Legal basis for the site agreement in the site selection procedure

Project description

Impacts on a region caused by a final repository that have not yet been covered by traditional forms of reimbursement should be compensated.

Scientific and political debates mostly agree that the impacts of construction, operation, and post-closure phase of a nuclear waste repository must be acknowledged. Even though this requires a certain amount of effort, it is the only way to contribute to the socio-economic development of the affected regions with targeted measures. Basically, this involves making specific use of a region’s opportunities and opening up local perspectives to ensure the sustainable development of the respective region. Potential conflicts may not be resolved completely this way, but they can at least be mitigated enough through thoroughly planned and implemented measures to contribute to local tolerability. Against this background, the basic principles for concepts adapted to regional needs should be defined as early as possible in the site selection procedure.

This is not only about short-term financial compensation. Instead, long-term strategies for the further development of a repository region should be defined and agreed. Such basic principles for regional development should be discussed as early as possible in the site selection procedure in the designated regions. To this end, the responsible federal office establishes a regional conference in each of the siting regions proposed for exploration. Experience from public participation so far has shown that regional development and financial compensation are already important issues for those involved and are brought up during events with the responsible stakeholders.

The question of the legal basis for such a site agreement is not easy at all. The German Repository Site Selection Act (StandAG) and its explanatory memorandum do not provide any precise answers. In fact, the term site agreement only appears once in the StandAG, namely in § 10 (4): “The regional conferences accompany the site selection procedure and get, according to § 7, prior to the hearing the opportunity to comment on the suggestions (…). They also get the opportunity to comment during the preparation of socio-economic potential analyses (…). They draw up concepts to promote regional development and have to be involved in the final site agreement.”

This is where the research project starts. It refers to the term site agreement, which is not specifically defined in the law and needs to be analyzed in more detail from a legal perspective. The following questions are of particular interest:

  1. Which legal nature and character could the site agreement have?
  2. What could be the content of the site agreement and what are the legal requirements?
  3. How does the site agreement comply with the requirements for a repository in accordance with the StandAG and the German Atomic Energy Act (AtG)?
  4. Who should be involved in the drafting and conclusion of the site agreement and what rights should they have? And what is the particular role of the regional conferences in drafting and concluding the site agreement?
  5. What is the procedure for drafting the site agreement?


apl. Prof. Dr. Ulrich Smeddinck
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-23737