Europe funds safety of nuclear neighbours

The European Parliament has backed a proposed €631 million ($851 million) program to support nuclear safety outside the EU, calling for neighbouring countries to be given priority.

In a series of amendments approved on 20 November, the parliament said that said countries would get preferred funding if they fall into either of two categories: that they want to join the EU and are already getting ‘pre-accession assistance’; or if they are eligible for ‘European neighbourhood instrument’ spending.

The money will come under an EU ‘instrument for nuclear safety cooperation’, being spent from 2014 to 2020, which will have 5.8% more at 2011 prices than the outgoing 2007-13 program it replaces.

The money will support projects that “support the promotion of a high level of nuclear safety, radiation protection and the application of efficient and effective safeguards of nuclear material in third countries…” The parliament added a commitment that this work should ensure “that nuclear material is used only for the civilian purposes for which it is intended.”

Meanwhile the parliament has tried to ensure that the program does not duplicate efforts made by other international organisations and governments. An amendment  said the EU and its member states would “ensure proper coordination and cooperation with multilateral and regional organisations and entities,” including the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and UN bodies such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The proposal, as amended, will now be considered by the EU Council of Ministers, representing member states, which will have the final say.

Courtesy of WNN