Euratom Supply Agency
The European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) intervenes in fields related to atomic energy such as research, the development of security standards and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Through the creation of this Agency it aims to ensure a regular and equitable supply of ores, source materials and special fissile materials in the European Union (EU).
Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom)
Council Decision 2008/114/EC, Euratom of 12 February 2008 establishing Statutes for the Euratom Supply Agency [Official Journal L 41 of 15.2.2008].
The Euratom Supply Agency was established by the Euratom Treaty. It became operational on 1 June 1960.
The Agency must ensure that all users in the European Union (EU) enjoy a regular and equitable access to ores and nuclear fuels (source materials and special fissile materials), through the common supply policy and in accordance with the principles detailed in Title II, Chapter VI of the Treaty.
In order to successfully carry out its mission, the Agency shall:
- provide the Community with expertise, information and advice on the nuclear market;
- monitor trends of the market in nuclear materials and services which could affect the security of supply;
- cooperate with the Advisory Committee.
As the body responsible for the management of supply and demand of ores, source materials (natural uranium, for example) and special fissile materials (enriched uranium and plutonium, for example) in the EU, the Agency has:
- a right of option on ores, source materials and special fissile materials produced on the territory of Member States;
- an exclusive right to conclude supply contracts on ores, source materials and special fissile materials originating from within or outside the Community.
Location and status
The Agency is located in Luxembourg. It is placed under the supervision of the European Commission, which has a right of veto over all its decisions (Article 53(1)). It also has legal personality and financial autonomy.
Right of option (Article 57)
The Agency has the right of option on materials produced in the Community. This applies to the full ownership of ores and source materials and to the right to use and consume special fissile materials. The Treaty requires all producers in the territory of the EU to offer the Agency all the ores, source materials or special fissile materials they produce before they are used, transferred or stored. This right of option is exercised by concluding supply contracts in a simplified manner.
However, producers may, with the Agency's authorisation, keep materials either to store them, use them or make them available to companies located within the EU. Nevertheless, specific conditions must be met and notified to the Commission.
Should the Agency decide not to exercise its right of option, this must be clearly set out in the contract concluded. Consequently, with regard to ores and source materials, the buyer has all the ownership rights. However, in the case of special fissile materials, the buyer obtains only the right to use and consume them, and the Community retains the right of ownership.
Exclusive right to conclude supply contracts (Article 52)
Any contract relating to the supply of the materials concerned must be authorised and concluded by the Agency. This is the Agency's key operating instrument. It applies to all supply contracts, including purchases and sales of materials (uranium, whether natural, depleted or enriched, thorium and plutonium), exchanges and loans.
This right applies to supplies coming from within or from outside the EU. As regards materials coming from outside the Union, should the Commission find that the Agency is not in a position to deliver the materials within a reasonable period of time, users may, with the Commission's authorisation, conclude contracts directly with other parties.
However, in the case of a transfer, import or export of small quantities of materials for research, the Agency just has to be notified.
In practice and according to the Agency's rules, users are authorised to negotiate freely with the producer of their choice. After the negotiations, the supply contracts for ores and source materials and, by analogy, the supply contracts for special fissile materials, including enrichment contracts, must be submitted to the Agency, and are concluded by the Agency.
The Treaty allows a charge to be levied on transactions in order to defray the Agency's operating expenses. The Agency is financed by the Community budget, revenue from its capital and bank investments.
Each year the Agency's Director-General must submit a budget forecast to the Commission.
Director-General and staff
The Director-General is appointed by the Commission. He is responsible for managing the Agency, and represents it in certain situations. The Agency's staff is made up of permanent Commission officials seconded to the Agency.
The Euratom Supply Agency is assisted by an Advisory Committee which is the link between producers, users and the Agency. It provides advice, opinions and information on the supply of nuclear energy and on trade relating to nuclear energy. It is also a discussion forum.
The Committee has 56 members, appointed by Member States for a 3-year renewable mandate and chosen from producers, users and experts in the field of nuclear energy according to their level of experience and expertise. The Director-General is required to consult the Committee on decisions relating to the Agency's capital, the drawing-up of rules to determine the manner in which demand is to be balanced against supply, the preparation of the Agency's annual balance sheet and report, and the setting-up of branches of the Agency and the winding-up of the Agency.
The Committee normally meets twice a year. It can also be convened at the request of the Director-General or at the request in writing of a third of the Committee members when necessary.
Three main documents are drawn up by the Director-General, in consultation with the Committee:
- the annual balance sheet, together with a trading account. This document is submitted to the Court of Auditors, which draws up a report on the Agency's accounts;
- the annual report on the Agency’s activities. This document brings together data on the supply of and demand for nuclear fuels in the European Union;
- the budget for the following year.
|Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Decision 2008/114/EC, Euratom||
OJ L 41 of 15.2.2008