin from 5 to 7 May. In his opening speech, Dr. Ralf Güldner, President of the German Atomic Forum, stressed that the meeting is “the only one in Germany and also in Europe which is dedicated so holistically to nuclear technology and at the same time specifically promotes the international exchange of expertise in such breadth and depth.”
The President of the German Atomic Forum acknowledged the progress already made in the work of the Final Repository Commission. He was concerned, however, about the anticipated time frame for the waste management of high active waste: “One of the main objectives in the management of radioactive waste is not to impose any unreasonable burdens on future generations. This objective cannot be reconciled with a process which may possibly take 150 years.” Dr. Güldner therefore requested that the Commission would have to “make it its mission to develop proposals to speed up the selection process and the following procedure.”
With regard to the tasks arising during operation as well as during dismantling and waste management, Dr. Güldner explained that scientific and industrial expertise in Germany was exemplary internationally. He called for this to be protected in the long term with “a sufficiently large critical mass among the manufacturers represented in Germany, their suppliers and service providers who are able to cover the required range of skills.” Dr. Güldner went on to say that this included maintaining professional and technical expertise at the current level with the state and the private sector collaborating for the purpose of free research and targeted training.
Reliable plant operation, very high safety standards and the existing safety culture are the basis on which Germany campaigns for a high level of nuclear safety in the EU and globally. On the regulatory ambition in nuclear, to which the Federal Government is committed despite the phasing out of nuclear energy, Dr. Güldner said, “However, without its own nuclear industry, which is embedded in an appropriate research environment, it will not be possible to continue to be a driving force in nuclear safety worldwide.”
The performance of the nuclear industry in Germany would be obvious in an international comparison based on the operating results of the nuclear power plants. Despite increasingly extensive load-following operation due to the progressive expansion of renewable energies, four German plants were among the top ten nuclear power plants in the world for gross electricity production in 2014: Emsland, Brokdorf, Isar 2, Neckarwestheim 2. That was another reason why nuclear technology from Germany was internationally sought after and successful.