One basic essential of the agreement between the Federal Government and the utility companies is the stipulation that the safety of the nuclear power plants shall be guaranteed until the end of their respective operating lives. The relevant safety criteria are to be based on the dynamic requirements of the Atomic Energy Act (AtG) according to the state of the art in science and technology. At present, GRS is the only institution in Germany that has the expertise in the fields relevant to reactor safety that is necessary to conduct interdisciplinary analyses. GRS has profound experience and also well-tried instruments to allow a quick and largely independent response to all essential plant-specific and general issues related to reactor safety. Moreover, GRS has the special advantage of being able to directly consider the national and international development trends, which are comprehensively registered and evaluated by GRS, in its analyses.
In the past, interdisciplinary analyses of GRS turned out to be the most efficient tool to identify safety-related deficiencies, thus also having proved their worth in the performance of federal supervision. However, these analyses require specific expert knowledge in all technical-scientific fields as well as in the application of advanced analysis methods.
The competence fields “Safety-, Reliability- and System Technology”, “Operating Experience”, “Structure Reliability” and “Safety Management” are mainly directed towards engineering sciences. They continue to be important for the operation of the NPPs and have to be further developed due to the harmonisation of the European safety requirements within the framework of the EU enlargement processes. In the next years, a decrease in topical questions is not to be expected. At present, there are rather signs of an increase.
The competence fields “Core Behaviour”, “Transients and Leakages in the Cooling System”, “Core Melt Processes in the Cooling System” and “Accident Behaviour Containment” are rather oriented towards the related R&D, in particular to the development of methods. On their basis, the respective application-oriented work is considered in the interdisciplinary analyses in support of the federal supervision.