Control of radioactive sources: Commission acts against Denmark, France, Portugal and Sweden

October 13, 2006

Brussels, 12 October 2006

The European Commission today decided to send reasoned opinions to four Member States which have not yet notified transposition measures necessary for complying with the Directive on the control of high-activity sealed radioactive sources and orphan sources [1] .

The sending of reasoned opinions to Denmark, France, Portugal and Sweden is the second stage of an infringement proceeding. If these Member States do not notify all the domestic law transposition measures within the established time limit, the Commission will have to refer the matter to the Court of Justice.

Among the Member States concerned, Denmark has already notified partial transposition measures, whereas France, Portugal and Sweden have not yet adopted any final transposition measure.

The Directive in question lays down harmonised specific requirements ensuring that every high-activity sealed radioactive source in Europe is under constant control. The Directive makes it possible therefore to improve the traceability of these radioactive sources. It also seeks to protect the population and workers better by limiting the probability of accidental exposure to ionising radiation, which might result from inadequate control of the radioactive sources, in particular when they are no longer used.

Radioactive sources have many uses in the industrial, medical and scientific sectors. When they are used in connection with these activities, the risks are generally well-known, and exposures resulting from accidental or unintended handling are therefore rare. However, they can be moved or withdrawn without authorisation or proper control of the risks. Radioactive sources are sometimes discovered in scrapyards and steel plants, where they are mixed with other materials. They are then called "orphan sources" and may constitute a serious danger.

[1] Council Directive 2003/122/Euratom of 22 December 2003 ( OJ L 346, 31.12.03, p. 57). The Directive provides that the Member States are to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the said Directive no later than 31 December 2005.

Item source: IP/06/1378 Date: 12/10/2006

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