Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0240/2011

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 06/04/2011 - 12
CRE 06/04/2011 - 12

Votes :

PV 07/04/2011 - 6.2

Texts adopted :

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to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and the Commission

pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the lessons to be drawn for nuclear safety in Europe following the nuclear accident in Japan

Giles Chichester, Konrad Szymański, Evžen Tošenovský on behalf of the ECR Group


European Parliament resolution on the lessons to be drawn for nuclear safety in Europe following the nuclear accident in Japan  

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Council Directive 2009/71/EURATOM of 25 June 2009, on establishing a Community framework for the nuclear safety of nuclear installations,

–   having regard to the Energy Council's conclusions of 28 February and 21 March,

–   having regard to the European Council's conclusions of 25 March,

-    having regard to its earlier resolution on the 10th and 15th anniversary of the nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl site,

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the recent earthquake with thousands of victims in North-Eastern Japan led to the shutdown of a number of Japan's operational nuclear reactors and whereas the following tsunami with tidal waves higher than 10 meters destroyed not only the existing power grids but also the backup and emergency supply systems of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant; whereas the resulting lack of cooling capacity led to overheating of some of the nuclear fuel elements and to a meltdown of parts the core reactor; whereas so far the IAEA qualified these developments as a serious accident (level 6) on the international INES scale,

B.  whereas in the light of these developments a rethinking of nuclear safety standards in Europe maybe necessary once we have all the relevant facts available,

C. whereas the composition of the energy mix in the EU remains in the competence of the Member States but at the same time nuclear safety is a matter of transnational concern and could therefore be more effectively addressed within EU's regulatory competence,

D. whereas despite major concerns raised by the accidents in Japan, nuclear energy is certain to remain as part of the energy mix in the future, including in many EU Member States and therefore we must continue to strive towards the highest levels of safety in order to prepare and protect against any potentially hazardous situations,

E.  whereas according to Commission figures nuclear energy had a 13,4% share of EU's gross inland energy consumption in 2008 projected to increase to 15% in 2030 in a business as usual scenario,

F.  whereas the May 2010 report "Project Europe 2030" by the reflection group established by the European Council stresses the need for Europeans to embark a serious discussion on the need for safe nuclear energy in Europe and that Europe cannot afford to relinquish this source of power,

1.  Extends its full support and sympathy to the people of Japan affected by this nuclear accident, caused by the combined effects of the earthquake and tsunami, and to the energy workers who are at the frontline in the Fukushima Diichi nuclear power plant;

2.  Welcomes the prompt reaction by the Commission on the serious events in Japan by initiating Europe-wide risk and safety assessments for nuclear power installations, 'stress tests', in cooperation with Member States; welcomes the support of the European Council for comprehensive and transparent risk and safety assessments as well as on reviewing the nuclear safety framework;

3.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that these assessments will be carried out by end of this year in an independent and coordinated manner by competent authorities (or safety authorities) for all existing and planned nuclear installations in the EU; underlines that the assessments should be based on a harmonised stringent assessment pattern covering all kinds of conceivable risks in a European realistic scenario such as earthquakes, floods or unexpected events such as terrorist and cyber attacks or plane crashes; emphasises the importance of fully involving the European Nuclear Safety Regulator Group (ENSREG) and the expertise of the Western European Nuclear Regulators' Association (WENRA) in the development of the risk and safety assessments;

4.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to undertake all efforts to ensure that these stress tests as well as the subsequent nuclear safety, security and waste management standards will not only be applied within the EU, but also to built or planned nuclear power plants in the EU's neighbouring third countries and internationally; believes that the EU shall in this respect make full use of international organisations and bodies; calls on the EU and Member States to initiate a debate within the IAEA with the objective to establish a more firm nuclear safety framework internationally; calls on Member States with nuclear power facilities to involve neighbouring Member States in safety oversight;

5.  Reminds that in April 2009 the European Parliament has voted in favour of a strengthening of the nuclear safety directive, i.e. by making the safety principles of the IAEA a legal rather than a voluntary requirement; notes that as of today not all Member States have fully transposed the revised nuclear safety directive in their national legislation; affirms the importance of a true cooperation on the directive on nuclear waste and spent fuel management and calls on the Council to seriously consider the recommendations of the European Parliament;

6.  Asks the commission to establish by the end of 2011 whether it is necessary to put forward a proposal revising the nuclear safety directive, any such decision and subsequent proposal must be based on the results of the planned 'stress tests', taking into account an in-depth analysis of the nuclear accident in Japan;

7.  Expresses its concern towards reports that Tepco, the Fukushima operating company, has informed the regulatory authorities about several inspection failures shortly before the Fukushima nuclear accident occurred; asks the Commission in the light of such potential regulatory failures to analyse the effectiveness, competences and independence of the regulatory supervision in Europe and to suggest improvements, where necessary; asks the Commission to this end to examine possibilities to establish an EU nuclear safety regulatory authority on the basis of the WENRA framework with the necessary competences to ensure a common approach to nuclear safety;

8.  Calls for a holistic approach towards safety culture, which includes safety standards, strong and independent regulatory body, appropriate financial and human resources as well as adequate information to the citizens;

9.  Asks the Commission to bolster and intensify the cooperation between European nuclear safety authorities;

10. Welcomes the proposal by the Commission to extend the Euratom Framework Programme for nuclear research and training activities to cover the years 2012 and 2013 which represents an important contribution to improving nuclear safety performance and radiation protection; asks for an ambitious research programme on nuclear safety and waste management in the next MFF; highlights that with a view to likely increases in future electricity demand, fusion power might have the potential to contribute considerably to electricity and heat production; asks therefore to respect EU's international commitments to this end;

11. Asks for a full use of the worldwide geographic scope of the Nuclear Safety Co-operation Instrument (NSCI), for instance to finance activities with Japan, and a reinforced cooperation between the NCSI and the IAEA international Safety Seismic Centre (ISSC);

12. Calls on the Commission, the Council and the Member States to take any appropriate measures to ensure that the future construction of nuclear power plants pays due attention to seismic and flood risks; believes that construction of nuclear power plants on the EU's external borders shall be in compliance with international nuclear safety environmental standards;

13. Stresses that nuclear energy is at present indispensible in order to ensure Europe's low-carbon energy supply; underlines the even greater importance of energy efficiency and renewable energies after the recent events; calls on the Member States to accelerate the implementation of the Energy Efficiency Plan and the deployment of sustainable low carbon technologies such as CCS or clean coal and renewable sources of energy; asks the Commission as well as ENTSO-E, ENTSO-G and ACER to closely monitor the possible developments and to draw the necessary conclusions from them, especially with regard to grid development requirements and to other consequences;

14. Urges the European Commission and the Member States to take all efforts necessary to modernise and expand Europe's energy infrastructure and to interconnect networks across borders in order to avoid a possible blackout which could lead to devastating incidents as recently in Japan;

15. Highlights the importance of developing energy storage technologies and smart grids in order to be able to maintain a reliable energy supply for the future;

16. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the EU regulatory agencies, bodies and networks referred to in this resolution.

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