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Safety of nuclear installations

The Commission deems it important to establish basic obligations and general principles for nuclear safety together with monitoring mechanisms to protect the general public and workers against the dangers of ionising radiation from nuclear installations. These measures are intended to enable the European Union (EU) to deal with the risks associated with radioactive materials more effectively.


Council Directive 2009/71/Euratom of 25 June 2009 establishing a Community Framework for the nuclear safety of nuclear installations.


This Directive aims at establishing a Community framework for nuclear safety within the Community and encouraging Member States to guarantee a high level of nuclear safety. It applies to all nuclear installations.

Member States shall establish a national legislative, regulatory and organisational framework for the nuclear safety of installations. This framework shall, in particular, provide for:

  • the adoption of national nuclear safety requirements;
  • a system of licensing and prohibition of operation of nuclear installations without a licence;
  • a system of nuclear safety supervision;
  • enforcement actions.

This Directive invites Member States to establish a competent regulatory authority. This authority should be independent from any other organisation. It should also be given sufficient legal powers, and human and financial resources, to be able to require the license holder to comply with national nuclear safety requirements.

The license holder shall have prime responsibility for nuclear safety and may not delegate this responsibility. They shall be responsible for the assessment and continuous improvement of the nuclear safety of installations.

Member States should ensure that their personnel have the necessary expertise and skills innuclear safety.

Information on nuclear safety regulations should be made available to the public.

Member States shall also submit a report to the European Commission every three years on progress made with regard to nuclear safety. They shall also submit self-assessments of their national framework every 10 years.


Nuclear safety regulation is based on the principle of national responsibility of Member States. This principle reinforces the independence of national regulatory authorities.

In 2007, following the Council’s conclusions, the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) was established to contribute to the achievement of the Community objectives in the field of nuclear safety. This Directive constitutes a crucial step in the implementation of these objectives.


ActEntry into forceTransposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 2009/71/Euratom



OJ L 172 of 2.7.2009

Last updated: 18.11.2009
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