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Brussels, 17 October 2007

Commission takes legal action against Portugal regarding safety standards for ionizing radiation

The European Commission decided today to send a reasoned opinion to Portugal for failure to fulfil its obligations on basic safety standards for the protection of the health of workers and the general public from ionizing radiation[1]. If Portugal does not take the necessary measures to fulfil these obligations within the established timeframe, the Commission will have to refer the matter to the Court of Justice.

The aim of the Directive is to ensure that workers and the general public receive the best possible protection against the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

Portugal has notified transposition measures which are dispersed in various legislative texts – instead of a coherent and consolidated legal framework - where a comprehensive reading of different legislation is needed to obtain the necessary information. The Commission considers that this makes Portuguese legislation on radiation protection too complex and causes uncertainty for the citizens regarding the relevant transposition provisions in force.

Furthermore, the Commission deems that the current Portuguese legislation still fails to comply with some of the main provisions of the Directive, particularly regarding dose limits for the public, exposed workers, pregnant women, apprentices and students, the estimation of the effective dose, the fundamental principles governing the operational protection of exposed workers, apprentices and students, the exposure due to natural radiation sources, and the implementation of radiation protection for the population in normal circumstances.

[1] Council Directive 96/29/Euratom of 13 May 1996 (OJ L 159, 29.6.1996, p. 1–114)

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