European Union: EU Council Adopts Revised Nuclear Safety Directive

On 14 August 2014, the European Union's ("EU") new nuclear safety directive, Council Directive 2014/87/EURATOM ("2014 Directive"),1 will come into force as an EU-wide legally binding instrument.2 The 2014 Directive amends the Council Directive 2009/71/EURATOM ("2009 Directive")3 by seeking to further bolster the framework for the safety of nuclear installations in the EU.

Here we explain the background to the 2014 Directive, as well as summarise some of the main amendments to the 2009 Directive and potential impacts for industry.

Background to the 2014 Directive

The nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 was the catalyst for the revision of the 2009 Directive. This event refocused the world's attention on the safety of nuclear installations and the potential cross-border impact of a nuclear accident.4

The immediate response of the EU's Council of Ministers was to call for a safety review of all 1325 operating EU nuclear power plants on the basis of a "comprehensive and transparent risk and safety assessment" (a review which became known as "stress tests") to be conducted in cooperation with the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group.6 Stress tests were commenced in 2011 by means of self-assessment by licence holders (the nuclear power plant owners and operators) and the preparation of reports by national regulators on the status of the plants, while an extensive EU-wide peer review process was carried out in early 2012.7

In addition to the stress tests, the EU's Council of Ministers charged the European Commission with the task to "review the existing legal and regulatory framework for the safety of nuclear installations" and "propose . . . any improvements that may be necessary."8 The European Parliament also resolved for "an urgent revision of the [2009] Directive with a view to its strengthening, namely by taking into account the results of the stress tests implemented in the aftermath of the Fukushima accident."9 Against this background, in June 2013 the European Commission published its draft proposal for an EU Council Directive to amend the 2009 Directive (the "Draft Proposal").10

On 8 July 2014, following the stress tests and legislative response, as well as a public consultation on the Draft Proposal, the EU Council of Ministers adopted the 2014 Directive. According to Article 2 of the 2014 Directive, in order to comply with its terms Member States have until 15 August 2017 to bring into force the necessary laws, regulations and administrative arrangements to give effect to the 2014 Directive.11

Amendments to the 2009 Directive

The 2009 Directive is strengthened to include a set of "shared objectives" aimed at harmonising the EU approach to nuclear safety.12 The overall aim is the implementation and continuous improvement of the highest standards of nuclear safety and its regulation at the EU-level.13 The primary amendments contained in the 2014 Directive are intended to:

  • strengthen the role and effective independence of the national regulatory authorities;14
  • enhance transparency in nuclear safety and emergency preparedness and response (including information and cooperation obligations and involvement of the public);15
  • strengthen existing principles, and introduce new general nuclear safety objectives and requirements, in particular "defence-in-depth," aimed at addressing specific technical issues across the entire lifecycle of nuclear installations (siting, design, construction, commissioning, operation and decommissioning), particularly nuclear power plants;16
  • reinforce monitoring and exchange of experiences by establishing an EU-wide system of topical peer reviews;17
  • enhance accident management and on-site emergency response, and ensure continuous review and adoption of lessons learned; and18
  • establish a mechanism for developing EU-wide harmonised nuclear safety guidelines (through the peer reviews and coordinated national self-assessments) and a strong nuclear safety culture (through effective management systems, appropriate education and training).19

The table set out in Appendix 1 sets out the key provisions of the 2014 Directive compared to the 2009 Directive.

What This Means for Industry

FORATOM, on behalf of the European nuclear industry, welcomed the adoption of the 2014 Directive, stating that "[t]he European nuclear industry supports in particular how it strengthens the role and independence of Europe's national regulators and endorses agreed safety objectives for nuclear power plants, in accordance with the recommendations of the Western European Nuclear Regulators' Association (WENRA)."20 While the 2014 Directive sets out obligations binding on Member States, and many of the amendments are focused on national legislative and regulatory frameworks, including additional obligations on national regulatory authorities, there are a number of amendments that are specifically targeted at licence holders.

To prepare for the introduction of the new provisions of the 2014 Directive, licence holders may:

