21 March 2013

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NEWS

BACKGROUND

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Call for tenders

How much can you save with new tyres: fuel saving calculator

You can use this calculator to estimate your potential savings in terms of money, fuel and CO2, when replacing your old tyres with new ones with different efficiency levels.

You need to put into the calculator the main variables influencing the fuel consumption of your vehicle: your type of vehicle (car, van or bus/lorry), your driving pattern (urban and/or highway journeys) and the number of kilometres you want to consider in the calculation. The calculator will then provide you with the calculated savings.

8 April - Internal energy market conference: Application deadline 2 April

The second conference on the completion of the EU internal energy market "Making the Internal Energy Market work" will take place on 8 April in Brussels. The conference follows up on the first conference that took place in September 2011. The aim of the event is to take stock of current developments in the internal market and identify the main challenges ahead. The event will focus on finding solutions on how to overcome these challenges in order to complete the internal energy market by 2014. Those issues were addressed also in the Commission's Communication of 15 November 2012.

The participants will include stakeholders from the energy industry, consumer organisations, representatives of Member States, the European Parliament, the European Commission and energy regulators.

Further information and registration details at:
http://ec.europa.eu/energy/gas_electricity/events/20130408_iem_en.htm

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Commission refers Poland and Cyprus to the Court of Justice

The European Commission has referred on 21 March Poland and Cyprus to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to transpose the Renewable Energy Directive. The Directive aims at ensuring a 20% share of renewable energy in the EU by 2020. The Directive had to be transposed by the Member States by 5 December 2010.

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Commissioner Oettinger welcomes Parliament adoption of the Energy Infrastructure Regulation

On 12 March the European Parliament adopted the Regulation on Guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure. The Council still needs to formally approve the regulation.

Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Energy said: "This is really a breakthrough and will give a big push to much needed infrastructure: Rather than waiting up to 12 years or longer for a permit, developers of crucial cross-border infrastructure - such as pipelines or power grids - will have a decision in about 4 years. This will save them time and money – and will help us creating a true European market where energy systems are physically connected with each other. Consumers and companies will profit because competition keeps costs down.''

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Background

Two years after Fukushima – nuclear safety in Europe. Q&A

Immediately after the accident in the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan on March 11, 2011, the European Union decided to reassess the level of nuclear safety in all nuclear power plants in the EU. This was the first time that:

  • A common methodology was developed
  • All EU nuclear power plants in the EU were assessed at the same time and
  • Multinational teams assessed nuclear power plants.

This was done in close cooperation with ENSREG, the group of national safety authorities of all 27 Member States.

What did the stress tests check?

The main aim of the stress tests was to assess the safety and robustness of nuclear power plants in case of extreme natural events. This means especially flood and earthquakes. Both scenarios were assessed simultaneously. Air plane crashes have been covered to the extent that they have the same effect as tsunami and earthquakes, meaning that they shut down normal safety and cooling functions.

These stress tests consisted of three phases. In phase one the nuclear power plant operators carried out a self-assessment, in phase two national regulators evaluated these self-assessments and prepared country reports. In phase three, these reports were analysed by multinational teams in a peer review process, organised by ENSREG, the group of national safety authorities of all 27 Member States. In addition, the peer review teams have visited nuclear power plant sites. 17 countries fully participated in the stress tests (all 14 EU countries with operating nuclear power plants, Lithuania with a plant under decommissioning, plus Ukraine and Switzerland).

What were the main findings of the stress tests?

The European Commission's communication on results of the nuclear stress tests (4 October 2012) based on the ENSREG Report (presented at the June 2012 European Council for information) has revealed that:

  • Levels of safety of nuclear power plants in Europe are generally high and no NPP should be shut down for safety reasons.
  • A need for significant and tangible improvements has been identified for almost all nuclear power plants.

Have safety features of nuclear power plants already been improved?

All 14 Member States with nuclear power plants and Switzerland have prepared national action plans which include timetables for implementation. These plans will be peer-reviewed by national teams at the end of April 2013.

The European Commission and ENSREG will review the status of the implementation of the recommendations by June 2014.
In several Member States works on improvements have already started. These works include for example:

  • Implement/improve seismic instrumentation
  • Evaluation of risk due to seismically induced floods and fires
  • Reinforcement of structures against extreme weather phenomena
  • Strengthening flood protection, reinforcement of embankments
  • Implementation of backup cooling water supply from external mobile equipment
  • Implementation of mobile diesel generators

When will the improvements be completed?

The deadline of 2015 should be understood as indicative timeframe given by the Commission to the Member States to remind them of the importance of the implementation of the recommendations and to encourage them to do it as swiftly as possible. Some investments required will, however, certainly go beyond 2015.

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