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Commission proposes new "Illustrative Nuclear Programme"

Following a proposal by Mr. Christos Papoutsis, Commissioner responsible for energy, the Commission has adopted a Communication on a draft "Illustrative Nuclear Programme" (PINC) which attempts to set out a number of basic common principles to be followed by all Member States ...
Following a proposal by Mr. Christos Papoutsis, Commissioner responsible for energy, the Commission has adopted a Communication on a draft "Illustrative Nuclear Programme" (PINC) which attempts to set out a number of basic common principles to be followed by all Member States with regard to the development of nuclear energy.

The Commission proposal demonstrates the importance it attaches to the emergence in the European Union of a clear and coherent approach towards nuclear energy. More specifically, the Commission believes that, in order to maintain the useful role of nuclear energy in the future, some common principles need to be followed. Based on the EURATOM Treaty and on the Treaty on the European Union, these must take account of the balance needed between national and Community responsibilities. The basic principles suggested in the draft programme include:

- The right of each Member State to decide whether or not to develop the peaceful use of nuclear energy;

- The need to respect the choice made in this regard by any of the Member States;

- The need for Member States having chosen to use nuclear energy to:
. Ensure a high degree of nuclear safety;
. Respect non-proliferation requirements as provided for in relevant international agreements;
. Provide for a high level of human health protection;

- The collective responsibility of individual Member States (responsible for setting safety standards and licensing nuclear installations) and national operators (responsible for their safe operation) for ensuring nuclear safety for all European citizens.

Such principles, if implemented by Member States, could offer the framework for the nuclear industry to continue playing an effective role in the European Union, thus making a valid contribution to the Union's energy supply and its economic welfare.

Commenting on the adoption of the proposal by the Commission, Commissioner Papoutsis noted that: "Nuclear energy is today an industrial, economic and social reality. Developments such as the evolving energy market organization, the need to protect the environment and the changed geo-political situation in Europe require the Commission and Member States to look at the future of the nuclear industry developing and applying a code of conduct".

The draft programme will now be submitted to an open consultation process, including the European Parliament and various organizations and interested parties, before adoption of a definitive programme by the Commission.
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