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Council adopts specific research and training programme for Euratom

The Council of the European Union, for the Fifth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (RTD) made a Decision on 25 January 1999 to adopt a specific programme for research and training to be carried out by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) for the Europea...
The Council of the European Union, for the Fifth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (RTD) made a Decision on 25 January 1999 to adopt a specific programme for research and training to be carried out by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) for the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) for the period up to 31 December 2002.

The amount for carrying out the specific programme is 281 million euro (see details below).

Article 5 of the Decision requires the Commission to draw up a work programme, which sets out the mission of the JRC as being to provide customer-driven scientific and technical support for the conception, development, implementation and monitoring of Community policies and which includes the objectives and RTD priorities, as follows.

The JRC's objective is to:

- Support the Commission in its Treaty obligations;
- Remain vigilant so as to maintain the Community's excellent record in safety and safeguards;
- Prepare to face the new challenges.

The two selection criteria for JRC activities are:

- Relevance to Community policies. An understanding of the policy agenda allows JRC research to be timely and support the formulation of policy where it is most needed;

- Subsidiarity. This has two aspects. Firstly, the research must be in an area where Community involvement is appropriate, and, secondly, it should be appropriate for this involvement to be through the JRC. Thus JRC only operates where its unique pan-European identity provides an added-value. In the nuclear area, its action is justified by the cross-border aspects of nuclear safety and safeguards and by public concern about the issues.

The JRC's specific programme for the Fifth Framework Programme is shaped in a view to focus activities in areas where they have a high European added value or which correspond to tasks entrusted to the Commission by the Euratom Treaty. These activities aim to optimise, in a European, or even international framework, the use of JRC's special facilities and core competencies, in particular in areas where the JRC has acquired a level of excellence and is the unique holder of European knowledge.

Activities on fission safety will take advantage of the JRC's unique facilities and will focus on areas where the JRC is considered a reference centre for the Community, such as actinides, and areas of public concern, such as severe accidents and the handling of waste. Work on ageing of reactor materials will increase to reflect the growing importance of this issue for safety authorities and industry. The needs of the enlargement countries will be given some priority.

Work on control of nuclear materials will continue at the same level in order to meet the present and future needs of inspectors. This will include measurement, analysis and monitoring techniques and the training of inspectors. Some prospective studies will be carried out in order to foresee the safeguards implications of proposed changes in the fuel cycle and to determine whether remote sensing can be used for the detection of illicit activities.

Lastly, wastes issued from nuclear activities have to be properly managed and some obsolete facilities will be decommissioned.

This programme should not to be considered a blueprint for the work programme over the next four years but rather a general outline that reflects the current view of the policy agenda and priorities. Changes to the JRC programme are to be expected as science and technology advance and the policy agenda and the priorities of the customer change.

Details of the amount of 281m euro for the specific programme of Direct Actions for Euratom:

- Nuclear Fission Safety 122m;
- Nuclear Safeguards 138m;
- Decommissioning and Waste Management 21m.

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