EU-funded research in nuclear fission and radiation protection is implemented through multi-annual Framework Programmes under the provisions of the Euratom Treaty. The current, 7th, Euratom Framework Programme (Euratom FP7) runs for the period 2007-2011.
Euratom FP7 is run in parallel with the much larger 7th Framework Programme under the EC Treaty (EC FP7), which has a 7-year duration, 2007-2013. Euratom and EC FPs are distinct, established under different legal bases, and research considered to fall entirely under the scope of the Euratom FP is not normally fundable under the EC FP. Euratom FPs are limited to a maximum of 5 years by the provisions of the Euratom Treaty.
Euratom FP7 comprises two distinct Specific Programmes:
- 'indirect actions' covering activities in both 'fusion energy research' and 'fission and radiation protection' and implemented by the respective research communities across the EU
- 'direct actions' in nuclear research (covering safety, safeguards and actinide science) carried out by the European Commission's own Joint Research Centre (JRC).
The indirect actions in 'fission and radiation protection' are implemented through annual work programmes and calls for proposals for shared-cost R&D projects carried our by consortia of partners from industrial and research organisations from across Europe. Only these 'indirect actions' in the area of nuclear fission and radiation protection are dealt with here.
The total Euratom FP7 budget is EUR 287 million for indirect actions in fission and radiation protection (implemented in 5 roughly equal annual amounts from 2007 to 2011), EUR 1947 million for indirect actions in fusion energy research, and EUR 517 million for the direct actions carried out by the JRC.
Euratom FP7 has been unanimously approved by all EU Member States. The relevant legal instruments, describing the rationale, programme scope and participation rules, and more details of the priority research areas and recent and current supported projects can be found under Fission at work.