Frequently asked questions

What is the ESK?

The Nuclear Waste Management Commission (ESK) advises the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) in matters of nuclear waste management. It does not propose any political decisions. ESK membership is a personal honorary office. ESK members are not bound by directives of the BMUV or any other institution.

How is the ESK composed?

ESK members are appointed by the BMUV. The ESK is a pluralistic body, which means that its members represent a large bandwidth of opinions in the area of nuclear waste management in order to ensure that the advice given to the BMUV is based on expert knowledge as well as being comprehensive and objective. In their discussions, the members of the ESK respect differing expert views.

How does the ESK work?

The ESK receives advisory requests with concrete issues from the BMUV, but it may also discuss problems on its own initiative. As a result of the confidential discussions, comments, recommendations or guidelines are adopted that are presented to the BMUV and published on the ESK homepage. Any adoption requires the majority of the appointed members. Dissenting opinions of members may be added to the statements in writing.

How does the ESK handle conflicting interests of ESK members?

A member of the ESK is excluded from the discussion if
1. he/she is involved in a licensing or supervisory procedure that is the object of the discussion of the ESK, or
2. he/she is in paid employment at or is a member of the executive board, the board of directors or an equivalent organ of an organisation involved in a licensing or supervisory procedure (this does not apply to employment at a public-law institution), or
3. he/she has given an expert opinion for, provided advice to or acted in any other way on behalf of the applicant or anyone subjected to a supervisory measure on the matter that is to be discussed by the Commission.

The Commission decides in the absence of the member to be excluded about his/her exclusion. The member excluded is excluded from the discussion and decision-making, but may be heard during the meeting.

Who pays for the ESK and what are payments for?

As holders of an honorary office, the ESK members do not receive any remuneration. Travel expenses are reimbursed in line with the German Federal Travel Expenses Act, and an allowance of 30 € per meeting is paid. If discussions require special technical preparation, a fee of 40.90 €/h is paid upon application. These costs are borne by the BMUV.

Why are the discussions of the ESK not public?

The discussions are not held in public to guarantee the independence of the Commission. This way, the members of the ESK enjoy protection regarding the media as well as their employers. The members are obliged to keep the confidentiality of the discussions, whereas the Commission may furnish particulars to third parties.