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Parlamento Europeo - 17 settembre 1992
Safety of nuclear installations


Resolution on the safety of nuclear installations in the Member States of the European Community

The European Parliament,

-having regard to the motions for resolutions by:

(a)Mr Iversen, Mr Trivelli and Mrs Castellina on the Commission insurances of the functioning of nuclear installations in the UK (B3-0477/89),

(b)Mr La Pergola, Mr Sälzer, Mr Lannoye, Mr Adam and Mr Linkohr on the safety of nuclear installations in the Member States of the European Community (B3-0249/90),

(c)Mr Wynn, Mr L. Smith and Mr A. Smith on United Kingdom energy policy (B3-0015/90),

(d)Mrs Aglietta on safety problems at the Krsko nuclear power plant (B3-0844/90),

(e)Mr Kostopoulos on global radioactivity produced in Northern Greece by leaks affecting the nuclear plant of Kozloduy in Bulgaria (B3-1671/91),

-having regard to Petition No. 128/90 by Mrs Chappaz, on behalf of the organization 'L'Avenir est Notre Affaire', entitled 'on the dangers posed by the Superphénix reactor',

-having regard to Petition No. 454/91 by Mrs Berger on the closure of certain nuclear facilities in Eastern Europe,

-having regard to the provisions of the EAEC Treaty, in particular those in Chapters III and VII,

-having regard to the Council Resolution of 22 July 1975 OJ No. C 185, 14.8.1975, p. 1 on the technological problems of nuclear safety and the Commission's reports on the implementation of that resolution (COM(87)0096 and SEC(92)79),

-having regard to the Council Resolution of 18 February 1980 OJ No. C 51, 29.2.1980, p. 1 on the implementation of a Community plan of action in the field of radioactive waste,

-having regard to the XXVth General Report on the activities of the European Community in 1991, presented by the Commission, and, in particular, sections 18, 19 and 20 thereof,

-having regard to the report of the Commission on the 'Nuclear Industries in the Community: Update of the Illustrative Nuclear programme under Article 40 of the Euratom Treaty' (COM(89)0347),

-having regard to the European Parliament resolutions adopted during the present term of office on the nuclear question and, in particular, the Resolution of 6 July 1988 OJ No. C 235, 12.9.1988, p. 70 on the findings of the Committee of Inquiry on the handling and transport of nuclear material; the Resolutions of 13 June 1991OJ No. C 183, 15.7.1991, p. 296 on Energy and Environment; the Resolution of 11 July 1991OJ No. C 240, 16.9.1991, p. 192 on the revision of the Euratom Treaty; and the resolution of 11 March 1992Minutes of that sitting, Part II, Item 27 on 'nuclear mercenaries',

-having regard to the report of the Committee on Energy, Research and Technology and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection (A3-0227/92),

A.whereas regardless of the present nuclear energy situation, providing 16.8% of world electricity production and 35.6% of Community electricity production, and although a systematic effort to develop safe and renewable energy sources is necessary, it is likely that nuclear installations will remain on the industrial scene,

B.whereas nuclear installations and, in particular, nuclear power plants and nuclear reprocessing facilities may occasion accidental radioactive discharge leading to serious health risks and the irreversible contamination of the environment, despite the high standards and safety records of the European Community nuclear facilities and installations handling radioactive materials,

C.whereas safety is a developing concept intimately linked to human behaviour which is not limited merely to laying down standards nor the existence, either now or in the future, of installations in which safety is an intrinsic or built-in design feature,

D.whereas major accidents can affect communities and property without regard for borders or artificial constraints; whereas, consequently, both the Community's energy, research and environment policies and international cooperation, in which the Community must play a leading role, must pay particular attention to reducing even further the risks posed by nuclear installations now in operation and limiting the future impact of the nuclear waste they produce; whereas, in the light of the provisions of Article 130r of the EEC Treaty, the civil liability of nuclear plant operators should be reviewed as part of a general initiative on industrial risks,

E.whereas Article 2 of the EURATOM Treaty assigns responsibility to the Community for laying down uniform safety standards to protect the health of the population and of workers; whereas, for the nuclear installations on its territory, the Community must apply harmonized safety requirements using criteria in line with the highest level of provisions laid down in the Member States in order to ensure the equivalent protection of the population and environment throughout the Community and to avoid distortions of competition,

