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Document selected : RC-B7-0236/2011

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Debates :

OJ 06/04/2011 - 115

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PV 07/04/2011 - 6.2
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PE459.780v01-00} RC1
B7-0243/2011} RC1

pursuant to Rule 110(4) of the Rules of Procedure

replacing the motions by the following groups:

PPE (B7‑0236/2011)

S&D (B7‑0237/2011)

ALDE (B7‑0241/2011)

Verts/ALE (B7‑0242/2011)

GUE/NGL (B7‑0243/2011)

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

Corien Wortmann-Kool, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Peter Liese on behalf of the PPE Group
Marita Ulvskog on behalf of the S&D Group
Lena Ek, Fiona Hall, Leonidas Donskis on behalf of the ALDE Group
Rebecca Harms, Daniel Cohn-Bendit on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group
Marisa Matias, Kartika Tamara Liotard, Bairbre de Brún, Marie-Christine Vergiat on behalf of the GUE/NGL 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 the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in particular Article 194 thereof,

–   having regard to its resolution of 10 May 2007 on Assessing Euratom – 50 years of European nuclear energy policy(1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 24 March 2011 on the situation in Japan, particularly the state of alert at the nuclear power stations(2) and to its resolution of 7 October 1999 on the nuclear accident in Japan (Tokaimura)(3),

–   having regard to its earlier resolutions on the 10th and 15th anniversaries of the nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl site,

–   having regard to Rule 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the major nuclear accident in the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which occurred following the devastating earthquake and ensuing tsunami of 11 March 2011 that resulted in the death or disappearance of thousands of people, has, in addition to the material damage it caused, far-reaching implications for health, the environment and foodstuffs contamination, the full extent of which has yet to be determined,

B.  whereas this nuclear accident, and previous such accidents in Japan and around the world, have highlighted the fact that more than ever there is a need to review the approach taken to nuclear safety at EU and world level,

C. whereas the multiple causes, in particular the loss of the power supply, of the Fukushima Daiichi accident resulted in a lack of cooling capacity and led to the overheating of some of the nuclear fuel elements and to a meltdown of parts of the reactor core,

D. whereas 26 April 2011 will mark the 25th anniversary of the nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl site, the consequences of which are still being felt today,

E.  whereas the Euratom Treaty has been in force for more than 50 years without substantial revision,

F.  whereas in late 2008 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warned that the safety rules for nuclear power plants in Japan had become obsolete and that an earthquake measuring more than 7.0 on the Richter scale could pose a serious problem,

G. whereas the consequences of a nuclear accident go beyond national borders, and therefore close cooperation, coordination and exchanges of information within the European Union and with neighbouring third countries need to be pursued in order to strengthen nuclear safety and to ensure transparency and coordination in the event case of a nuclear accident,

H. whereas the Nuclear Safety Directive provides only a limited framework for EU action in this field; whereas, in the light of these developments, European and international nuclear safety standards should be the highest possible,

I.   whereas the development of new nuclear projects in Belarus and Russia (Kaliningrad Region) raises major concerns regarding nuclear safety standards and compliance with the relevant obligations under international conventions (such the Espoo and Aarhus Conventions); whereas these concerns are relevant not only to the Member States which border directly on Belarus and the Kaliningrad region, but to Europe as a whole, making it imperative that the EU, including relevant actors in the Commission, should act together in a spirit of solidarity,

J.   whereas its resolution of 6 July 2010 on the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the role of macro-regions in the future cohesion policy states that ‘in view of the intended expansion of nuclear energy in the Baltic Sea region, EU countries have to follow the strictest safety and environmental standards and the European Commission has to watch and monitor whether the same approach and international conventions are followed in the neighbouring countries, especially in those which are planning to build nuclear power plants near external EU borders’(4),

K. whereas there is a clear need for an open public dialogue on nuclear energy in every Member State in order to raise public awareness of the effects of nuclear power before any political decisions are taken,

