Motion for a resolution - B7-0241/2011Motion for a resolution
B7-0241/2011

    MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on lessons to be drawn for nuclear safety in Europe following the nuclear accident in Japan

    4.4.2011

    to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and the Commission
    pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

    Lena Ek, Fiona Hall on behalf of the ALDE Group

    See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0236/2011

    Procedure : 2011/2650(RSP)
    Document stages in plenary
    Document selected :  
    B7-0241/2011
    Texts tabled :
    B7-0241/2011
    Texts adopted :

    B7‑0241/2011

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

    The European Parliament,

    –   having regard 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,

    –   having regard to the European Parliament resolution of 24 March 2011 on the situation in Japan and its resolution of 7 October 1999 on the nuclear accident in Japan (Tokaimura),

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

    –   having regard to the devastating earthquake and the tsunami which struck Japan and the Pacific region on 11 March last, resulting in the death or disappearance of thousands of people and causing considerable material damage,

    –   having regard to the European Parliament's resolution of 6 July 2010 on the Baltic Sea Region, in particular paragraph 38,

    –   having regard to the European Parliament resolution of 15 December 2010 on the Revision of the Energy Efficiency Action Plan,

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

    A. whereas the occurrence of this nuclear accident, as well as previous such accidents in Japan and in the world, bring to the attention more then ever the need to review the nuclear safety approach in the European Union and the world,

    B.  whereas on 26 April 2011, we commemorate the 25th anniversary of the nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl site, the consequences of which are still being felt today,

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

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

    E.  whereas the Nuclear Safety Directive provides only a limited framework for EU action in this field,

    F.  whereas the development of the 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 directly bordering Belarus and the Kaliningrad region, but for wider Europe as well, making it imperative that the EU, including relevant actors in the European Commission, act together in a principle of solidarity,

    G.  whereas the European Parliament's resolution of 6 July 2010 on 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,'

    1.  Expresses its solidarity with the victims of the natural disaster and the nuclear accident that followed, its admiration for all those that are putting their own lives at risk to prevent a nuclear disaster, as well as for the mobilisation, courage and determination of 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 and TEPCO, the nuclear power station owner, to be transparent and provide real time information regarding the developments in Fukushima, in particular with regard to radioactivity levels inside and outside the exclusion zone;

    3.  Welcomes the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 297/2011 of 25 March 2011 imposing special conditions governing the import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power station. However, the basis for determining the maximum levels of the radionuclides iodine and caesium should be Council Regulation No 733/2008 of 15 July 2008 instead of Council Regulation (Euratom) No 3954/87 of 22 December 1987, Commission Regulation (Euratom) No 944/89 of 12 April 1989 and Commission Regulation (Euratom) No 770/90 of 29 March 1990. Indeed, in order to prevent risks to human health, it would be appropriate to refer to the lower Caesium-levels provided for by Regulation 733/2008, which provides stricter and more recent protection norms;

    4.  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 in which the stress-tests are conducted and evaluated;

    5.  In order to ensure the credibility of the stress tests, they must be mandatory and based on common and transparent Community criteria, be conducted under Community control and supervised by independent experts and their results be published;

    6.  Such stress tests should cover:

       -     both power plants and nuclear waste facilities,

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

           -     risks from human actions (e.g. terrorist attacks & plane crashes),

        -     effects 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,

    -    generalised effects 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, shortage of manpower and the reliability of backup facilities,

        -     security of fuel supply routes,

    -    the preparedness to respond to a combination of such events in a potentially complex and multi-faceted disaster scenario;

    7.  Calls for a drawing up at the EU level of a list of "intrinsically" more dangerous nuclear power plants because of their geographical situation (e.g. built in seismic zone) that either should be quickly monitored with at least an improvement of the structural design or dismantled following a foreseeable calendar;

    8.  Insists that a negative outcome of the stress test of the specific plant should result in the immediate shutting down of this plant;

    9.  Calls on the Commission to comprehensively review the EU nuclear safety legislation and come forward by the end of 2011 with a legislative proposal, which should translate at EU level the IAEA Fundamental Safety Principles with more detailed or stringent requirements if necessary, 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;

    10. Considers that nuclear safety is an area of concern to the entire European Union and 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 in order to achieve greater transparency, and to update the treaty in the light of the common energy policy objectives laid down in the Lisbon Treaty;

    11. Underlines the need for the EU to develop a strategy beyond the EU borders with consistent actions on the highest political level, in order to ensure nuclear safety and security and to define nuclear energy as a bridge technology and, within G8 and G20, to push for a global ban of nuclear power plants in earthquake prone regions which should lead to a binding UN convention;

    12. Calls on the Commission and Member States to undertake an active interest and joint responsibility in strengthening international nuclear safety standards and their proper implementation in the third countries, in close cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Espoo and other relevant international organisations and conventions, including conducting their own stress tests; invites the Commission to present by June 2011 an inclusive action plan with concrete steps on how it will be achieved; urges the Commission, in cooperation with IAEA, to put constructive pressure on Belarus and Russia in seeking that they adhere to international safety standards and cooperate with international experts during all stages of the preparation, construction and operation of the nuclear power plants (Mr. Donskis);

    13. Calls for a proactive involvement of the European Union in strengthening the nuclear safety treaties and institutional set up at international level by strengthening IAEA through providing additional resources in particular in its nuclear safety and security programs, by making peer reviews mandatory, in particular for "new entrants" and by conditioning the building of new reactors on the acceptance of periodical peer review;

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

    15. Recalls, in this context, the increased importance of energy efficiency and energy saving; the need to create the adequate legislative framework and provide the necessary support for investments in renewable and sustainable energy, in energy storage and on a European wide electricity network; to minimise risks of supply disruptions it is essential to have a modernised smart electricity grid that enables input from decentralised energy production facilities;

    16. In particular, stresses that recent international events have made it clear that achieving the 20% energy efficiency target by 2020 is more important than ever before, including in view of reducing CO2 emissions; urges that the 20% target is translated as quickly as possible into targets for the Member States and that these targets are made legally binding while leaving Member States due flexibility on how to achieve them; 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 for energy efficiency and renewable energy for both 2030 and 2050;

    17. Considers that the EU Energy Strategy should be linked with the Strategy of the North African States, as the successful freedom movements in such countries create conditions for further economic development, including through investments in the field of solar power, which, with adequate infrastructure, would provide sustainable energy for Europe;

    18. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Japanese authorities.