EC activities have been performed over the last few decades to meet the requirements of several resolutions (EUR 20055 EN, 2001). These were the Council Resolutions of 1975 (European Commission, 1975) and 1992 (European Commission, 1992).

The 1975 Resolution stated that European Community actions in the area of nuclear safety were necessary because of the importance of nuclear power as an energy source in the Community, the need for the Community to address the technological problems of nuclear safety in view of possible environmental and health implications, the need to keep the public informed, to realise the safety and economic benefits of a harmonised approach for nuclear safety authorities, constructors and producers, and the desire for the Commission to influence global nuclear safety.

The 1992 Resolution not only acknowledged the continuing importance and relevance of the earlier resolution but also recognised some additional requirements. For example, the Council reaffirmed the importance of progress, nuclear safety research and innovation including future generations of reactors, but recommended that experience gained should be extended to third countries, particularly those of Central and Eastern Europe and the republics of the former Soviet Union.

Since 1995, there have been further developments, including the 1995 Consensus Document on European LWR safety, the publication of recommended licensing procedures, a document on the implementation of the 25 Principles of Nuclear Safety in different EU countries and the Convention on Nuclear Safety by EU member states and the EC. The EC is encouraging the spirit of common approaches to nuclear safety via dialogue and the synthesis of information. Nevertheless, at the present time, there are no Euratom

Treaty obligations on the EU member states to harmonise their nuclear safety criteria and regulations.

The EC Euratom framework programme for future reactors is linked with the national and international programmes above (Ion et al., 2003). Additionally, there is a major investment in fusion. With regard to fission reactors, the EC MICANET objective is to provide an R & D strategy to enable the nuclear option to be kept open via the development of innovative systems. Euratom also participates within the GIF project.

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