Note by French authorities on protecting population against radiological and other threats

September 18, 2002

Brussels, 17 September 2002

Full text of Document 11824/02

Draft programme concerning cooperation to protect the population against bacteriological, chemical, radiological or nuclear threats. Cover note

9 September 2002

Note from the French authorities

Draft programme concerning cooperation to protect the population against bacteriological, chemical, radiological or nuclear threats.

Ref.: working document 119/02 ATO 98

Council document 10874/02 ATO 92

At the meeting of the Council Working Party on Atomic Questions (WPAQ) on 17 July 2002 the Presidency asked delegations to forward their governments' positions on the above draft programme in writing by 4 September. Such is the purpose of this note.

The matter is currently being dealt with by the Council Working Party on Civil Protection, which produced working document 119/02 ATO 98, and, for nuclear matters, by the WPAQ, which produced 10874/02 ATO 92.

The French authorities are generally in favour of taking account of the nuclear and radiological aspects of the terrorist threat, but are anxious that implementation of the programme should not affect the Community's existing Euratom provisions, nor bring matters which are the responsibility of the Member States into the Community sphere. They consider that the programme must strictly respect the confidentiality of information relating to the sensitivity and vulnerability of nuclear facilities and the measures taken to protect them.

As regards the document being drafted by the Working Party on Civil Protection, the French authorities would like the proposals under the various headings being discussed to be vetted by the relevant committees. In particular, there should be no confusion of security (which comes under combating terrorism) with safety (quite a different matter) of nuclear facilities and radioactive materials. Matters relating to the safety of facilities and to management and transport of waste should therefore be excluded, i.e. no mention should be made of the following documents currently listed in working document 119/02 ATO 98 (Annex I, footnote 6):

- IAEA safety recommendations.

- IAEA Convention on nuclear safety: peer review of safety arrangements in MS.

- IAEA Joint Convention on the safety of spent fuel management and on the safety of radioactive waste management

- Radioactive waste: proposal for a directive on the disposal of nuclear waste.

- Common approach on nuclear safety.

- Draft regulation on the transport of radioactive material.

- Safety requirements for nuclear installations.

In addition, the French authorities would stress that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has already done work on the subject which should be taken into account in discussions in the Community institutions, and that the programme should be implemented in close collaboration with the IAEA to avoid duplication and enable the European measures to dovetail smoothly with those of the international organisation.

Non-proliferation and disarmament are already the subject of an action programme approved by the General Affairs Council on 15 April 2002.

On a general level, it would be wise to indicate the precise context in which the texts mentioned may be applied and the EU's position in them.

As regards the proceedings of the Working Party on Atomic Questions, the following amendments should be made to ATO 92:

1) point 2 iv (p. 2): "coordination" should be replaced by "cooperation", to make quite clear that there can be no transfer of competence,

2) point 2 v (pp. 2 and 3): Euratom texts should be separated from international agreements by starting a new paragraph after "risks in terms of nuclear terrorism",

3) point 2 vi (p. 3): the French authorities are unclear as to what is meant by "network of experts". Would there be one network per type of risk? Would each stage of risk management be coordinated by the same staff, given that the different stages require specific skills (evaluation, management, communication in the MS)? How would the network link up with ECURIE?

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