Report on legality of the operation of FRM II with highly enriched uranium (HEU)

A comprehensive and recognized legal opinion confirms the legality of the operation of FRM II using uranium with an enrichment of up to 93,2% U-235.

© W. Schürmann / TUM

In the press conference, hold on July 10, 2019 in Munich, the legal opinion from lawyer Dr. Cornelia Ziehm, commissioned by a consortium of BUND Naturschutz in Bayern e.V., the green parliamentary fraction in the State of Bavaria, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, Umweltinstitut München e.V and the citizens against the nuclear reactor Garching, was presented.

On 25 October 2019, a request of BUND Naturschutz in Bayern e.V. was sent to the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Consumer Protection (StMUV), aiming at prohibiting the operation of the research neutron source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM II) using a fuel with an enrichment higher than 50% U-235, and furthermore declaring the invalidity  of the 3rd partial permit, respectively revoking it. This application by BUND Naturschutz in Bayern e.V. is essentially based on the lawyer's Dr. Cornelia Ziehm legal opinion. The FRM II was heard on this request by the StMUV and asked for a statement.

The FRM II has had a comprehensive report drawn up by Dr. Christian Raetzke, an internationally recognized and renowned lawyer specialized in issues of the nuclear law, dealing with the question of the legality of the operation of FRM II. This legal opinion fully supports the assessment, that the current operation of the FRM II using uranium with an enrichment of up to 93,2 % U-235 is clearly legally justified. The report thereby includes the current international law, international agreements, the law of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the German nuclear law. It also confirms that the incidental provisions III. 9.1-3 are therefore not a contents regulation of the permit, but a classical condition.

Irrespective of the legality of the operation of FRM II with HEU as confirmed in the report, the FRM II continues intensively to create the conditions for a fuel development. To date, despite intensive efforts - worldwide - there is no qualified high-density uranium fuel with an enrichment below 50 % uranium 235 that could be used under the operating conditions and safety requirements of high flux reactors such as FRM II.