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Parliamentary questions
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26 October 2017
Answer given by Mr Arias Cañete on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: P-005475/2017

Dumping of radioactive waste at sea is illegal under the terms of the London Convention(1).

Within the framework of Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom(2), the Commission is not empowered to investigate reports of potential clandestine activities or to verify data that is reportedly available in Sweden. According to the Euratom Treaty(3), Sweden(4) is responsible for carrying out continuous monitoring of the level of radioactivity in the air, water and soil — including its territorial waters — and to communicate this information to the Commission. Long-term monitoring programmes carried out by the Member States and international organisations(5) to date have not revealed significant increases in marine radioactivity over the last 30 years that would originate in radioactive waste at seas.

Under the Espoo convention(6) and Directive 2011/92/EU(7), it is the role of the competent authorities of the Parties of Origin to ensure that projects which are likely to cause significant adverse trans-boundary impact undergo an environmental impact assessment procedure.

The Party of Origin shall ensure that affected Parties are notified of a proposed activity that is likely to cause a significant adverse trans-boundary impact. The Parties of Origin and the Affected Parties have the competence and the responsibility to ask for the evaluations which they consider necessary to carry out their task to assess the environmental impacts of an activity.

The Commission's task is to ensure that EC law is complied with. The Commission does not have competence either to request or to carry out any studies of a project. This falls under the competence and the responsibility of the relevant national authorities, which will have to grant or refuse development consent.

(1)Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (‘London Convention’ that entered into force in 1975).
(2)Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom of 19 July 2011 establishing a Community framework for the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste, OJ L 199, 2.8.2011, p. 48‐56.
(3)Articles 35 and 36.
(4)Like any other Member State
(5)The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, also known as Helsinki Commission (Helcom), coordinates radioactivity measurements in the Baltic Sea. Helcom is the governing body of the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area, known as the Helsinki Convention. The Contracting Parties are Denmark, Estonia, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden (http://www.helcom.fi/about-us ).
(6)Convention on environmental impact assessment in a trans-boundary context.
(7)Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, OJ L 26, 28.1.2012, p. 1.

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