Specific programme 2002-2006 (Euratom) for research and training on nuclear energy within the multi annual framework programme 2002-2006. The new framework programme is set up in order to achieve three objectives:_ Strengthening the scientific and technological base of industry in the European Community; _ Encouraging it to become more competitive; _ Promoting research activities.To achieve these objectives, the framework programme will be restructured around three targets: _ Integrating European research, _ Structuring the European Research Area, _ Strengthening the foundations of the European Research Area.Following the adoption of the multi-annual programme 2002-2006 of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) for research and training activities aimed at contributing towards the creation of the European Research Area, a specific programme for research and training on nuclear energy was also adopted. As the source of 35 per cent of the electricity produced in the European Union, nuclear energy is an important component of the debate on how to combat climate change and reduce the dependency of the EU on energy derived from fossil fuels.Significant challenges are involved, however. Controlled thermonuclear fusion is one of the long-term options for energy supply, in particular for centralised supply of base-load electricity. The priority is to make progress towards demonstrating the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy and to assess its sustainable qualities. Further information on the new Framework programme is available on the CORDIS FP6 Web service at the following address: http://www.cordis.lu/fp6/The object of this Specific Framework Programme is to adopt a specific programme 2002-2006 (Euratom) for research and training on nuclear energy. To demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy and to assess its sustainable qualities in order to combat climate change and reduce the dependency of the EU on fossil fuels for its energy needs.The programme is based on several priority thematic areas:_ Fusion energy researchIn the second half of this century fusion energy could contribute to the large-scale production of emission-free, base-load electricity. The advances made in fusion energy research justify the further pursuit of the long-term objective of a fusion power plant. _ Treatment and disposal of radioactive wasteThe absence of a broadly agreed approach to waste management and disposal is one of the main impediments to the continued and future use of nuclear energy. In particular, this applies to the disposal of long-lived waste components in geological repositories, which will be required no matter what treatment method is chosen for the spent fuel and high-level waste. Research alone cannot ensure societal acceptance, but it is needed in order to develop and test repository technologies, investigate suitable sites, promote basic scientific understanding relating to safety and safety assessment methods, and to develop decision processes that are perceived as fair and equitable by the stakeholders involved._ Other activitiesIn order to support EU policies in the fields of health, safety and the environment and to better integrate European research on nuclear fission and the other uses of ionizing radiation, the programme also has the following research priorities: - Radiation protection - to underpin Community standards on radiation protection and how they are applied, to respond flexibly and rapidly to emerging needs and to enhance European capability through better integration of research efforts; - Innovative ways of producing nuclear energy - to investigate possible innovative concepts for nuclear energy. Research will focus on further development of innovative concepts for nuclear energy that have been identified as offering longer term benefits in terms, for example, of safety, waste management, costs and sustainability; - Education and training in the nuclear sciences - to combat the decline in both student numbers and teaching establishments, thus providing the necessary competence and expertise for the continued safe use of nuclear energy and other uses of radiation in industry and medicine. The programme also makes use of the following new instruments: _ Networks of Excellence Networks of Excellence are multidisciplinary virtual centres of excellence oriented towards long-term objectives rather than precise predefined results. They aim to spread excellence outside the network, comprise no fewer than six participants and receive Community funding of several million euros per year. _ Integrated Projects This instrument aims to strengthen European competitiveness or contribute to resolving major societal problems by mobilising a critical mass of European research and technological development resources and skills. By definition these projects have clearly defined objectives even in the case of risky research. Participants in the project are organised around a core group and all activities are carried out in the general framework of an Execution Plan. _ Other instruments include: - Specific targeted projects; - Integrated initiatives relating to infrastructure; - Mobility and training actions; - Specific co-ordination and support actions; - Accompanying actions.The Commission, assisted by a consultative committee, is responsible for the implementation of this Specific Programme. The members of the committee can vary according to the different subjects on the committee's agenda. For fission-related aspects, the composition of this committee and its detailed operational rules and procedures are laid out in Council Decision 2002/668/Euratom. The Commission has drawn up work programmes for the implementation of the Specific Programme, setting out in greater detail the objectives, scientific and technological priorities and timetable for implementation. This work programme takes account of relevant search activities carried out by the Member States and Associated States, as well as European and international organisations. It can be updated where appropriate. The Commission publishes regular reports on the overall progress of the implementation of the Specific Programme. It also arranges an independent assessment of the activities carried out in the fields covered by the Specific Programme.