  • Take particular note of explicit reference to the licence holder's prime responsibility to ensure nuclear safety, which cannot be delegated to contractors or sub-contractors. Licence holders are responsible for all activities of their contractors and sub-contractors and, therefore, licence holders need to ensure that their contracts include provisions that:
  • require compliance with nuclear safety requirements to the same level as required by the licence holder to ensure that the licence holder can comply with terms and conditions of its licence and relevant regulations;
  • stipulate the requirement to have programs relating to quality assurance and nuclear safety culture in place in contractor and sub-contractor organisations;
  • provide for the license holder to review decisions, activities and any sub-contracting to ensure compliance with nuclear safety requirements; and
  • require contractors to pass on to sub-contractors all relevant terms and conditions (in a "back-to-back" fashion) to ensure the licence holder has adequate oversight and control at all times.
  • Reconsider "defence-in-depth" for their installations and work with regulators to ensure that the licence holder's arrangements satisfy any amendments, including with respect to the requirement to regularly assess, verify, and continuously improve defence-in-depth arrangements.
  • Reconsider on-site emergency procedures and arrangements, including severe accident management guidelines or equivalent arrangements, and work with regulators to ensure that the licence holder's arrangements satisfy any amendments. In particular, ensure that on-site emergency procedures are periodically reviewed and regularly updated, including to take account of lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident and any other incidents or accidents at nuclear facilities.
  • Review human resource qualifications and competencies to ensure the ability to fulfill obligations with respect to nuclear safety at installations. In particular, pay attention to the human resources of contractors and sub-contractors whose activities affect nuclear safety and ensure these human resources are sufficiently qualified and competent. As noted above, this can be achieved by proper contractual arrangements that give requisite levels of control to licence holders.
  • Review, and if necessary, revise or develop communications policies to ensure that obligations with respect to transparency and dissemination of appropriate information to local authorities, populations and stakeholders in the vicinity of a nuclear installation are properly incorporated into that policy.
  • Review, and if necessary revise or develop, an institutional nuclear safety culture policy within licence holder organisations, ensuring that this policy incorporates all traits of a positive nuclear safety culture.
  • Plan and prepare for the required systematic and regular review (at least every 10 years) of the safety of nuclear installations, to ensure compliance with the current design basis and identify further safety improvements by taking into account aging issues, operational experience, the most recent research results and developments in international standards.

For other entities which are not the primary licence holders, the 2014 Directive contains concepts and standards that warrant attention, particularly for contractors and sub-contracts doing business with licence holders. It may also be prudent for companies that have policies for doing business in the nuclear sector (whether individually or through common initiatives such as the Nuclear Power Plant Exporters Principles of Conduct)21 to consider whether any amendments should be made to these policies to take into account and facilitate compliance with the 2014 Directive. It would be equally prudent for commercial banks and lending institutions to review their lending policies and guidelines against the 2014 Directive to ensure that enhanced nuclear safety requirements are appropriately incorporated.

Ultimately, the ongoing goal of the entire nuclear industry is to strive for, and work together to ensure the adoption and implementation of, the highest standards of nuclear safety – not only in Member States of the EU - but around the world.

Footnotes

1 Council Directive 2014/87/Euratom of 8 July 2014 amending Directive 2009/71/Euratom establishing a Community framework for the nuclear safety of nuclear installations [2014] OJ L 219/42.

2 Draft proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 2009/71/EURATOM establishing a Community framework for the nuclear safety of nuclear installations COM(2013) 343 final, 13 June 2013, 5.

3 Council Directive 2009/71/Euratom of 25 June 2009 establishing a Community framework for the nuclear safety of nuclear installations [2009] OJ L 172/18.

4 COM (2013) 343 final, above n 2, 7.

5 Ibid, 2.

6 European Council Conclusions EUCO 10/1/11, 11.

7 COM(2013) 343 final, above n 2, 3.

8 Ibid; See also: EUCO 10/1/11, above n 7, 11.

9 Ibid, 3.

10 COM(2013) 343 final, above n 2.

11 OJ L 219/42, above n 1, 51.

12 COM(2013) 343 final, above n 2, 7.

13 Ibid, 8.

14 Ibid, 5; see also OJ L 219/42, above n 1, paragraph (6), 43.

15 COM(2013) 343 final, above n 2, 5; see also: EU Business, 'Amended Nuclear Safety Directive', 9 July 2014.

16 COM(2013) 343 final, above n 2, 5.

17 Ibid.

18 EU Business, 'Amended Nuclear Safety Directive', 9 July 2014.

19 COM(2013) 343 final, above n 2, 5; EU Business, 'Amended Nuclear Safety Directive', 9 July 2014; OJ L 219/42, above n 1, paragraph (18), 44.

20 See: http://www.foratom.org/newsfeeds/273-revised-safety-directive-to-reinforce-national-legislative-and-regulatory-framewor.html , 2 July 2014. FORATOM had previously identified a number of concerns with the Draft Proposal and many of these concerns have been addressed in the 2014 Directive.

21 See: http://nuclearprinciples.org/the-principles/ .

Click here to download the full article.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

    Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of www.mondaq.com

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

    Disclaimer

    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

    Registration

    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

    Cookies

    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

    Links

    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

    Mail-A-Friend

    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

    Emails

    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .

    Security

    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions