Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Framework programme


Previous programme


Programme funding

EUR 441 million

Official Journal Reference

L 361 of 1994-12-31

Legislative Reference

94/920/Euratom of 1994-12-15
To improve the social acceptance of nuclear energy through the development of a new global and dynamic approach to nuclear safety and safeguards.


This programme forms part of the Framework Programme of Community activities in the field of research and training for the European Atomic Energy Community (1994-1998). The various activities are set out and managed within a single programme and are not grouped as an individual set of actions, as was the case in the Third Framework Programme.

The primary purpose of the programme is to improve the general acceptance of nuclear energy, through the promotion of research and training in the field of nuclear safety and safeguards. This is to be achieved by the development of a global and dynamic approach, aimed at improving the understanding and quantification of the overall risks associated with the use of nuclear energy to man and the environment and to ensure the safety of nuclear activities, in cooperation with neighbouring states and international organizations.

The programme addresses the three main issues of common concern:
- Reactor safety, especially with regard to severe accidents;
- The management of long-lived radionuclides (including plutonium);
- The risk of fissile material diversion.

The new approach encompasses all aspects of nuclear safety and safeguards considering: the whole nuclear cycle; exposure to ionizing radiation from all sources (energy production, industry, medicine and nature); normal and accidental conditions; the threats associated with its use elsewhere (particularly in the CIS and the countries of east and central Europe); and the possibility of technological evolution through the promotion of innovative developments.

Cooperation between competent authorities and bodies in the Member States, as well as with industry and the scientific community will be stimulated. Opportunities for the training and mobility of scientific and technical staff will be created by activities such as the ERPET scheme and the Eurocourses organized together with the JRC at Ispra. Mobility of researchers will be promoted through staff secondment schemes and research grants to bursaries.

The problems of radioactive pollution originating from accidents or inappropriate operational procedures in the CIS states and the countries of east and central Europe require large-scale cooperation with these countries in order to assist in the establishment of safe conditions. The consequences of radiation accidents such as Chernobyl and of other uncontrolled releases of radiation from nuclear plants in these states, have led to environmental contamination and health hazards. These present unique opportunities for initiating collaborative research projects which can contribute greatly to the programme's objectives.

Close collaboration with national and international organizations will be pursued, so as to achieve world-wide consensus on the fundamental issues of nuclear safety and radiation protection and to further harmonize national approaches for developing safety standards. Interaction has been achieved and will continue within organizations, such as the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Nuclear Energy Agency of the OECD, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurement (ICRU) and the International Standards Organization (ISO).


Five action lines:

- Exploring innovative approaches:
New approaches to the safety design of reactors and to fuel cycles, and to investigate the potential of alternative waste management options:
. Conceptual Safety features;
. Partitioning and transmutation schemes (methods to reduce the long-lived nuclide inventory of nuclear waste);

- Reactor safety:
To improve the understanding of severe accident conditions and phenomena (e.g. core degradation, the release behaviour of fission products, etc.) in order to prevent the possible release of radioactive materials under severe accident conditions. The proposed activities include theoretical and experimental investigations, code developments and validation, and benchmark exercises. The joint use of existing and, possibly, new large test facilities is foreseen.

- Radioactive waste management and disposal and decommissioning:
To develop the technical basis for a common understanding of the scientific issues concerning the disposal of long-lived radioactive waste, specifically spent fuel and vitrified high level waste (HLW):
. Safety aspects of the geological disposal of HLW;
. Underground laboratories for waste disposal;
. Supporting research;
. Decommissioning.

- Radiological impact on man and the environment:
To reduce the remaining uncertainties in the quantification of radiation risks arising from the use of radiation from all sources, including exposure to natural radiation:
. Understanding the mechanisms of radiation action at cell level;
. Evaluation of radiation risks;
. Reduction of exposure levels from natural, medical and industrial sources;

- Mastering events of the past:
To improve the safety of nuclear installations in the CIS and the countries of east and central Europe through the establishment of an operational force to work out long-term mitigation strategies, to monitor the continuously changing circumstances and to initiate targeted research projects:
. Consequences of Chernobyl and other radiation accidents (impact of uncontrolled releases of radiation materials and validation of the results of basic research obtained from the other actions in the programme);
. Cooperative networks (reinforcement and extension of collaborative projects between the European Union and the CIS in the whole area of nuclear fission safety).


The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme, assisted by the Consultative Committee for the Nuclear Safety and Safeguards Programme. The Commission will issue calls for proposals for projects on the basis of the programme's action lines.

Eligible projects will be funded from the programme budget, which may be increased in accordance with the decision establishing the Euratom Framework Programme (1994-1998). The indicative breakdown of the budget between the various domains is as follows: Exploring innovative approaches ECU 7 million; Reactor safety ECU 48 million; Radioactive waste management and disposal and decommissioning ECU 43 million (of which up to ECU 4 million is earmarked for decommissioning related R&D activities); Radiological impact on man and the environment ECU 50 million; Mastering events of the past ECU 12 million. These figures include an allocation of 12.5% for staff and administrative costs and 1.25% for the dissemination and optimization of the results achieved. A minimum of 30% of the programme budget is reserved for basic research and approximately 2% for training.

An amount of ECU 254 million is allocated to the JRC to cover the research activities it will undertake in support of objectives of this specific programme. The JRC is closely involved in the programme's activities, in accordance with the decision establishing the specific RTD programme to be implement by the JRC for Euratom (1995-1998). JRC research will focus primarily on reactor safety, fuel cycle safety and safeguards and fissile materials management.

The programme will be carried out mainly through shared-cost activities, concerted actions and various preparatory, accompanying and support measures. Shared-cost activities will cover research and training projects support for financing the infrastructures or installations necessary for coordinated action. Projects are funded at levels reflecting the economic and technical risk of the action. An emphasis is placed on large integrated projects which are defined in consultation with the main partners. The Community will cover up to 100% of the cost of specific measures, such as action to promote standardization and measures to provide general tools to research centres, universities and undertakings.

The Commission is authorized to negotiate , in accordance with Article 101 of the Euratom Treaty, international cooperation agreements with European third countries and with international organizations located in Europe, with a view to involving them in all or part of the programme.

Collaborative projects with the CIS states and the countries of east and central Europe will include joint research activities, extensive training, and secondment schemes to major R&D projects. Some support for European Union partners participating in the joint projects will come from the resources available to the specific programme, but partners from the CIS and central and eastern Europe will have to be funded through the EU's various technical assistance programmes (e.g. TACIS and PHARE).


The budget of this specific programme has been increased from ECU 414 to ECU 441 million following the accession of the three new Member States (Austria, Sweden and Finland) on 1 January 1995.
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