The key task of the National Citizens’ Oversight Committee is providing mediatory and independent assistance in the site selection procedure. The committee is particularly tasked with monitoring public participation. The goal: Enabling trust in the process.
The selection of a final repository site for highly radioactive waste can only be successful if the process is fair and transparent. The search should be open ended from the start and follow scientific criteria. A key factor: public participation. The procedure is complex and will take years. The goal is to find a site by 2031.
During this long process, the National Citizens’ Oversight Committee makes sure that all these important issues are considered and do not lose priority. It is a type of independent supervisory authority.
The NBG has a right of initiative and a right to legal remedy, in order to fulfil this task. It can address all questions pertaining to the site selection process and make statements regarding the process.
It can question the responsible institutions such as the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BASE / formerly BfE) or the Federal Company for Waste Disposal (BGE) at any time. Its members can access all files and documents related to the site selection procedure at BASE, BGE, the Federal Institute for Geosciences Natural Resources (BGR) as well as the State Geological Surveys (SGD).
Moreover, the NBG can give the German Bundestag recommendations for the site selection process. The Committee’s recommendations to Parliament can indicate the need for changes and innovations in implementing the process, e.g. when it concerns a matter of adjustments or setbacks in the process.
The National Citizens’ Oversight Committee tasks also include appointing a participation representative. As an employee of the Office of the NBG, his or her job is to recognise and analyse tensions between the parties involved in the site selection process at an early stage and to assist in settling and mediating conflicts. This function has been held by Hans Hagedorn since August 2019.