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Research and education programme (Euratom) in the field of nuclear fission safety, 1990-1994

Part of the third framework programme for Community activities in the field of research and technological development (1990 to 1994) under subactivity II.5.: "Energy", the programme builds on and continues work carried out within the radiation protection and reactor safety programmes under the second framework programme (1987-1991).

Research in the area of radiation protection will aim to define the extent of exposure and the ways in which it can occur from natural, medical and industrial sources, study the health consequences, including the treatment of over-exposure, and assess the risks which radiation can pose to man and his environment. This scientific knowledge is a prerequisite for continued updating of the "Basic Safety Standards for the Health Protection of the General Public and Workers against the Dangers of Ionizing Radiation" and will provide the scientific basis for the continued evolution of radiation protection concepts and practices. It is also aimed at maintaining and enhancing the technical and regulatory aspects of expertise in radiation protection and will help the relevant authorities to evaluate the impact of long-term choices in energy policy on man and his environment, to manage normal operational and emergency situations and to inform the public objectively about the risks and benefits of radiation.

Health risks posed by decommissioning will be analysed both for systems of containing radioactivity in the event of serious accident and for installations decommissioned or about to be decommissioned at the end of their normal operation. The risks related to radon in homes will also be assessed. Research on optimizing procedures will be carried out in order to reduce patient exposure from diagnostic radiology. Management procedures will be developed to optimize radiological protection in the workplace.

Research in the area of reactor safety will contribute to the assessment of the safety margins associated with design and operation of installations and to building confidence in the completeness of safety analyses and the reliability of the components involved in accident prevention. It will provide a reference point for initiatives in the Community and lay the basis for possible future Community action. Selected key safety issues related to future nuclear power plants will be addressed. Work will also focus on the safe containment of radioactivity under severe accident conditions, particularly with regard to light-water reactors.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) will contribute through its own programme to the implementation of activities in the area of nuclear fission safety and radiation protection.
To foster a harmonized approach to nuclear fission safety by bringing together all the parties involved, thus reinforcing the pre-normative dimension of research, particularly in radiation protection and reactor safety.
Two areas:

- Radiation protection:
To provide the scientific knowledge for an objective assessment of radiation effects and risks and to determine methods to optimize radiation protection:
. Human exposure to radiation and radioactivity:
To develop ways and means of measuring radiation doses in an accurate and reliable way, and to define the critical pathways of radioactivity in the environment and possible strategies to impede the transfer of radionuclides to man;
. Effects of radiation exposure on man - assessment, prevention and treatment:
To determine quantitively effects occurring at low doses/low dose rates (stochastic effects), to develop means to recognize and treat consequences of radiation accidents (non-stochastic effects) and to assess effects on the developing organism;
. Risks and management of radiation exposure:
To evaluate the overall risks of human exposure to radiation and to provide the methods for optimizing and managing radiation protection in normal and accident situations;

- Reactor safety:
To contribute to the definition of what will be needed to satisfy the safety requirements for future generations of nuclear power plants and to improve confidence in safety analyses, through an exercise promoting consultation between parties concerned from all Member States of the Community, including those without a nuclear power programme:
. Accident progression analysis:
Severe accident phenomenology and its implications for containment;
. Behaviour and qualification of the containment system:
Integrity of the containment system (venting, seismic and other external events, degradation of leak tightness due to ageing), modelling and failure mode analyses (material and structure behaviour, especially pre-stressed concrete), and the qualification and safety margins of containment structures, equipment and electronic systems with regard to severe accidents;
. Accident management and control:
Man-machine interface (computer- based aids for operators handling complex procedures and novel situations), and strategies for intervention and accident mitigation.
The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme, assisted by the appropriate Advisory Management and Coordination Committees.

The programme comprises research and technological development (RTD) projects, accompanying measures and concerted action.

The projects are the subject of shared-cost contracts. Community financial participation will not normally be more than 50%. Universities and other research centres have the option of requesting, for each project, either 50% funding of total expenditure or 100% funding of the additional marginal costs. Contracts relating to shared-cost research projects must as a general rule be concluded following a selection procedure based on calls for proposals published in the Official Journal of the European Communities. Projects must provide for the participation of at least two partners, each independent of the other, established in different Member States.

The accompanying measures consist of:
- The organization of seminars, workshops and scientific conferences;
- Internal coordination through the creation of integrating groups;
- Advanced-technology training programmes, with emphasis being placed on multidisciplinarity;
- Promotion of the exploitation of results;
- Independent scientific and strategic evaluation of the operation of the projects and the programme.

Concerted actions consist of action by the Community to coordinate the individual research activities carried out in the Member States. Such actions may benefit from funding of up to 100% of coordinating expenditure.

The Commission is authorized to negotiate, in accordance with Article 101, second paragraph, of the Treaty, international agreements with third country members of COST, in particular member countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and the countries of central and eastern Europe, with a view to associating them with all or part of the programme. Bodies and enterprises established in European third States may, on the basis of the criterion of mutual benefit, be allowed to become partners in a project undertaken within the programme.

No contracting body based outside the Community and participating as a partner in a project undertaken within the programme may benefit from Community financing for this programme. Such a body shall contribute to the general administrative costs.

The Community funds estimated as necessary for the execution of the programme amount to ECU 65 million, of which a sum amounting to 1% of the budget is set aside as a contribution from the programme to the centralized scheme for the dissemination and exploitation of results. An amount of ECU 5.6 million, being not less than 15% of the total, is to finance projects promoting basic research which are duly identified as such. An amount of ECU 0.75 million, representing 2% of the total, is to finance projects promoting the training of research workers in the fields covered by the programme. An additional sum of ECU 162 million is earmarked for Joint Research Centre (JRC) research activities in the field of fission safety, including ECU 1.6 million representing the JRC's contribution to centralized dissemination.

The knowledge acquired in the course of the projects will be disseminated both within the programme and by means of the centralized scheme.

The Commission will review the programme during the second year and send a report to the European Parliament, the Council and the Economic and Social Committee. At the end of the programme an evaluation of the results achieved will be conducted by a group of independent experts and submitted to these same bodies.