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Parliamentary questions
16 December 2003
Answer given by Mrs  de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

Concerning the proposal to construct a radioactive waste repository in the municipality of Scanzano Jonico in Italy, there are certain steps required by European legislation that must take place before any development approval is given.

Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment(1), as amended by Council Directive 97/11/EC of 3 March 1997(2), requires an assessment to be carried out of, inter alia, the environmental impact of any facilities designed for the final disposal or long-term storage of radioactive waste or irradiated nuclear fuel.

Directive 2001/42/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2001 on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment(3) requires an assessment of, "inter alia", any government plan or programme to dispose of radioactive waste. However, Member States have until 21 July 2004 to transpose this Directive into national legislation.

Both assessments require information to be provided to the public "within a reasonable time in order to give the public concerned the opportunity to express an opinion" before consent is granted. The results of the consultations with the concerned parties must be taken into consideration in the consent procedure. Impacts on "human beings, fauna and flora", "soil, water, air, climate and landscape" and "material assets and cultural heritage" must be included in the assessment, together with the interactions between these factors. Alternatives and mitigating measures must also be considered. Radiological effects will form part of the impacts to be assessed.

If development consent is granted, specific measures under the Euratom Treaty and secondary legislation will be applicable. All practices involving radioactive materials are subject to Council Directive 96/29/Euratom of 13 May 1996 laying down basic safety standards for the health protection of the general public and workers against the dangers of ionizing radiation(4). In addition, there are notification requirements under Article 37 of the Euratom Treaty in the case of disposal of radioactive waste.

(1)OJ L 175, 5.7.1985.
(2)OJ L 73, 14.3.1997.
(3)OJ L 197, 21.7.2001.
(4)OJ L 159, 29.6.1996.

OJ C 782 E, 27/03/2004 (p. 232)
Last updated: 21 January 2005Legal notice