L.  whereas the organisation of labour in the nuclear industry in Europe today often takes the form of subcontracting, and whereas adequate training, in particular as regards dangerous exposure levels for workers and ultimate control over reliability at the most critical stages of processes, must be provided,

M. whereas the Euratom Treaty was signed in 1957 and expectations with regard to nuclear energy, to which the Euratom Treaty gave expression five decades ago, have to be reassessed,

1.  Expresses its solidarity with the victims of the natural disaster and the nuclear accident that followed and its admiration for all those who are putting their own lives at risk to prevent a nuclear disaster and for the solidarity, courage and determination displayed by the Japanese people and of the authorities in response to this disaster; calls on the Union and its Member States to continue to give Japan and the disaster regions all necessary humanitarian, technical and financial aid and support;

2.  Calls on the Japanese authorities, the IAEA and the Fukushima nuclear plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), to be transparent and provide accurate real-time information regarding the developments in Fukushima, in particular with regard to radioactivity levels inside and outside the exclusion zone;

3.  Expresses concern at reports claiming that the operating company 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 authorities in Europe and to suggest improvements, where necessary;

4.  Asks the Commission to clarify President Barroso's announcement, made to Parliament on 5 April 2011, that the Commission intends to lower the maximum permitted levels of radioactive contamination of foodstuffs and feedingstuffs; calls on the Commission and the Member States, acting under the appropriate EU regulation, immediately to adopt universal maximum permissible levels of radioactive contamination of food in the EU in the event of a nuclear accident which should not exceed the level set for the most vulnerable section of the population; asks the Commission, further, to withdraw the provisions in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 297/2011 of 25 March 2011(5) which allow imports of foodstuffs and feedingstuffs originating in certain Japanese provinces which are contaminated up to the maximum levels set in Regulation (EC) No 3954/87;

5.  Considers that the European Union must comprehensively reassess its approach to nuclear safety, bearing in mind that nuclear energy will continue to be part of the energy mix of several Member States for many years to come and that new reactors are planned or are already under construction; calls on Member States meanwhile to impose a moratorium on the development and commissioning of new nuclear reactors, at least for the period during which the stress tests are conducted and evaluated;

6.  Takes the view that, if the stress tests are to be credible, they must be mandatory and based on common and transparent criteria to be developed by the Commission together with the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) and independent experts; considers that these tests must be conducted under EU supervision and monitored by independent experts and that the final assessments must be ready for publication by the end of 2011;

7.  Asks the Commission, in that connection, to submit by 15 April at the latest a concrete and precise timeline together with the names of the independent bodies and experts who will participate in the development of the precise criteria that will apply to the ‘stress tests’;

8.  Considers that the stress tests should cover in particular:

· all existing and planned nuclear facilities, including radioactive waste and spent fuel pools;

· a review of the general ‘nuclear safety culture’ (e.g. public procurement, expansion of the security perimeter, annual safety reports and the provision of information to the public),

· risks stemming from human actions (e.g. terrorist and cyber attacks and plane crashes), the impact of extraordinary natural events (earthquakes, flooding, drought or other region-specific risks), including climate-change proofing to take account of the increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events;

· the generalised impact of a major and possibly unrelated disaster, such as loss of electricity and water supply, loss of telecommunications, loss of physical access to the site, a shortage of manpower and the reliability of back-up facilities;

· security of fuel supply routes;

· a combination of such infrequent events and preparedness to respond to them and their cumulative impact (multi-faceted disaster scenario);

· other issues that might be raised by experts;


9.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to prioritise the ‘stress tests’ on those nuclear facilities that are ‘intrinsically’ more dangerous by virtue, for example, of their geographical situation (e.g. in a seismic zone), and takes the view that they should be quickly monitored and, where necessary, their structural design improved or that they should be decommissioned in accordance with a clear timetable;

10. Insists that a negative outcome to the stress test on a specific plant should result in a graded response which might require the immediate shutdown of the plant;

