The Commission has today put forward revised versions of two legislative texts to introduce new Community legislation on the safety of nuclear installations and radioactive waste management. In the new versions, the Commission has taken account of the comments expressed by the European Parliament and the Council but has preserved the initial objective of the two texts. Loyola de Palacio, Vice-President responsible for Energy and Transport, said: “The Commission would now like to see these two proposals, which are vital for the safety of nuclear energy within the enlarged European Union, discussed without delay by the Council so that this new legislation can be adopted quickly. These are key instruments for ensuring greater transparency, rationalising the debate and dispelling public fears regarding this source of energy.”
The Commission today confirmed that it wanted to introduce binding legislation on the safety of nuclear installations and radioactive waste management in the European Union by proposing a revised version of its two proposals for directives of 30 January 2003. The European Parliament had made amendments to these proposals and the Council had requested changes.
Safety of nuclear installations: the Commission still supports the Community-wide harmonisation of the existing rules and principles and the establishment of a common system for the evaluation of nuclear safety in each Member State.
Management of radioactive waste: the Commission maintains the obligation for each Member State to draw up a final waste management programme with deadlines and the need to boost research and development in this field.
The Commission would again stress the importance of making progress on issues related to the safety of nuclear installations and radioactive waste management, as previously emphasised in the Commission Green Paper Towards a European strategy for the security of energy supply. As things currently stand, nuclear power accounts for about 32% of total electricity production in the enlarged EU.
Community action is essential to ensure that a high level of nuclear safety is maintained. International agreements on the safety of nuclear installations and the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste do not provide a mechanism to ensure that obligations under them are complied with. They are not as effective as Community action and are therefore no substitute for it.
By adopting these revised proposals, the Commission wishes to show public opinion that it is determined to provide the EU with a credible nuclear safety and radioactive waste management policy in the form of legally binding instruments to be implemented by the Member States.