F.whereas matters relating to nuclear installations and their activities must be properly understood by the public and that therefore independent and critical groups and publications should be guaranteed resources, to be devoted to informing public opinion, on a matched scale to those invested by the nuclear industries in information provision and public relations; whereas this also involves greater information provision, training and public-relations efforts, which are as independent as possible, by operators, environmental organizations, authorities and the media with regard to changes in safety concepts, standards, radioactivity levels, and major incidents and events; whereas provision should be made for such training and information to be provided in schools, for the purposes of greater effectiveness, and to be an integral part of the basic concept of public health,

G.whereas public acceptance of nuclear installations in the Community is conditional to a large extent on the existence of specific and acceptable arrangements concerning the safety of nuclear installations and the potential scope of incidents and accidents and concerning the elimination, discharge and intermediate and final storage of radioactive waste; whereas consistency in national practices and policies on waste and effluent treatment, and in controls on the movement of radioactive materials, are matters which are still outstanding in Community terms; whereas these are matters which are currently the responsibility of the Member States in accordance with the directives adopted by the Community in application of Chapter III of the Euratom Treaty,

H.whereas the need for constant technological progress in relation to the safety of nuclear installations must be reaffirmed and, consequently, further research into nuclear safety must be promoted, with a view to obtaining new technical solutions, improving existing solutions and making them more reliable, and gaining greater insight into the phenomena that occur in accident situations; whereas the appropriations for Community research and technological development under the third Framework Programme 1990-1994 in nuclear safety are inadequate; whereas such funding should be financed by significant cuts in the current budgetary allocation for the nuclear sector;

I.whereas the provisions of the Euratom Treaty do not deal with aspects nowadays regarded as essential components of nuclear energy policy; whereas the way in which the provisions of Chapters III (Health and safety), VI (Supplies) and VII (Safeguards) are applied can and must be improved,

J.whereas the reprocessing of irradiated fuel reduces the amount of high-level activity nuclear waste, it produces separated plutonium requiring intensive safeguards verification by the Community,

K.whereas international cooperation is an invaluable vehicle for securing a supranational 'doctrine' on nuclear safety; whereas this holds true in particular with a view to resolving the problems pertaining to nuclear installations in Central and Eastern Europe; whereas the conclusions of the International Conference on the Safety of Nuclear Power: Strategy for the Future, held in Vienna, September 2-6, 1991, calls for a stepwise approach to an international convention on nuclear safety, including radioactive waste management for which the Community contribution is essential; whereas, given that nuclear risks are much higher outside than inside the Community, it is important that this convention should cover the widest possible geographical area,

1.Takes the view that, although the Member States are presently responsible for implementing measures at the design stage, during construction, operation and decommissioning, and in connection with the transport of radioactive materials and waste management in order to ensure that their nuclear installations are safe, the Community must play a leading role in harmonizing safety requirements by encouraging cooperation between the Member States;

2.Calls on the Commission to propose, in connection with the Community's nuclear installations and other facilities handling radioactive materials, the completion of mandatory requirements governing nuclear safety concerning reactor design, construction, operation, decommissioning and waste management which are founded on the basic criteria for radioactive emissions and for the protection of workers, the general public and the environment that are consistent with the level of the risk involved;

3.Calls on the Commission, in connection with the cross-border nature of the risks associated with nuclear installations, to establish binding procedures to guarantee the rights of ordinary people living on both sides of borders to be consulted on nuclear installations;

4.Calls on the Commission to maintain the basic health and safety standards provided for in Articles 30 and 31 of the EAEC Treaty in line with the recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection, with respect to the new recommendations adopted in 1990 (ICRP publication No. 60);

5.Calls on the Commission together with Member States to provide the European Parliament with an annual assessment of the level of nuclear safety in nuclear installations, with particular reference to thermal power reactors, reprocessing plants, and breeder reactors in the territory of the Community; calls on the Commission furthermore to forward to the European Parliament a regular review of how the Member States currently implement nuclear safety requirements, in line with the aforementioned Council Resolution of 22 July 1975;