11. Urges the Commission and the Member States to make every effort to ensure that these ‘stress tests’ and the nuclear safety, security and waste management standards drawn up as a result will not only be applied within the EU, but also to nuclear power plants in neighbouring third countries which are under construction or planned; takes the view that these stress test should cover the whole production chain, including transport and waste treatment and storage;

12. Points out that in its 2008 proposal setting up a Community framework for nuclear safety(6), the Commission missed a clear opportunity to propose the establishment of common standards guaranteeing a high level of nuclear safety; recalls that in April 2009 Parliament voted in favour of a strengthening of the Nuclear Safety Directive, i.e. by making compliance with the IAEA safety principles a legal rather than a voluntary requirement; deplores the fact that the Member States did not take Parliament’s concerns into account; affirms the importance of genuine cooperation on the nuclear waste directive and spent fuel management, and calls on the Council to take Parliament’s main calls on board;

13. Looks forward to the Commission's comprehensive review of the EU nuclear safety legislation, to be presented by the end of 2011 and the related legislative proposals, which should translate the IAEA Fundamental Safety Principles into more detailed or stringent requirements at EU level in order to achieve the highest safety standards, as well as a mandatory mechanism for regular review of the application of safety standards in Member States, through peer review and an independent committee of nuclear experts under the guidance of the Commission;

14. Considers that nuclear safety is an area of concern for the entire European Union and that the subsidiarity principle applies only partially; calls, therefore, for a revision of the Euratom Treaty in order to strengthen EU competences in this field, to involve the European Parliament through the ordinary legislative procedure, so as to achieve greater transparency, and to take account of the common energy policy objectives laid down in the Lisbon Treaty;

15. Calls on the Commission, the Council and the Member States to take any appropriate measures in order to ensure that nuclear plants will not be constructed in areas of high seismic and flood risk in the EU and in neighbouring countries; takes the view that the construction of nuclear power plants on the EU's external borders should be consistent with international nuclear safety and environmental standards;

16. Calls on the Member States to maintain and bolster the human resources, skills and working conditions necessary during the lifetime of power plants, for the decommissioning phase and for nuclear waste management;

17. Emphasises the need for the EU to develop a strategy beyond its borders involving consistent action at the highest political level, in order to ensure nuclear safety and security and to push for a global ban on building nuclear power plants in high-risk regions, leading ultimately to a binding UN convention

18. Urges the Member States and the Commission to take joint responsibility for strengthening international nuclear safety standards and their proper implementation, in close cooperation with the IAEA, the Espoo Convention secretariat and other relevant international organisations; invites the Commission to submit by June 2011 an inclusive action plan, with concrete arrangements for its implementation; urges the Commission, in cooperation with the IAEA, to put constructive pressure on Belarus and Russia urging them to adhere to international safety standards and cooperate with international experts during all stages of the preparation, construction and operation of nuclear power plants; believes that, in that connection, the EU should make full use of the expertise provided by international organisations and bodies;

19. Calls on the Commission to conduct a study of the overall economics of building, operating and decommissioning nuclear power plants in Europe, including the aspects related to State intervention in the event of accidents/emergencies, insurance aspects and State aid and competition aspects in the context of the single European energy market;

20. Recalls, in this context, the increased importance of energy efficiency and energy saving and the need to create an appropriate legislative framework and provide the necessary support for investments in renewable and sustainable energy, energy storage and a Europe-wide electricity network; takes the view that, in order to minimise the risk of supply disruptions, it is essential to have a modern smart electricity grid which can cope with input from decentralised energy production facilities;

21. Stresses in particular, that recent international events have made it clear that achieving the 20% energy efficiency target by 2020 is more important and urgent than ever before, including with a view to reducing CO2 emissions; points out that long-term targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy are also of crucial importance to economic actors, and calls for the Road Map 2050 to include ambitious targets of this kind for both 2030 and 2050;

22. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, Euratom and ENSREG.



OJ C 76E, 27.3.2008, p. 114.


Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0118.


Texts adopted for that date.




OJ L 80, 26.3.2011, p. 5.



Last updated: 6 April 2011Legal notice