Layers under the street

© iStock/georgeclerk

Today, the Bundestag has adopted draft legislation for a Geological Data Act tabled by the Federal Government. The Geological Data Act is replacing the outdated Repositories Act from 1934.

For the first time under the new law, the competent authorities will be required to secure geological data. Furthermore, the requirements for transmitting geological data will be the same across the entire Federal Republic. The draft legislation sets out a tiered concept for geological data to be provided to the public after certain deadlines. Under the new law, geological data stemming from commercial studies will also be made public after a specified period of time.

The new law will create legal certainty and an appropriate balance between the interest to access geological data on the one hand and companies’ legitimate interests on the other. The objective of organising the process of selection of a site for the final storage of highly radioactive waste in a transparent way is highlighted in the legislation.

Geological data is required for many tasks carried out by the federation and the Länder. It is necessary for underground planning, for environmentally-compatible ways of using the underground, for studying and assessing geological risks and anthropogenic damage. Geological data is also key to the process of identifying and selecting a site for the final storage of highly radioactive waste.

The draft legislation now needs the approval of the Bundesrat.