Spent fuel and radioactive waste management directive
Directive 2011/70/EURATOM establishing a Community framework for the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste
Worldwide, the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste is governed by national legislation and the international conventions. Within the EU, this is being supplemented by an EU Directive. The Directive 2011/70/EURATOM establishing a Community framework for the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste, adopted by the Council of the European Union on 19 July 2011, provides binding legal force to the main internationally endorsed principles and requirements in this field. The Directive takes into account expert inputs from ENSREG as well as the Euratom Scientific Expert Group that advises the European Commission.
The Directive aims at ensuring a high level of safety, avoiding undue burdens on future generations and enhancing transparency. It supplements the basic standards referred to in the Euratom Treaty as regards the safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste without prejudice to the Basic Safety Standards Directive.
This Directive reaffirms the ultimate responsibility of Member States for management of the spent fuel and radioactive waste generated in them, including to establish and maintain national policies and frameworks, and to assure the needed resources and transparency. Prime responsibility of the licence holder for the safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management under the supervision of its national competent regulatory authority is also reaffirmed. Strong provisions are foreseen for assuring safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management. The role of the national regulatory authorities is reinforces and their independence strengthened.
Each Member State remains free to define its nuclear fuel cycle policy. The spent fuel can be regarded either as a valuable resource that may be reprocessed or as radioactive waste that is destined for direct disposal. Whatever option is chosen, the disposal of high level waste, separated at reprocessing, or of spent fuel regarded as waste should be considered. The storage of radioactive waste, including long-term storage, is an interim solution, but not an alternative to disposal. To this end, Member States are obliged to establish and implement national programmes for management of spent fuel and/or radioactive waste from generation to disposal. Member States are obliged to notify to the Commission their national programmes by August 2015 and any subsequent significant changes.
Member States are obliged to ensure that necessary information on the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste is made available to workers and the general public, and that the public is given the necessary opportunities to participate effectively in the decision-making process regarding spent fuel and radioactive waste management in accordance with national legislation and international obligations.
Member States are obliged periodically, and at least every 10 years, to invite international peer reviews of their national framework, competent regulatory authority and/or national programme with the aim of ensuring high safety standards. The outcomes of the peer reviews shall be reported to the Commission and the other Member States. Member States are obliged to regularly review and update their national programmes, taking into account technical and scientific progress as appropriate as well as recommendations, lessons learned and good practices from peer reviews.
This Directive entered into force on 23 August 2011 and all EU Member States shall bring into force their laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with it by 23 August 2013. Member States' first reports on the implementation of the Directive shall be submitted to the Commission by 23 August 2015.
ENSREG has elaborated guidelines regarding Member States Reports as required under Article 14.1 of Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom of 19 July 2011 establishing Community framework for the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste.