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ENLARGEMENT: COUNCIL REPORT ON NUCLEAR SAFETY STANDARDS.

The COREPER report bases its rationale on the fact that EU member States have reached, through their respective national regulatory systems, a "high level of nuclear safety" within their nuclear programmes. The report stresses, without giving any details, that a "high degree of convergence" was reached in the EU on prescriptions content and organisational and technical criteria. Hence a "common approach" that candidate countries are strongly invited to follow a safety level "generally required today for nuclear activities in the EU".The document's basis for such a common approach are not common EU standards, since these do not exist. In other words, the Euratom Treaty does not provide any specific legal basis for the preparation of standards for nuclear installations. Reference documents contain no details regarding EU safety levels. Despite this the report provides broad criteria for taking them into account. As for assessment reports on the situation in candidate countries, the COREPER report provides a broad bibliography, including publications from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), and above all WENRA (Western nuclear regulators), which "may constitute a very solid starting point". They define a common position on priority steps for reaching a safety level in candidate countries which should be "comparable to Western standards".Follow-up. Obviously, the COREPER report warns that this process is "temporary" and will "in no case lead to a transfer of competences from member States to the Community". COREPER set up a "nuclear safety group" in charge of assessing the situation of every candidate country, along with the guidelines of the COREPER report. The group will only assess nuclear safety in the framework of enlargement.The COREPER report states that it only focuses on nuclear installations such as Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) and on-site storage and processing plants for radioactive materials. Hence the report did not look at other type of nuclear installations such as research reactors, fuel-cycle installations, and radioactive waste management installations. Those will besubject to further recommendations in a forthcoming report from the Council Working Group on nuclear issues.

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Publication:Europe Energy
Date:Dec 22, 2000
Words:343
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