Nuclear safety cooperation in third countries

Nuclear safety cooperation in third countries

Nuclear safety cooperation in third countries


The EU attaches great importance to the highest standards of nuclear safety in Europe and beyond its borders. Through cooperation under the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC), the EU contributes to the improvement of nuclear safety levels and efficient and effective nuclear safeguards in non-EU countries.

The first INSC was established by Council Regulation (Euratom) N° 300 / 2007 of 19 February 2007, in a follow-up to the TACIS nuclear programme. Funds amounting to €524 million were allocated for the period 2007 to 2013 to support EU activities and promote the highest levels of nuclear safety, radiation protection and effective nuclear safeguards globally.

In 2013, a second INSC was established by Council Regulation (Euratom) No 237/2014 of 13 December 2013, covering the period 2014 to 2020, with a total budget of €225 million.

Through the INSC programmes, the EU supports joint projects with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and contributes towards completion of the Chernobyl projects through the Chernobyl Funds managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The EU is the largest donor to these Funds devoted to the completion of vital work at Chernobyl.


Armenia - Supporting the operator  in enhancing nuclear safety at Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant

Major elements of INSC cooperation with non-EU countries include the promotion and development of effective regulatory frameworks, technical support to nuclear regulatory bodies, and national technical safety organisations. Activities are expanded to the field of nuclear safeguards, radioactive waste management and emergency preparedness. The EU support aims at ensuring that nuclear safety is the leading concept in regulatory and legal frameworks and operational decisions in non-EU countries.


Tajikistan - "yellow hill" containing uranium ore waste at Taboshar legacy site

Cooperation under the INSC is ongoing or planned with about 15 countries worldwide, on a bilateral and regional basis. The EU cooperates with countries in the Eastern European Neighbourhood and Central Asia region, Southern European Neighbourhood and Middle East, and expanding the nuclear safety cooperation to countries in Latin America, Asia and South-East Asia.

Individual projects are elaborated in detail in the Annual Action Programmes (further info under FUNDING).


Related documentS

Commission Decision on the Strategy for a Community Cooperation Programme on Nuclear Safety (2014-2020)

INSC Strategy 2014-2020

Commission Decision on the INSC Cooperation Multiannual Indicative Programme (2014-2017)

INSC MIP 2014-2017

Wherever nuclear energy is produced, it must be produced in a safe and secure way – including the safe disposal of radioactive waste and the decommissioning of nuclear facilities. Failure to meet these requirements can lead to contamination impacting vast areas, affecting the lives and health of entire populations. The EU external assistance programme called the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC), supports the improvement of nuclear safety around the world.

The EU ensures a high level of nuclear safety in all 28 member states. The accidents in Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2011) were reminders of the crucial importance of this policy.

As a result of its lengthy experience in the field, the EU is well positioned to engage in international cooperation to ensure that nuclear activities are conducted in line with the highest standards of safety.

The EU policy on cooperation in the field of nuclear safety is governed by the Council Regulation (Euratom) No. 237/2014 establishing a new Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation.

It provides the framework for external Community cooperation concerning the global challenges of improving nuclear safety. It builds on the experience of the TACIS Nuclear Safety Programme (1992-2006) and the first Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (2007-2013).

The objectives for 2014-2020 are the following:

1. Promotion of nuclear safety culture


Training and tutoring of nuclear regulatory authorities sharing EU expertise

Training and tutoring of nuclear regulatory authorities sharing EU expertise

The promotion of an effective nuclear safety culture and the implementation of the highest nuclear safety and radiation protection standards, and the continuous improvement of nuclear safety: 50% of the total budget €112 million.

The promotion of effective nuclear safety culture means:

  • establish and reinforce the competence and independence of nuclear safety authorities;
  • continue transferring the EU regulatory methodologies and provide institutional support, including training and education;
  • cooperate with the regulatory bodies in actual licensing and supervision processes and in the process of establishing regulations or guides;
  • strengthen capacity on emergency response and preparedness;
  • support regulatory authorities on periodic safety reviewas and other assessments and the subsequent implementation of recommendations (e.g 'stress tests' on the basis of EU experience);
  • training services, including participation in inspection activities and emergency exercises, in particular through the 'Training and Tutoring project'.

