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Nuclear energy

Public consultation

Areas of reinforcing the existing EURATOM nuclear safety legislative framework

Consultation period

From 21/12/2011 to 29/02/2012

Objective of the consultation

The European Commission is currently assessing areas where the existing Euratom nuclear safety legislative framework could be further reinforced.

This public consultation seeks the views of stakeholders and other interested parties on the need for additional nuclear safety legislative measures at Euratom level. The Commission will evaluate the feedback to this consultation and ensure practical follow-up.

The Commission (Directorate General for Energy) invites you to contribute by answering to the questionnaire. 

The context
Euratom nuclear safety legislative framework - the Nuclear Safety Directive

In its judgement in the Case C-29/99, the Court of Justice of the EU recognised the intrinsic link between radiation protection and nuclear safety and consequently, the competence of the European Atomic Energy Community (hereinafter referred to as 'Euratom') in the field of nuclear safety. In this judgement, the Court stated that “it is not appropriate, in order to define the Community’s competencies, to draw an artificial distinction between the protection of the health of the general public and the safety of sources of ionising radiation.”

On the basis of the recognised Euratom competence on nuclear safety, the Council Directive 2009/71/Euratom establishing a Community framework for the nuclear safety of nuclear installations [OJ L 172, 2.7.2009] (hereinafter referred to as Nuclear Safety Directive pdf was unanimously adopted by the Council of the EU on 25 June 2009,  benefiting from a very large support expressed by the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee.

The Nuclear Safety Directive creates a solid and flexible legally binding framework that defines basic principles and obligations governing nuclear safety. The Directive reflects the provisions of the main international instruments in the field, namely the Convention on Nuclear Safety  [INFCIRC 449 of 5 July 1994 and the Safety Fundamentals pdf [Fundamental safety principles, IAEA Safety Standard Series No. SF-1 (2006)] established by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 

Nuclear safety is defined in the Directive as "the achievement of proper operating conditions, prevention of accidents and mitigation of accident consequences, resulting in protection of workers and the general public from dangers arising from ionizing radiations from nuclear installations".

The objectives of the Nuclear Safety Directive are to maintain and promote the continuous improvement of nuclear safety and its regulation and to ensure that appropriate national arrangements for a high level of nuclear safety are provided by the EU Member States to protect workers and the general public against dangers arising from ionizing radiations from nuclear installations.

The Directive sets up several obligations for the EU Member States related to the legislative, regulatory and organisational framework (Article 4), competent regulatory authorities (Article 5), licence holders (Article 6), expertise and skills in nuclear safety (Article 7), information to the public (Article 8) and reporting (Article 9).

The deadline by when the EU Member States had the obligation to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions to comply with the Directive and communicate them to the European Commission elapsed on 22 July 2011. Those EU Member States which have not yet complied with this deadline should ensure the transposition of the Directive as a matter of priority.

For more information, read the Nuclear safety page

European Council Conclusions of the 24-25 March 2011 meeting

Following the nuclear accident at the Fukushima nuclear power station in Japan, the Heads of State and Government of the EU Member States, reunited in the European Council, called in the Conclusions pdf of their 24-25 March 2011 meeting that the safety of all EU nuclear plants should be reviewed on the basis of a comprehensive and transparent risk and safety assessment ('stress tests'). Furthermore, it has mandated the European Commission to review the existing legal and regulatory framework for the safety of nuclear installations and propose by the end of 2011 any improvements that may be necessary.

To respond to this mandate, the European Commission is currently assessing areas where the existing Euratom nuclear safety legislative framework could be further reinforced. Initial views are included in the Interim Report on the stress tests process, presented by the Commission to the European Council of 9 December 2011 (hereinafter referred to as 'Stress tests interim report'). We would recommend that you consult this document before replying to the questionnaire.

Policy field(s)

Nuclear energy

Target group(s)

Public authorities, Member States authorities, private organisations, industry associations, SMEs, citizens, consumer organisations, trade unions, NGOs, environmental organisations, Notified Bodies, Consultancies, Workers Employers' federations, other relevant stakeholders and Citizens (inside and outside of the European Union).

Contact details

Responsible service : ENER.DDG2.D.1

E-mailENER-LUX-NUCLEAR-SAFETY

Postal address :
Euroforum Complex, Zone d’Activité Cloche d’Or
1, rue Henri M. Schnadt
L – 2530 Luxembourg

How to submit your contribution

Information on on-line questionnaires

You are invited to reply to this public consultation by answering the on-line questionnaire

Number of responses received to this consultation

134 responses received to the on-line consultation plus a number of additional contributions

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