Nuclear fission, safety and radiation protection
Establishing a sound scientific and technical basis in order to accelerate practical developments for the safer management of long-lived radioactive waste, enhancing in particular the safety, while contributing to resource efficiency and cost- effectiveness of nuclear energy and ensuring a robust and socially acceptable system of protection of man and the environment against the effects of ionising radiation.
Indirect actions in nuclear fission, safety and radiation protection will be undertaken in five principal areas of activity detailed below. In the light of the reinforced emphasis on nuclear safety contributing to reorientation of nuclear research, the areas of installation safety, radiation protection (including medical uses) and risk assessment shall receive the greatest possible attention. There are important links with research in the Seventh Framework Programme of the Union adopted by Decision No 1982/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007-2013), in particular in the areas of energy, European standards, education and training, environmental protection, health, material science, governance, common infrastructures, security and safety culture. International cooperation will be encouraged across many of the research activities, with special focus on safety of nuclear installations, and this will be in collaboration with the relevant technical and stakeholder forums described in the rationale for nuclear fission, safety and radiation protection activities in point I.B of Annex I to Decision 2012/93/Euratom.
1. Management of ultimate radioactive waste
Engineering studies and demonstration of geological repository designs in order to prepare implementation while ensuring operational safety. Studies contributing to a better understanding of wastes and their behaviour over time, development of robust methodologies for performance and safety assessment, investigation of governance and societal issues related to public acceptance and other activities to underpin the development of a common European view on the main issues related to waste management from discharge to disposal.
2. Reactor systems
While respecting the overall objective, research to underpin the safe operation of all reactor systems (including fuel cycle facilities) in use in Europe or, to the extent necessary in order to maintain broad nuclear safety expertise in Europe, those reactor types which may be used in the future, focusing exclusively on safety aspects. This includes plant life assessment and management, safety culture (minimising the risk of human and organisational error), advanced safety assessment methodologies, numerical simulation tools, instrumentation and control, and prevention and mitigation of severe accidents, with associated activities to optimise knowledge management and maintain competences. Activities include basic and key cross-cutting research activities (such as material science) and, while focusing exclusively on safety aspects, the study of future reactors and all aspects of the fuel cycle such as partitioning and transmutation.
3. Radiation protection
Activities in this area will focus on:
— Better quantification of the risks to health for low and protracted exposures, including individual variability, through epidemiological studies and an improved understanding of the mechanisms through cellular and molecular biology research.
— Enhance the safety and efficacy of medical uses of radiation through new technological developments and achieving a proper balance between the benefits and risks of such uses.
— Improve the coherence and integration of emergency and post-accident management in Europe through the development of common tools and strategies and demonstrate their efficacy in operational environments.
— In other areas, national research activities will be more effectively integrated as considered necessary.
Where there is clear European added value especially in order to establish critical mass, support for the design, refurbishment, construction and/or operation of key research infrastructures required in any of the above thematic areas, including facilitating the appropriate access to existing and future infrastructures by individual research workers and research teams.
5. Human resources and training
Coordination of national programmes and provision for general training needs in nuclear science and technology through a range of instruments, including those with shorter-term results and of a competitive nature, as part of general support to human resources in all thematic domains. Includes support for training courses and training networks, and measures to make the sector more attractive to young scientists and engineers and to improve coordination between the Union educational institutions in order to ensure qualifications are equivalent across all Member States.