Commission nuclear chief comments on current issues

A wide range of current EU nuclear energy issues was discussed at a meeting on 19 March between the ENS’s Secretary General, Peter Haug (in his capacity as Director General of the FORATOM branch of the ENS secretariat), Christian Waeterloos, Director for Nuclear Energy in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN), and Dolorès Carrillo, Head of Unit, Contracts and Studies, in the Euratom Supply Agency.

The main topics reviewed included:

  • the next reorganisation of DG TREN, due on 1 May;

  • the 'nuclear package' of proposed legislation on safety, decommissioning financing and radioactive waste management;

  • the Euratom Treaty;

  • the next Illustrative Nuclear Programme of the Community (PINC); and

  • the EU-Russian Energy Partnership.

Mr Waeterloos said that the real concern regarding the proposed EU ‘nuclear package’ legislation was the non-binding format. This has been requested by Finland, Germany, Sweden and the UK, which, at European Council level, have the capacity to form a minority sufficient to block the current proposals for the ‘nuclear package’ to take the form of EU Directives. He views the Euratom Treaty, which provides the framework for the EU-established European Atomic Community, as an independent entity (i.e. a primary law) that should stand as it is today. However, the general provisions dealing with the treaty's institutional and financial aspects are expected to be transferred to the new EU constitutional treaty. This would unavoidably mean that the provisions would be governed by the EU’s co-decision procedure, which would give the European Parliament additional powers in these matters. A final decision on this issue is due be taken by the end of 2004 under the Dutch Presidency of the European Council, although the approval of the EU’s Constitutional Convention will be required.

According to Mr Waeterloos, the next Illustrative Nuclear Programme of the Community (PINC) must be closer to the spirit of the Euratom Treaty, i.e. it must be truly programmatic. To reach this goal, Mr Waeterloos recommends waiting one or two more years to obtain better visibility of the nuclear energy policies of EU member states, such as Belgium, Finland, France, Italy, Sweden and the UK.

On the EU-Russian Energy Dialogue, Mr Waeterloos said that no precise schedule was planned for negotiations on the trade in nuclear materials. He emphasised that protecting the viability of the EU nuclear industry was a priority for the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN).

Home l Top l Disclaimer l Copyright l Webmaster