4 May 2012

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NEWS

BACKGROUND

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

EU nuclear stress tests: Technical report and additional plant visits agreed

Brussels, 26 April 2012 - EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger and Andrej Stritar, Chairperson of ENSREG, the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group, welcomed today's adoption of the ENSREG stress test report and the agreement to examine some safety aspects in more detail and prepare a follow up in the next few months

Günther Oettinger said: "This extensive report is a major element of our stress tests. Now, we will do additional visits of power plants and analyse some safety aspects in more detail. EU citizens have the right to know and understand how safe the nuclear power plants are they live close to. Soundness is more important than timing. "

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Nuclear Safety: Greek, Polish and Portuguese legislation is not in line with EU law

Brussels, 26 April 2012 - Nuclear safety is paramount to EU citizens and it is of major concern for EU law-makers. The EU nuclear safety directive (2009/71/Euratom) sets comprehensive and legally binding rules that ensure the safety of all nuclear installations all over the EU. In the light of on-going safety checks of all nuclear power plants it is essential that the directive is properly implemented in all Member States. Together this will enhance the EU nuclear safety regime and guarantee that workers of nuclear installations and general public as well as the environment will be protected against any risk of radioactive contamination.

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Energy performance of buildings: Commission refers Italy to Court

Brussels, 26 April 2012 - Buildings are responsible for around 40% of energy consumption and 36% of the CO² emissions in the European Union. The European legislation aims to achieve a significant reduction in the energy consumption of buildings, thus helping to combat climate change and strengthen the EU's energy security. Large energy savings will also enable households to drastically reduce their bills. It is therefore essential that Member States fully apply this legislation.

Günther Oettinger said: "This extensive report is a major element of our stress tests. Now, we will do additional visits of power plants and analyse some safety aspects in more detail. EU citizens have the right to know and understand how safe the nuclear power plants are they live close to. Soundness is more important than timing. "

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Conference on Eco-industries’ potential for growth, jobs and sustainability

The Joint Research Centre is organising on 15 May a conference on "Scientific support for growth, jobs and sustainability: the example of the eco-industries". High level speakers from science and industry will discuss the main sectors concerned: water, air quality, waste, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. EU Commissioner for research, innovation and science, Màire Geoghegan-Quinn, will take part in the opening session.

Eco-industries produce goods and services to measure, prevent, limit, minimise or correct environmental damage to water, air and soil as well as problems related to waste and eco-systems. They have a significant innovation and technological potential, which can create economic growth and jobs at local level. Already, eco-industries account for more than 3.4 million direct jobs in the EU and have a turnover of more than €300 billion (2.5% of the EU's GDP).

The main actors involved in eco-industries from the science and research, policy and business communities are invited to attend this conference to identify the key research and policy priorities, both for the eco-industries sector as a whole and the relevant sub-sectors.

The conference will take place in Brussels, in the Charlemagne building (Alcide di Gasperi auditorium) from 09:00h to 17:30h on 15 May. Agenda and registration (mandatory) are available online: www.jrc.ec.europa.eu/events/ecoindustry

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Background

EU proposals for cutting energy consumption through greater efficiency

What's the issue?

  • Current estimates show the EU is not on track to achieve its target of reducing its estimated energy consumption for 2020 by 20%.
  • As a result, new measures on energy efficiency are now being proposed for implementation throughout the economy to bring the EU back on track to achieve its objective by 2020

What exactly would change?

  • Public bodies would need to buy energy-efficient buildings, products and services, and refurbish 3% of their buildings each year to drastically reduce their energy consumption.
  • Energy utilities would have to encourage end users to cut their energy consumption through efficiency improvements such as the replacement of old boilers or insulation of their homes.
  • Industry would be expected to become more aware of energy-saving possibilities, with large companies required to undertake energy audits every 3 years.
  • Consumers would be better able to manage their energy consumption thanks to better information provided on their meters and bills.
  • Energy transformation would be monitored for efficiency, with the EU proposing measures to improve performance if necessary, and promoting cogeneration of heat and electricity.
  • National energy regulatory authorities would have to take energy efficiency into account when deciding how and at what costs energy is distributed to end users.
  • Certification schemes would be introduced for providers of energy services to ensure a high level of technical competence.

Who would benefit and how?

  • Consumers would benefit from having better information available to control their energy consumption and influence their energy bills.
  • The environment would benefit from reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Public bodies could reduce their spending for energy consumption by using more efficient buildings, products and services.
  • The EU economy would benefit from a more secure energy supply and economic growth through the creation of new jobs, particularly in building renovation.

What happens next?

  • Once the proposal is adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, EU countries will have to transpose the rules into national law within one year.
  • Progress made in achieving EU's 20% energy saving target in 2020 will be reviewed in 2014. If it is insufficient, mandatory national energy efficiency targets will be proposed.

More information is available here

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