Under Article 52 of the Euratom Treaty, the ESA has "an exclusive right to conclude contracts relating to the supply of ores, source materials and special fissile materials coming from inside the Community or from outside".
According to Article 5 bis (d) of the Rules of the Supply Agency 1( the Rules ), as far as ores and source materials are concerned, a supply contract (including purchase, sale, exchange, loan/exchange contracts) should, for the purpose of its conclusion, be submitted to the ESA for signature within 10 working days from its signature by the parties other than the ESA. The parties are encouraged to use a submission form and, if necessary, to discuss any possible uncertainties with the ESA before formally submitting such a contract.
After analysis, if the supply contract is compatible with the provisions and objectives of the Euratom Treaty and the Community's international obligations, the ESA either concludes the supply contract or refuses to conclude it within 10 working days from the date of receipt thereof (Article 5 bis (f) of the Rules).
If the ESA agrees with the supply contract, it concludes it by signing the original copies received, keeps one original for the ESA's files and returns the remaining originals to the party that has sent them, informing it about the reference number attributed to the contract.
If the ESA imposes conditions or refuses to conclude the supply contract, it should provide the parties concerned with a reasoned decision. This decision can be referred to the Commission in accordance with Article 5 (5) of the Statues of the ESA.
In the event of cancelation of the supply contract, the parties should notify the ESA as soon as possible (Article 5 bis (h) of the Rules).
It should be noted that any amendment to the supply contract shall require the signature of the ESA in accordance with the procedure for the original supply contract (Article 5 bis (i) of the Rules). As the supply contract should be concluded by the ESA, any assignment agreement related to it should be presented to the ESA for signature.
The same procedure as described above applies to any supply contract involving special fissile materials (essentially enriched uranium and plutonium). Contracts that involve both supply of materials and enrichment services are considered as supply contracts and are consequently concluded by the ESA under Article 52 of the Euratom Treaty.
In certain cases, the conclusion of a supply contract also requires the Commission's authorization. In particular, the prior Commission's authorization is needed for the export of nuclear materials produced in the Community (Article 59 (b) and 62.1 (c) of the Euratom Treaty) and for the conclusion of supply contracts with a duration of more than 10 years (Article 60 of the Euratom Treaty). In such cases, in addition to the procedure applicable to the conclusion of the supply contract, the ESA initiates the procedure for the granting of the Commission's authorization.
1 Rules of the Supply Agency of the European Atomic Energy Community determining the manner in which demand is to be balanced against the supply of ores, source materials and special fissile materials