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Thursday, 12 May 2011 - StrasbourgOJ edition
ANNEX (Written answers) - QUESTIONS TO THE COUNCIL(The Presidency-in-Office of the Council of the European Union bears sole responsibility for these answers)

Question no 10 by Laima Liucija Andrikienė (H-000178/11 )  
 Subject: Nuclear safety in Europe

Following the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, EU Member States jointly agreed on 25 March 2011 on the need to conduct stress tests on nuclear power plants in the EU and called for a similar move worldwide.

Does the Council possess information on whether similar measures will be taken with regard to the plants already operating (especially those in operation for more than 20 years) in other European countries that are not members of the EU?

As regards new nuclear power plants in EU neighbouring states, does the Council have a plan on how to ensure that these new plants meet the necessary environmental standards and do not violate internationally recognised conventions, such as the Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment?


The present answer, which has been drawn up by the Presidency and is not binding on either the Council or its members as such, was not presented orally at Question Time to the Council during the May 2011 part-session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

(EN) As rightly stressed by the honourable Member, during its meeting held on 24 and 25 March 2011(1) , the European Council has stressed the need to fully draw the lessons from the recent events in Japan. The European Council has in this context made clear that the EU will request that "stress tests" similar to the ones put in place in the EU be carried out in neighbouring countries and worldwide, regarding both existing and planned plants. It noted that full use should be made of international organisations and that the highest safety standards for nuclear safety should be promoted internationally.

In this context, two positive developments on the international stage are worth noting. Firstly, the convening on 20-24 June of a high-level IAEA Conference on Nuclear Safety covering an initial assessment of the Fukushima accident, its impact and consequences; considering the lessons that need to be learned; launching the process of strengthening nuclear safety; and strengthening the response to nuclear accidents and emergencies.

Secondly, on the occasion of the 5th Review meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety last April, all Contracting Parties, including EU neighbours, agreed to analyse the accident at an Extraordinary Meeting of Contracting Parties to be held in 2012. Regarding the location of nuclear plants, this 5th Review meeting already discussed issues related to consulting Contracting Parties in the vicinity of a proposed nuclear power plants.

On 20-23 June 2011, the 5th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) will take place in Geneva. The provisional agenda for this meeting includes a Panel discussion on nuclear-energy related projects. The purpose of this discussion is to provide insights on how the Espoo Convention is applied to nuclear energy-related projects likely to have significant adverse transboundary impact. A report from the panel will be presented to the High-Level Segment of the Meeting and the Parties will be invited to consider possible follow-up actions under the Convention.

Within the EU, preparatory work for the above-mentioned meetings will be pursued, as per current practice, within the Council preparatory bodies and through a number of coordination meetings on the spot, so as to allow the EU and its Member States to act in a united and effective manner in Geneva.


(1)EUCO 10/11.

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