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Prior to l955, all activities serving the peaceful use of nuclear energy were restricted in Germany by Allied Military Command. In October of 1955, a Federal Ministry was established to deal with atomic issues. With the development of nuclear physics, and its technological and scientific consequences, public administration was faced by new kinds of tasks.

By Governmental decree of December 21, 1955, the German Atomic Commission was founded on January 26, 1956. Its task was to advise the Federal Ministry dealing with atomic issues (since 1957, Federal Ministry for Nuclear Energy and Water Resources) in all essential matters connected with the research and development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Under the chairmanship of the Minister for atomic affairs, the Commission included 27 members, well-known personages from mainly science, technology, economy, and the unions. To effectively perform its tasks, the Atomic Commission established its own internal rules. Accordingly, the members were selected by personal appointment, so as not to be bound by orders or directives in regard to their statements. The Atomic Commission was authorized to appoint expert commissions for particular kinds of tasks.

During the consecutive months after the Atomic Commission was established, 5 expert commissions were appointed. The expert commission IV on „Radiological Protection“ was constituted in early 1956. It may be considered as the direct predecessor of today's Commission on Radiological Protection.

The following working groups were assigned to this commission:

  • III/IV/I: „Radiological Protection and Safety of Nuclear Installations“,
  • IV/2: „Radiation Measuring Techniques“,
  • IV/3: „Radiological Protection in the Management of Radioactive Substances“,
  • IV/4: „Radiation Biology“, and
  • IV/5: „Legal- and Administrative Aspects of Radiological Protection“.

From this structure, it is easy to recognize the predecessors of today's committees of the Commission on Radiological Protection. For the following years, the Atomic Commission was advising the Federal Ministry for Research in Science and, ultimately, the Federal Ministry for Education and Science. The Atomic Commission, and thus the technical committees, existed until 1971. In December of l971, they were replaced by four technical committees, of which the Committee on „Radiological Protection and Safety“ took on the responsibilities of the former expert committee IV of the Atomic Commission; with the exclusion of reactor safety, for which field a special advisory panel, the Reactor Safety Commission, was set up as early as in 1958. On December 8, 1971, the constituent session of the expert committee on „Radiological Protection and Safety“ took place.

After, in l973, the responsibility for reactor safety and radiological protection was transferred to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the Commission on Radiological Protection (Strahlenschutzkommission, SSK in short) was appointed by official announcement on April 19, 1974, for the purpose of advising the Federal Ministry in all matters of protection against the hazards of ionizing radiation. The inaugural session was held on October 17/18, 1974. Since June 6, 1986, and the transfer of responsibility, SSK advises the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

On December 22, 1998, the Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety Jürgen Trittin disbanded the SSK and annulated the articles that had been in effect until that time. On January 9, 1999, the new articles of the SSK were published (BAnz Nr. 5). On March 11, 1999, the Federal Environment Minister appointed the new members of the Reactor Safety Commission (RSK) and the SSK. The constituent session of the new SSK was held on May 6, 1999.

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