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Europe Formally Adopts New Nuclear Safety Directive

The EU’s amended Nuclear Safety Directive has been officially adopted, providing “more power and independence” for national regulatory authorities, a high-level EU-wide safety objective, and a European system of peer reviews.

The European Commission said the directive will also introduce periodic national safety assessments and on-site emergency preparedness and response arrangements. It increases transparency and improves education and training, a statement said.

The 2014 directive amends the one in force since 2009. It provides a stronger framework for EU nuclear safety, as called for by the EU heads of state or governments following the 2011 nuclear accident at Fukushima-Daiichi.

The European Commission said it welcomed today’s adoption of the new directive.

European energy commissioner Günther Oettinger said the directive is “a major contribution” to improving the safety of nuclear installations and promoting a strong safety culture in Europe.

The amended directive reinforces the provisions of the 2009 directive, by:

- Strengthening the powers and independence of national regulatory authorities that supervise the activities of nuclear operators;

- Introducing an EU-wide safety objective to prevent accidents and avoid radioactive releases outside a nuclear installation;

- Setting up a European system of peer reviews on specific safety issues to be carried out every six years;

- Increasing transparency on nuclear safety matters by ensuring that information is made available to the public both in normal operating conditions of nuclear installations and in case of incidents or accidents;

- Providing for an initial safety assessment before a nuclear installation is built as well as for periodic national safety assessments, at least every 10 years, to re-evaluate the safety of the installations and identify further safety improvements; and

- Improving the consistency of national on-site emergency preparedness and response arrangements.

EU member states will submit a first report to the European Commission on the implementation of the directive by 22 July 2014, and another by 22 July 2020.

The directive will enter into force on the twentieth day following its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. Member states will have three years to incorporate it into national legislation.

The revised directive is online:

Source: NucNet
Editor: David Dalton