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2013/0340(NLE) - 25/03/2014 Committee report tabled for plenary, 1st reading/single reading

The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, in the framework of a special legislative procedure (consultation of Parliament) adopted the report by Romana JORDAN (EPP, SI) on the proposal for a Council directive amending Directive 2009/71/EURATOM establishing a Community framework for the nuclear safety of nuclear installations

The committee approved the Commission proposal with the following amendments:

Objectives: the amending directive must aim to: i) ensure that Member States saw to it that nuclear installations were designed so as to limit unauthorised radioactive releases to a minimum; (ii) promote and enhance nuclear safety culture.

Definitions: the report proposed that the definitions be aligned as much as possible with the terminology used by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in order to allow for a consistency with globally defined standards and procedures.

To allow for consistency with IAEA definitions, the definition ‘abnormal event’ was deleted and replaced with the definition of "incident".

‘Severe accident' means accident conditions more severe than a design basis accident and involving significant core degradation.

Competent regulatory authority: the national framework must require that the competent regulatory authority:

·        is legally separate from any other public or private entity concerned with the promotion or utilisation of nuclear energy or electricity production;

·        establishes a transparent regulatory decision-making process, founded on objective and verifiable safety-related criteria;

·        has its own appropriate budget allocations, and provisions for the adequate generation of new and management of existing knowledge, expertise and skills;

·        employs an appropriate number of staff, all of whom, in particular politically appointed board members; possess the necessary qualifications, experience and expertise to fulfil its obligations and that have access to external scientific and technical resources.

Persons with executive responsibility within the competent regulatory authority shall be appointed according to clearly defined procedures and requirements for appointment. They may be relieved from office during their term especially if they do not comply with the requirements of independence set out in this Article or have been guilty of misconduct under national law.

The competent regulatory authority must be able to carry out enforcement actions, including penalties and provide appropriate conditions for the research and development activities needed to develop the necessary knowledge base and to support the management of expertise for the regulatory process.

Transparency: the report recommended ensuring a widespread and transparent communication process including, where appropriate, by regular information and consultation of citizens.

The process shall also cover significant information such as siting, construction, extension, commissioning, operation, operation beyond design service life, final shutdown and decommissioning.

The public shall be given early and effective opportunities to participate in the environmental impact assessment of nuclear installations

Safety objectives for nuclear installations: Members recommended that nuclear installations should be designed, sited, constructed, and decommissioned with the objective of preventing accidents and radioactive releases and, should an accident occur, mitigating its effects and preventing radioactive releases and large, long-term, off-site contamination.

Peer Reviews: the report strengthened the provisions of periodic self-assessments and stated that at least every 6 years, a system of topical peer reviews must take place.

The topic of the first topical peer review shall be decided not later than 3 years after entry into force of the directive.

The Nuclear Safety Regulator Group (ENSREG) which had the experience of the European stress tests exercise and was composed of all Union nuclear safety regulators and the Commission should be closely involved in the selection of the topics subject to regular peer reviews, in the organisation of those topical peer reviews and in ensuring their follow-up.

The results of the topical peer reviews should be used to foster discussions in the nuclear community which potentially could lead to the development of a set of harmonised Community nuclear safety criteria in the future.

The European Parliament should be regularly informed about the results of the peer reviews as well as about related measures and plans.