FP5-EAECTP C - Research and training programme (Euratom) in the field of nuclear energy (1998 to 2002)
This document is the Commission's proposals for the specific programme (Euratom) for research and training on preserving the ecosystem implementing the Fifth Framework Programme. It is distinct from specific thematic programme "Preserving the ecosystem" which covers only non-nuclear aspects.
The European Parliament, in its opinion of 18 December 1997, and the Council, in the common position which it adopted on 23 March 1998, have endorsed the general principles underlying the Commission's proposals concerning the Fifth Framework Programme for Community research. These principles place emphasis on a concentration of research activities that will make it possible to meet the Union's main socio-economic needs through the implementation of multidisciplinary activities grouped together in thematic and horizontal programmes.
Although the Framework Programme itself has not yet been adopted, the Commission has adopted these proposals in order to start in-depth discussions on the specific programmes as soon as possible with the aim of ensuring that the Framework Programme can be implemented from the beginning of 1999.
The programme has three components:
- Key action on controlled thermonuclear fusion, to further develop the necessary basis for the possible construction of an experimental reactor, as well as the basic concepts and the technologies required in the long term for the reactor;
- Key action on nuclear fission, the aims of which are to enhance the safety of Europe's nuclear facilities and the protection of workers and the public from radiation, to help solve waste management and disposal problems and to improve the competitiveness and social acceptability of Europe's nuclear industry;
- Research and technological development activities of a generic nature, the aim of which is to consolidate and advance European knowledge and competence in several areas that are important for the safe and competitive use of nuclear fission and other industrial and medical uses of ionising radiation and for the management of natural sources of radiation;
- Support for research infrastructure, where the objective is to further integrate nuclear research within the Union so that available resources can be used more effectively to the competitive advantage of European industry and to ensure the continuing safe and socially acceptable exploitation of nuclear technologies. To help exploit the full potential of nuclear energy, both by making current technologies even safer and more economical and by exploring new promising concepts. This research and training programme consists of key actions, research and development activities of a generic nature, and support for research infrastructure. These are set out in detail below.
Key Actions with the following objectives:
- Key action controlled thermonuclear fusion. Under the strategy set out in the fifth framework programme, the contribution of fusion to safe and clean base-load electricity generation will be investigated in the wider context of studies on the socio-economic aspects of fusion. During the period covered by the fifth framework programme, the strategy will be followed under three main lines:
. Continuation of ongoing research. Fusion physics and technology activities will aim to develop the capacity to plan an experimental reactor. Europe will continue to participate in the ITER engineering design activities (EDA) in the preparation of the possible reactor construction;
. Concept improvements. Structured activities in the field of physics will focus on improving the basic concepts of fusion devices;
. Long-term technology. Structured technological activities will be aimed at preparing, in the longer term, for the demonstration reactor (DEMO);
- Key action nuclear fission. The main objectives are to help ensure the safety of Europe's nuclear facilities, the protection of workers and the public and the safe and effective management and final disposal of radioactive waste, to improve the competitiveness of Europe's nuclear industry and enhance its prospects in world markets and to explore more innovative concepts that are sustainable and have potential longer term economic, safety, health and environmental benefits. While mainly scientific or technological in nature, the research will have a significant socio-economic dimension. A further objective is to contribute, through education and training, towards maintaining within the Union a high level of expertise and competence on nuclear safety.
. Operational safety of existing facilities. Research will focus on measures to maintain and improve the safety of existing with particular emphasis on the safety aspects of prolonging the life-span of reactors and on strategies for serious accident management;
. Safety of the fuel cycle. Research will focus on developing a scientifically-founded approach to the management and disposal radioactive waste that is both cost-effective and acceptable in a broader social context;
. Safety and efficiency of future systems. Research will focus on improving the safety and competitiveness of future facilities and the exploration of more innovative or fundamentally new concepts for energy generation that offer advantages in terms of cost, (including the better management of wastes and utilization of fissile materials), sustainability and reduced risk of diversion;
. Radiation protection. Research will be aimed at helping operators and regulatory authorities to protect workers and the public during operations in the nuclear fuel cycle, to manage nuclear emergencies and to restore contaminated environments. It will be strictly limited to satisfying the objectives of the key action. Complementary research, having a more generic and fundamental nature, will be carried out in support.
- Research and technological development activities of a generic nature. The objective is to consolidate and advance European knowledge and competence in the radiological sciences in order to: maintain and improve the safety and efficacy of industrial and medical uses of radiation; better assess and manage exposure from natural sources of radiation; support the development and practical application of radiation protection standards. It will be implemented along four main lines:
. Radiation protection and health. Research will focus on improving the basis for estimating the risks of low and protracted doses of ionizing radiation;
. Environmental transfer of radioactive material. Research will focus on improving our understanding of the behaviour of radioactive material in the environment, with a view to developing sound policy and good practice in managing the impact of natural and artificial sources of radiation;
. Industrial and medical uses and natural sources of radiation. Research will focus on enhancing the safety and efficacy of medical and industrial uses of radiation, on better assessment and management of exposures to natural sources of radiation and on conceptual and methodological issues in optimizing protection;
. Internal and external dosimetry. Research will focus on improving methods for assessing exposures to radiation from external sources and incorporated nuclides and developing innovative monitoring techniques which take advantage of progress in materials science and digital electronics.
-Support for research infrastructure. The objective is to further integrate nuclear research within the Union so that available resources can be used more effectively to the competitive advantage of European industry, and to ensure the continuing safe and socially acceptable exploitation of nuclear technologies. There are three main ways in which this support will be provided:
. Large scale facilities. Continued access to large scale facilities is essential and can be facilitated by shared use and collaborative programmes;
. Networking. Existing networks must be reinforced and others established where they can demonstrably help achieve the programme objectives or broader Union goals;
. Databases and tissue banks. Existing databases should be reinforced and others established where the need arises. The Commission shall monitor the implementation of the programme; submit proposals to the Council for adapting and arrange for external assessments to be conducted. In addition, the Commission shall draw up a work programme specifying: -the objectives and research and training priorities in greater detail; -the indicative timetable for the implementation of the specific programmes; -the coordination arrangements; -the selection criteria and arrangements for applying them for each indirect research and training action The Commission shall regularly inform the Council and the European Parliament of the overall progress of the programme.