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EU research in nuclear fission and radiation protection is carried out under the provisions of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (referred to as the Euratom Treaty), one of the original Treaties of Rome signed in 1957. Under this treaty the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) was also founded to undertake research into aspects such as nuclear safety and security.
Alongside the research carried out in the JRC’s institutes, the European Commission is funding Euratom research projects and actions through calls for proposals within multi-annual framework programmes.
The current Euratom framework programme is the seventh of its kind. It covers the five-year period 2007–11 and is implemented by two specific programmes: one for direct research actions carried out by the JRC, the other one for indirect research actions – i.e. EU-funded research managed by the Commission’s Directorate-General for Research (DG Research).
This website deals only with the specific Euratom research programme managed by DG Research.
Nuclear fission energy
The nuclear power industry makes a significant contribution to meeting Europe’s demand for energy, supplying one third of all the electricity consumed in the EU.
Thanks to its very low production of CO2, nuclear energy reduces the EU’s total greenhouse-gas emissions by some 14% a year – more than 700 million tonnes of CO2, equivalent to that produced by all the private cars in Europe. Thus, nuclear power contributes significantly to helping the EU meet its commitments made in the Kyoto Protocol and in the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan).
In addition to this, nuclear energy
Europe is a world leader in nuclear technology and services, with an important research sector, which brings along commercial advantages resulting from the export of technological expertise in a global and competitive environment. However, we are facing increasing competition from our overseas competitors, in particular those in Asia.
In the Euratom framework programme, current research aims to establish a sound scientific and technical basis to accelerate practical developments towards the safe long-term management of hazardous radioactive waste, and to enhance key aspects influencing future exploitation of nuclear energy such as resource efficiency, cost-effectiveness and safety and performance characteristics.
Radiation protection research aims at optimising the protection of man and the environment from exposure to all sources of ionising radiation, in particular low and protracted doses resulting from:
Cellular and molecular biological research on the interaction between radiation and DNA, cells, organs, and the body helps us to understand and mitigate the adverse effects of radiation.