After the event at the Japanese nuclear power plant of Fukushima Daiichi, the German federal government decided that Germany will phase out of the generation of electricity by nuclear power within a decade. The last reactor is to be disconnected from the power grid in 2022 as part of the “Energiewende”. Helping to make this phase out as safe as possible is one of the objectives pursued by the KIT in its Research Program Nuclear Waste Management and Safety as part of the Research Field Energy of the Helmholtz Association. Also the decommissioning of nuclear power plants, and the repository issue, will keep society and thus also research busy for decades to come.
Consequently, opting out of electricity production from nuclear power must not imply giving up the appropriate competences in nuclear technology. These competences continue to be required in the areas of reactor safety, decommisioning, final storage, radiation protection and crisis management, for critical reviews of international developments, and for competent assessment of nuclear facilities around Germany.
This makes training and education of highly qualified scientists indispensable. Only in this way the necessary competence can be preserved which research, also operators for the time being, as well as licensing and regulatory authorities and expert organizations will need presently but also in the future.
Nuclear safety research at Karlsruhe has played a leading role for decades. The KIT Energy Center constitutes the center of excellence in Germany with its activities about nuclear waste management and safety, final storage, and radiation protection research.
For this reason, the Program Nuclear Waste Management and Safety Research within the Research Field Energy of the Helmholtz Association will continue to study scientific and technical aspects of the safety of nuclear waste management and of nuclear reactors. This work constitutes provident research in the interest of society and, for this reason, must be preserved for a long time to come.
Scientists work in four research areas within the Program Nuclear Waste Management and Safety Program in the interest of societal provident research:
· Safety of nuclear waste management.
· Safety of nuclear reactors.
· Radiation protection.
· Decommissioning techniques.