Nuclear safety: a priority for the Member States and the candidate countries

April 26, 2002

Brussels, 25 April 2002

Commissioner Loyola DE PALACIO addressed the Industry Committee on Tuesday on the subject of energy policy. She set out her plans for 2003 and described the Commission's priorities, including the transposition of the acquis communautaire by the candidate countries in areas such as energy, the transeuropean networks and biofuels. However, she focused primarily on nuclear safety.

Mrs Palacio stressed the importance for Europe to set up systems to guarantee energy supplies in sufficient quantities while also emphasising safety. 'In an enlarged Europe nuclear safety must not be neglected by either the Commission or the Member States' she said. The Commission felt that eight nuclear reactors in the candidate countries should be closed down because their safety standards had not been updated. There were two kinds of problem: an unwillingness to shoulder the cost of closing down nuclear plants and the difficulty of finding alternative energy sources - some candidate countries being dependent on nuclear power for 80% of their energy. The lack of uniform standards in the candidate countries as well as the EU meant that Community rules were needed.

In reply to questions from Konrad SCHWAIGER (EPP-ED, D) and a number of other Members, the Commissioner stressed the importance of common safety rules, which she said should be drawn up before enlargement. While the question of sharing the burden of costs for decommissioning nuclear plants still needed to be discussed, the position of Lithuania, which was refusing to invest even €1 even though it acknowledged that one of its nuclear power plants must be shut down, was utterly unacceptable.

23.04.2002 Committee on Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy       In the chair: Carlos WESTENDORP Y CABEZA (PES, E)

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European Parliament News Report 2002-04-24 _en.htm

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