§ 9a of the German Atomic Energy Act stipulates that the operator of a nuclear plant has an obligation to ensuring that accumulated residual materials and the removed or dismantled plant components are either recycled so that they are rendered harmless or they are to be correctly disposed of as radioactive waste. The radioactive waste is to be taken into intermediate storage until it can be disposed of in a repository.
Radioactive waste is differentiated in terms of highly radioactive waste and weak and medium radioactive waste. This waste has to be conditioned for the storage in a repository on the basis of their degree of danger. It is stipulated that highly radioactive waste is to be directly stored in a repository.
The Federal Government is responsible for the setting up of facilities that are suitable for the storage of radioactive waste in a repository and the federal states are responsible for the setting up of state collection points for disposing of the waste and the intermediate storage of radioactive waste that does not come from nuclear power stations (e.g. for radioactive waste from hospitals, the industry, trade). Both the Federal and the state Governments can avail themselves of the services of third parties in order for them to meet their obligations.