6.Calls on the Commission, to harmonize the various provisions, rules and standards concerning the handling of nuclear risks in the Member States of the Community based on ICRP and IAEA recommendations;

7.Calls on the Commission, in accordance with the polluter pays principle laid down in Article 130r of the EEC Treaty, to draw up insurance rules establishing the civil liability of nuclear power station operators for all damage suffered by individuals, property and the environment;

8.Calls on the Commission, on the provisions of Article 130r of the EEC Treaty and as part of a general initiative on major industrial risks, starting from the existing Paris Convention on the liability of nuclear risks, to quantify the liability of operators of nuclear installations for harm done to third parties in accidental situations, including the accidents in the transport of radioactive material;

9.Urges the Commission to apply the provisions of Chapter III of the EAEC Treaty rigorously, provide substantially more manpower for verifying the application thereof in DG XI and review the current in-house allocation of responsibilities with regard to nuclear safety, this action to be the basis for setting up a system for verification of nuclear safety and enabling the Commission to monitor the application of the complete set of requirements referred to above;

10.Calls on the Commission to notify the European Parliament of the action taken in response to Parliament's aforementioned resolution of 6 July 1988 on the findings of the Committee of Inquiry on the handling and transport of nuclear material, as well as the action taken with regard to the non-proliferation aspects and the carrying out of safeguards within the installations where tritium is handled or stored;

11.Calls on the Commission to propose revision of the provisions of the EAEC Treaty to enable the European Parliament to be involved in Community decision-taking on nuclear energy, with particular reference to research and safety, and the European Parliament to scrutinize such decisions;

12.Calls on the Commission to maintain its active role in the development of research into and review of nuclear safety and epidemiological studies;

13.Urges the Commission, and considers it necessary, as far as research is concerned and in the light of the prospective fourth Framework Programme, to increase the appropriation for the specific R & D programme in the nuclear safety field, paying special attention to the pattern of accidents which have occurred in order to seek solutions to the problem of dismantling nuclear power plants and of processing, managing and storing nuclear waste;

14.Calls on the Commission to speed up its appraisal of the medium- and long-term radiological impact on man and the environment, in view of the intention of constructing and operating terminal repositories for high-level radioactive waste in Europe;

15.Calls on the Commission to analyse the feasibility of long-term storage in each Member State of highly radioactive waste produced in that Member State;

16.Calls on the Commission to continue research into the reduction of long-lived radioactive isotopes through transmutation;

17.Calls on the Commission to submit initiatives and forward a report to Parliament on how it intends to comply, in respect of research reactors, with the international agreements on non-proliferation which have been signed by the Member States;

18.Commends the Council resolutions promoting Community involvement in international cooperation activities such as NUSS (Nuclear Safety Standards) and OSART (Operational Safety Review Teams) under the UN International Atomic Energy Agency;

19.Insists that Commission initiatives to improve the reactor safety and safety procedures of reactors and nuclear installations in Central and Eastern European countries be strengthened, making use inter alia of exchanges of experts and technology, and that programmes and arrangements are encouraged between nuclear safety regulators, such as the CONCERT Group (a working arrangement grouping representatives of regulatory bodies of Community Member States and other European states, including those of Eastern Europe) and between utilities, such as WANO (World Association of Nuclear Operators), and demands that adequate funding is provided; at the same time calls on the Commission to take initiatives to enable Euratom-type safety inspections to be organized in those countries;

20.Calls on the Commission, therefore, to look into the possibility of establishing direct contacts as a matter of urgency with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe on the question of nuclear safety, providing inter alia for the exchange of experts and technology;

21.Calls on the Community Member States and the Commission, with a view to orderly progress towards an international convention on nuclear safety, to increase their concerted efforts within the framework of implementation of the aforementioned Council Resolution of 22 July 1975;

22.Affirms that no derogation may be granted in this respect under the procedures for renewing operating licences and that nuclear installations which are incapable of meeting maximum safety requirements owing either to their design (the lack of a containment vessel, inability to resist an earthquake, insufficient protection against external accidents) or to the cost of alterations should be closed down;

23.Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments of the Member States.

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