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Commission adopts new Illustrated Nuclear Programme

The European Commission has adopted a new Illustrated Nuclear Programme (PINC) for the European Communities, with the aim of encouraging coordinated development of nuclear industries in the EU.

The new programme is the fourth full Illustrated Nuclear Programme to be published...
The European Commission has adopted a new Illustrated Nuclear Programme (PINC) for the European Communities, with the aim of encouraging coordinated development of nuclear industries in the EU.

The new programme is the fourth full Illustrated Nuclear Programme to be published by the Commission under the Euratom Treaty, and follows the draft published in September 1996. It aims, above all, to place the nuclear power industry in the context of an overall energy policy for the Community. Europe has a mature nuclear energy industry, producing around one-third of Community energy consumption. However, some Member States have never built nuclear power plants and others are planning to phase out nuclear power.

The future position of nuclear power depends on its acceptance by politicians and the public. In recent years, and particularly since the Chernobyl accident, public acceptance has been reduced. However, demand for energy is increasing, and will continue to increase in the foreseeable future, both in Europe and beyond. Nuclear power offers benefits through security of supply, existing technical knowledge and environmental impact. In particular, by reducing Europe's consumption of fossil fuels, its use in place of oil, coal and gas contributes to meeting targets for reduction of CO2 emissions.

The PINC aims to contribute to addressing public concerns over safety, including transport, management, storage and disposal of radioactive waste, decommissioning and the dangers of arms proliferation. It also addresses public concerns over these issues in Central and Eastern European countries, and wider issues of international cooperation in the nuclear energy field. The development of technologies to develop nuclear power generation, including the improvement of safety, are addressed in the Commission's proposal for Euratom element of the Fifth RTD Framework Programme.

The following principles for Community nuclear activities are suggested:

- Member States have the right to decided to develop or not to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy;
- These choices must be respected;
- Member States which have chosen to use nuclear energy need to ensure a high degree of safety, respect non-proliferation agreements and ensure a high degree of human health protection;
- Whilst individual Member States and operators are responsible for safety, they share a collective responsibility towards all European citizens to ensure nuclear safety.

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