Brussels Nuclear Package without Chances

Berlin, 05.02.2003

The German Atomic Forum sees little chance that the draft guidelines passed by the European Commission for a joint concept in the area of the safety of nuclear power plants and the disposal of radioactive waste will be realised. The EU cannot resort to any competence basis for such far-reaching regulatory and administrative tasks that go beyond the scope of the Euratom treaty. This would infringe the original competencies of the member states.

According to Dr. Gert Maichel, the President of the German Atomic Forum, speaking at the Winter Conference in Berlin, the introduction of minimum safety standards as provided in the safety guideline is not suitable for enhancing the safety of nuclear power plants. "In the face of the high level of safety of nuclear facilities in Germany there is rather more the risk that safety standards might be downgraded out of consideration for the candidate countries. The introduction of additional supervisory and execution competences on the part of the Commission would furthermore blur the so far clear responsibilities of the member states, resulting in legal uncertainty for the operators of the facilities", said Dr. Maichel.

He also sees no legal basis for transferring existing financial means (reserves) for waste management and for the decommissioning of the nuclear power plants to external funds. "As long as waste management obligations within the EU are not harmonised, German companies that have set aside large reserves for waste management due to stringent legal requirements will be disadvantaged", the President added. Moreover, funds do not offer higher financial security. All in all, the German model ? with the utilities setting aside reserves in accordance with the legal nuclear waste management requirements and carrying already on a constant basis the investment costs for the establishment of a future repository in line with the Final Storage Advance Payments Ordinance ? is superior to any fund model.

As for the proposed waste management guideline, the DAtF believes that its implementation is unrealistic for reasons of the periods envisaged until the identification of repositories alone.

The German Atomic Forum (DAtF) is calling once again for an acceptable overall energy-political concept. The compromise on the use of nuclear power - which will be kept by the industry - and other painfully achieved partial solutions cannot replace an overall framework. This, however, is becoming more and more urgent each month in the light of the upcoming investment decisions to be taken with regard to replacement capacities to compensate for the closure of old power plants. Such an energy-political overall programme can contribute to removing the obstacles to investments and thereby buoy up the economy as a whole.


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