2. Radioactive Waste Management


Ukraine - Waste volume reduction with EU support at Zaporozhe Nuclear Power Plant

Ukraine - Waste volume reduction with EU support at Zaporozhe Nuclear Power Plant

Responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste (i.e. transport, pre-treatment, treatment, processing, storage and disposal), the decommissioning and remediation of former nuclear sites and installations: 35 % of the total budget of €78 million.

Responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste means:

  • waste management, including environmental remediation and decommissioning;
  • development of regulatory frameworks, national strategies and feasibility studies and, in some cases, the implementation of the strategies;
  • development and implementation of regulatory frameworks for mining activities and management of radioactive sources.

3. Safeguards


Safeguard verification at a nuclear fuel storage pond

Safeguard verification at a nuclear fuel storage pond

The establishment of frameworks and methodologies for the application of efficient and effective safeguards for nuclear material in third countries: 10% of the total budget – €22.5 million.

Activities on safeguards are:

  • effective safeguards systems and effective control of nuclear materials;
  • strengthen and enhancing nuclear material accountancy and control in relevant nuclear fuel cycle facilities;
  • support regional nuclear safeguards education programmes.

4. Support measures: 5% of the total budget –  €11 million.


The Regulation sets out the geographical scope of the activities. Priority will be given to actions in the Accession and Neighbourhood countries (including countries previously covered by the Instrument for Pre-Accession 2007-2013). However, no geographical regions are a priori excluded and consideration has to be given to the commitments made in the framework of EU Agreements with third countries in the area of nuclear safety cooperation.

There will be no INSC funding in high income countries, except potential special measures following accidents.

This means:

  • Advance programmes will be set up in the neighbourhood, mainly in Ukraine;
  • Initiatives will continue in Central Asia and Latin America, where possible and appropriate;
  • The programme will be open for support to African countries for example with uranium mining industries or engaging in such activities. A first project in Tanzania is being prepared.

Council Regulation N° 300-2007 establishing the INSC

Report from the Commission on the evaluation of the implementation of the INSC in the period 2007-2013

Council Regulation N° 237-2014 establishing the INSC

The Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC), with a budget of €225 million for 2014-2020, continues to promote high standards of nuclear safety amongst nuclear regulators in non-EU countries, safe management of radioactive waste and the application of efficient and effective safeguards for nuclear materials.


The focus is on providing support to build and develop nuclear safety culture worldwide. Special attention is paid to safeguards as the proliferation of uncontrolled nuclear material poses a major security risk should it fall into the hands of terrorists, for example. For the first time, work will start in Africa given the need to address the repercussions associated with uranium mining in the region. Finally, initiatives to improve the health and environmental situation of the population in and around Chernobyl will continue.

Related documentS

Commission Decisions:

Selected results achieved with EU support through projects and programmes completed between mid-2014 and mid-2015


Nuclear safety

  • In 2 countries – Mexico and Brazil - a strategy to enhance safety measures was agreed by all stakeholders in the frame of developing nuclear safety and safe management of radioactive waste.
  • 9 training programmes and training materials on all main areas of nuclear power use (thermal and mechanical equipment, operation, maintenance and repair of refuelling system, nondestructive testing (NDT) inspections of piping and components, maintenance of electrical equipment, maintenance and repair of instrumentation & control equipment) have been developed for managers and maintenance staff at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in Ukraine.
  • To ensure safety and minimise the dangerous effects of the Chernobyl site, the permissions process for operation for the centralised storage facility for High Activity Spent Sources (HASS) in the Vector Complex of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone has been issued.

As part of EU/EC policies to support countries considering the utilisation of nuclear power or being at the first stages of introducing nuclear power, to ensure all due safety and security provisions in their institutional, legal framework and operating practices:

  • A National Policy Document for the management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste has been produced in Mexico.
  • A set of regulations and guides establishing a regulatory framework for the Agency for Radiation and Nuclear Safety of Vietnam (VARANS) has been delivered through training activities.
  • 170 persons (67 women and 103 men) from National Regulatory Authorities (NRA) in Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC) were trained to develop or strengthen their regulatory and technical capabilities.
  • 264 persons (68 women and 196 men) from Nuclear Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) in Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC) were worldwide trained to develop or strengthen their regulatory and technical capabilities.

38 national focal points (contact persons for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear incidents/ issues) in member countries of the EU Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Risk (CBRN) centres of excellence initiative have been identified to coordinate within the CBRN network in case of an important military or political event or threat.

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