Karlsruhe. It was with astoundment that EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG heard the call by the President of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), Wolfram König, to close down some of the nuclear power stations even sooner than already provided for in the agreement between the operators and the German government. The claims regarding inadequate protection and, in particular, the accusation that no measures have yet been taken in this area are incomprehensible.
In the wake of the events of September 11, 2001 there was an in-depth review of the potential risks to nuclear installations from acts of terrorism. The energy providers who operate nuclear power plants agreed voluntarily to improve the protection status of their facilities. Suitable measures have been taken and are still being taken in close cooperation between the operators and the relevant state authorities.
In addition to optimising the structural and system-based design of the plants, these activities are also geared towards creating a chain of staggered upstream protection measures, some of which lie within the sphere of responsibility of the state. The Federal Office for Radiation Protection is fully aware of the numerous measures in this area, many of which have already been implemented. In order to ensure that these measures are effective, however, they cannot be a topic for public debate.
It is all the more questionable when the President of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection adopts a negative public stance shortly before the completion of an independent review of individual measures commissioned by the German Minister for the Environment. The job of the BfS office is to help to clarify safety issues by making sober assessments - not to whip up emotions by making premature public statements.