The Euratom Treaty established the Euratom Supply Agency (ESA) with legal personality and financial autonomy under the supervision of the European Commission. The ESA has been operating since 1 June, 1960.
The main task foreseen in the Euratom Treaty is “to ensure that all users in the Community receive a regular and equitable supply of ores and nuclear fuel”. Chapter VI is devoted to the supply policy of nuclear materials in the EU, in particular it sets up the tasks and obligations of the ESA. The ESA has exclusive right to conclude contracts for the supply of ores, source materials and special fissile materials (Article 52) within the EU.
The Statutes of the Euratom Supply Agency address its operational and financial provisions. They also define the role of ESA Advisory Committee which acts as a link between the ESA and both users and producers in the EU nuclear industry. The Committee assists ESA by giving opinions and providing analysis and information.
The ESA Rules implement the Article 60 of the Euratom Treaty and set the manner in which demand is to be balanced against supply of ores, source materials and fissile materials. In practice, the simplified procedure is used for the conclusion of supply contracts as provided for in Article 5 bis of the Rules. These Rules also define how the relevant information about supplies has to be declared to the ESA.
Any act performed by the ESA in the exercise of its right of option or of its exclusive right to conclude supply contracts may be challenged before the Commission (Article 53 of the Euratom Treaty).