In view of the policy laid down in the coalition agreement of the Federal Government, i. e. to put a regulated end to the utilisation of nuclear energy, and in view of the substantial reduction of the funds provided for nuclear reactor safety and repository research, the Federal Minister of Economic Affaires and Energy (BMWi) considered it to be advisable to subject this field to a review by an evaluation commission.
The Evaluation Commission was convened by the BMWi in 1999. In addition to the establishment of priorities in the field of nuclear safety and repository research in Germany, it prepared a comprehensive survey of the facilities and activities in the field of nuclear reactor safety and repository research in Germany funded by the BMWi and the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), identified high priority tasks and perspectives in this field under consideration of national and international co-operations as well as regarding the maintenance of know-how and made a number recommendations.
The results are published in the evaluation report "Nuclear Reactor Safety and Repository Research in Germany" of 21st January 2000. It includes, among other things, the following recommendation: "A co-operation in these areas, in terms of both personnel and contents, should be pursued vigorously in Germany aiming at improved efficiency. The Alliance for Competence should contribute substantially by task co-ordination regarding technical matters and contents".
Alliance for Competence in Nuclear Technology
The members of the Alliance for Competence are the research centres in Jülich (FZJ), Karlsruhe (KIT) and Rossendorf (HZDR), the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) and the Materials Testing Institute University of Stuttgart (MPA) with its respective partner universities as well as the Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit (GRS). The project-funded institutions are represented in the Alliance for Competence by the respective project management agency.
At the constituent meeting, the members of the Alliance for Competence adopted the final remark from the report of the evaluation commission as a leitmotif for future activities:
"Regardless of the political decision on the phase-out of nuclear energy in Germany, maintaining Germany's competence in the field of nuclear safety is a necessary requirement for the next decades. This is an inalienable prerequisite for the Government to fulfil its legal obligations with respect to protective measures and to measures ensuring the safety of nuclear facilities and disposal paths in accordance with the international state-of-the-art in science and technology."
In its final report, the Evaluation Commission of the BMWi recommended, among other things, a co-ordination regarding technical tasks of the reactor safety and repository research in Germany within the frame of the Alliance for Competence in Nuclear Technology.
The Alliance for Competence requested the Project Management Agency Reactor Safety Research (PT R) to fulfil this task in co-operation with the leading research institutions for reactor safety research. The aim was to specify the topics of research according to the technical requirements with respective quantification of the scientific and technical personnel for the period until 2006.
The results are published in the report of the Alliance for Competence in Nuclear Technology "Issues of Nuclear Safety and Repository Research in Germany (2002-2006)" and in the follow-up report "Topics of Nuclear Safety and Repository Research in Germany (2007-2011)". These reports represent a guideline for future co-operation of the German research institutions in the field of reactor safety research within the frame of the Alliance for Competence in Nuclear Technology.