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Nuclear safety

The EU promotes the highest safety standards for all types of civilian nuclear activities, including power generation and waste storage, research and medical uses.

Primary responsibility for the safety of nuclear power plants lies with their operators who are supervised by the national independent regulators. For its part, the Commission plans to put in place more stringent EU‑wide safety rules as a response to the Fukushima accident.

The Commission also works closely with countries outside the EU, in particular with its immediate neighbours. In cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it provides assistance to ensure that countries planning to start using nuclear energy meet internationally recognized safety standards and have the necessary safety infrastructure.

Commission and the IAEA sign a memorandum of understanding - 17 September 2013

The International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding on nuclear safety which establishes a framework for cooperation to help improve nuclear safety in Europe. The memorandum was signed by EU Energy Commissioner Oettinger and IAEA Director General Amano. It creates an enhanced framework for planning various forms of cooperation, such as expert peer reviews and strengthening emergency preparedness and response capabilities. It will allow both organisations to benefit from each other's work, avoid duplication of effort, and contribute to strengthening nuclear safety worldwide.

New safety proposal - June 2013 (modified in October 2013)

 

The Commission has proposed to amend the 2009 nuclear safety directive. The proposal:

  • introduces new EU-wide safety objectives;
  • sets up a European system of peer reviews of nuclear installations;
  • establishes a mechanism for developing EU-wide harmonised nuclear safety guidelines;
  • strengthens the role and independence of national regulators;
  • increases transparency on nuclear safety matters;
  • includes new provisions for on-site emergency preparedness and response.

Peer reviews

The EU needs its own verification mechanism to ensure that common safety objectives are achieved. At least every 6 years nuclear installations would have to undergo specific assessments on one or more nuclear safety issues. The assessments would be submitted for EU‑wide peer reviews.

Watch the video

Nuclear safety video

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