Brussels, 4.4.2016 – This is the first report since Fukushima in 2011, focusing on the investments related to post-Fukushima safety upgrades and to the safe operation of existing facilities.
In addition, this Nuclear Illustrative Programme highlights the estimated financing needs related to nuclear power plants’ decommissioning and to the management of radioactive waste and spent fuel. The Nuclear Illustrative Program provides a basis for discussion and aims to include all stakeholders, especially civil society, in the discussion on nuclear energy trends and related investments for the period up to 2050.
While Member States are free to decide their energy mix, the Energy Union Strategy and the European Energy Security Strategy stressed that Member States who decide to use nuclear energy in their own energy mix to apply the highest standards of safety, security, waste management and non-proliferation as well as diversify nuclear fuel supplies.
Vice-President responsible for Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič said: “Based on Member States input, the Nuclear Illustrative Programme of the Commission (PINC) provides a useful photograph of the whole lifecycle of nuclear power in Europe: from the front-end of fuel fabrication, to safety upgrades and long-term operations, to the back-end of the cycle, including waste management and decommissioning. The PINC contributes to the implementation of the Energy Union strategy, by looking into relevant Member States’ investments from the perspective of safety, security of supply, diversification, technological and industrial leadership”
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete said: “Five years after the accident at Fukushima Daiichi, Europe has learnt the lessons. The Nuclear Illustrative Program brings together for the first time an overview of all investment aspects of nuclear energy in a single document. It thus contributes to the public discussion on nuclear matters. Together we should be able to identify ways to cooperate across Europe to ensure that knowledge about the safest use of nuclear power plants is shared, rather than done separately by each regulator, and that the management of radioactive waste is secured financially by Member States until its final disposal.“
Today, the Commission also presented a recommendation to Member States concerning the application of Article 103 of the Euratom Treaty. The recommendation requires Member States to have the Commission’s opinion on agreements with third countries on nuclear matters (Intergovernmental Agreements) before concluding them. This recommendation aims to make that process more efficient by clarifying the key aspects and requirements that Member States have to take into account when negotiating such agreements, in particular regarding the new directives on nuclear safety and the safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste. The application of this recommendation should reduce the need for the Commission to object to the conclusion of agreements, and thereby reduce the risk of delay in their conclusion.
Nuclear Illustrative Programme
The Nuclear Illustrative Programme is a requirement under Article 40 of the Euratom Treaty. It builds on the analysis of i) the effects of recently adopted policy and legislative initiatives (e.g. Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste Directive, revised Basic Safety Standards, amended Nuclear Safety Directive), ii) publicly available data (e.g.: documents published by the OECD/ Nuclear Energy Agency, the International Energy Agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Nuclear Association), as well as iii) information received from Member States and stakeholders (meetings and questionnaires). Questionnaires have been sent by the Commission to EU nuclear operators and to the members of the Commission’s expert group on decommissioning funding to make sure that the PINC analysis is based on the latest available figures and to receive information respectively on:
- The investments related to the safety upgrades of existing nuclear power plants following on the EU nuclear stress tests as well as in view of their potential long term operation,
- The management of financial resources for activities related to decommissioning of nuclear power plants.
Euratom Treaty Article 103 Recommendation
Member States shall communicate to the Commission draft agreements or contracts with a third State, an international organisation or a national of a third State to the extent that such agreements or contracts concern matters within the purview of this Treaty. If a draft agreement or contract contains clauses which impede the application of this Treaty, the Commission shall, within one month of receipt of such communication, make its comments known to the State concerned.
The State shall not conclude the proposed agreement or contract until it has satisfied the objections of the Commission or complied with a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, adjudicating urgently upon an application from the State, on the compatibility of the proposed clauses with the provisions of this Treaty. An application may be made to the Court of Justice of the European Union at any time after the State has received the comments of the Commission.
Until now Article 103 has been deemed to be self-executing; however, with the progressive development of the Euratom acquis, Member States have had to take into account an increasing number of Euratom requirements when negotiating their agreements. Some of these requirements, such as those contained in the Nuclear Waste Directive (Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom), are of particular relevance in the context of external relations.
(Source: European Commission – press release)