How is the programme designed to deliver results?
The operation of nuclear power plants is the responsibility of any State that chooses to include nuclear in its energy mix. Nevertheless, as history showed with the accidents of Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011, any accident has transboundary consequences and affects the population and the environment of neighbouring countries and regions. In other words, ensuring nuclear safety and security has features of a public good.
The European Union has thus both a role to play and value to add in terms of safeguarding the safety and security of its citizens and protecting the environment by ensuring that nuclear reactors are operated safely and according to the best international standards.
EI-INSC’ objective is to support the promotion of nuclear safety culture and radiation protection, the safe management of spent nuclear fuels and radioactive wastes, and the application of effective and efficient safeguards of nuclear materials in third countries.
This is to be achieved by cooperating with the key stakeholders and, in particular, with the responsible nuclear regulatory authorities, with the aim of transferring EU expertise and promoting transparency by third countries’ authorities in nuclear ‑related decision‑making.
EI-INSC’ objectives are:
- the promotion of an effective nuclear safety and radiation protection culture and implementation of the highest nuclear safety and radiation protection standards, and continuous improvement of nuclear safety, including through the promotion of transparency of third countries’ authorities’ decision making processes relating to the safety of nuclear installations;
- responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste and the decommissioning and remediation of former nuclear sites and installations, including the promotion of transparency of third countries’ authorities’ decision making processes;
- the establishment of efficient and effective safeguards for nuclear material in third countries.
- EUR 300.0 millionTotal financial programming 2021-2027
In EUR million.
EI-INSC will establish cooperation with and support beneficiary countries through a variety of means, including the provision of services, equipment, technical assistance, training, tutoring, and information exchange (including through twinning projects). EI-INSC can also provide budget support, and take part in multi‑lateral assistance/cooperation projects together with Member States or International Organisations.
Direct management by the Commission (including through the Union Delegations) and under indirect management by entities, such as the EU member States’ agencies or International Organisations that ensure a level of protection of the EU’s financial interests equivalent to that under direct management. Indirect management may also be entrusted to partner countries or the bodies they designate.
Innovative financial instruments, including in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and other international financial institutions, will be used for blending activities.
Performance framework: more information
Where are we in the implementation?
You will find information on the programme implementation in this webpage.
It will be updated when the programme will have started on an annual basis alongside the publication of the draft budget and the discharge.
Next publication (estimation): June 2022.
Predecessor programmes 2014-2020
EI-INSC builds on the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation in the 2014-2020 MFF.
2014-2020 Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation
- EUR 314.4 millionBudget allocation 2014-2020
Overall execution (2014-2020)
||EUR 314.4 million
||EUR 201.6 million
This graph includes implementation based on voted budget appropriations and carried-over appropriations.
More information on the overall execution
- The nuclear safety programme is implemented through projects that are contracted after an international call for tenders. Some of the projects need the prior signature of a financing agreement with the beneficiary country, which delays the contracting procedure. This results in a shift in implementation that is at the origin of the incomplete budget consumption at the end of the multiannual financial framework exercise. Part of the budget allocated to the 2014-2020 INSC will be still contracted in 2021-2023. As such, the balance does not indicate any particular delay and is consistent with previous exercises.
- The COVID-19 crisis has significantly slowed down the implementation of the projects in the beneficiary countries, as the INSC is a fully centralised managed instrument. Travel restrictions due to the health situation made it difficult to deploy activities on-site. Remote cooperation has been used as often as practically feasible, in particular for training activities, but this did not allow for a 100% effective back-up plan.
Key monitoring indicators
|Nuclear safety culture and radiation protection standards – regulatory documents produced with the support of EU expertise
||36 compared to a target of 8
|Responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste – regulatory documents produced with the support of EU expertise
||18 compared to a target of 9
|Nuclear safeguard authorities benefiting from Commission-funded projects
||4 compared to a target of 3
% of target achieved by the end of 2020
More information on the performance of the programme
- During previous multiannual financial frameworks, cooperation with the partner country regulatory authorities was primarily aimed at improving governmental, legal and regulatory frameworks, based on the EU’s experience. This involved the transfer of regulatory practices used in the EU Member States.
- The competence of staff working in the nuclear area is of utmost importance in ensuring that the use of nuclear technology is safe. The training and tutoring actions, which transfer EU knowledge to students and young professionals, trained around 2 500 staff in the beneficiary countries between 2014 and 2020. Some 34% of these were women, which contributes to the gender equality goal in a highly specialised scientific area. This confirms the success of the programme.
- The Central Asian states have inherited 1 billion tonnes of hazardous processing waste, consisting of highly toxic chemical and radioactive residues left behind and unsafely stored in uranium legacy sites. The EU flagship programme for the remediation of the legacy sites is now mature, with the completion of the necessary feasibility studies and environmental impact assessments that provided for the technical solutions and associated costs to clean up the selected priority sites. At the European Commission’s request, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has set up an international multidonor fund (the Environmental Remediation Account) to finance the implementation of the remediation programme based on EU-funded feasibility studies in accordance with the highest international nuclear safety standards. The first two remediation projects in Kyrgyzstan began in 2020, and activities are planned to start in Uzbekistan in 2021.
- A major milestone in making the Chernobyl site environmentally stable and safe was reached on 29 November 2016, with the New Safe Confinement being slid over the nuclear reactor that was destroyed in April 1986. The New Safe Confinement is a giant arch-shaped structure that covers the damaged Chernobyl Unit 4 to prevent any further radioactive release. The total project cost is in the order of EUR 1.5 billion, to which the EU contributed more than EUR 430 million. In July 2019, the facility was officially handed over to the Ukrainian government. In 2020, the last facility to safely store spent nuclear fuel was completed and transferred to Ukraine, bringing to an end the long-lasting international engagement on Chernobyl.
- The first project supporting the Iranian Nuclear Regulatory Authority started in July 2017, and is running smoothly in a very cooperative atmosphere. Two follow-up projects are ongoing to establish a Nuclear Safety Centre in Tehran – in compliance with the EU’s commitment to implement the joint comprehensive plan of action – and to perform stress tests at the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Another capacity-building project was adopted under the 2019 annual action programme, demonstrating the EU’s commitment to fully implementing the joint comprehensive plan of action, and a fifth project will be submitted under the 2020 annual action programme. Although under difficult conditions, with the withdrawal of the United States and the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU continues to fulfil its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with the Islamic Republic of Iran, supporting the Iranian Nuclear Regulatory Authority and the Bushehr nuclear power plant.
- The INSC has been relevant for improving nuclear safety in non-EU countries aligned to EU policies and priorities and addressing specific needs. Measuring nuclear safety is inherently difficult, but the instrument produced concrete examples of success on the ground, as presented above.
- Even if the programme is fit to achieve its objectives, programming documents can become more informative for non-experts without constraining flexibility. The direct and mainstreamed support provided for environmental protection, sector management and gender equality deserves wider visibility and recognition.
Concrete examples of achievements
- 2 500people took part in the training and tutoring programme in 2014-2020.
- 30countries and regions benefited from EU assistance in nuclear safety in 2014-2020.
- 36regulatory documents were drafted and adopted in 2014-2020.
- 18nuclear waste management and strategy documents were produced in 2014-2020.
Programme Performance Overview