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European Commission - Press release

Nuclear Safety: Greek, Polish and Portuguese legislation is not in line with EU law

Brussels, 26 April 2012 - Nuclear safety is paramount to EU citizens and it is of major concern for EU law-makers. The EU nuclear safety directive (2009/71/Euratom) sets comprehensive and legally binding rules that ensure the safety of all nuclear installations all over the EU. In the light of on-going safety checks of all nuclear power plants it is essential that the directive is properly implemented in all Member States. Together this will enhance the EU nuclear safety regime and guarantee that workers of nuclear installations and general public as well as the environment will be protected against any risk of radioactive contamination.

The directive had to be implemented by the Member States by 22 July 2011. However, Greece, Poland and Portugal have not yet informed the European Commission of the full transposition of the Directive into their national legislation. Consequently, the Commission has decided today to send a reasoned opinion to these Member States. The three Member States will have two months to respond. If they fail to comply with their legal obligations the Commission may refer them to the Court of Justice of the European Union and ask for financial penalties.


The nuclear safety directive creates a comprehensive and legally binding framework for the safety of civilian nuclear installations, such as nuclear power plants, research reactor facilities or spent fuel storage facilities. It defines basic principles and obligations to ensure and enhance nuclear safety in the EU.

The prime responsibility for nuclear safety lies with licence holders. Member States have to set up national framework to allocate responsibilities and coordinate between state bodies. The directive enhances the role and independence of national regulatory authorities. Also, Member States are required to encourage a high level of transparency of regulatory actions and to ensure regular independent safety assessments of all nuclear installations on their territory.

Nuclear safety in the EU has been based on the requirements of the main international instruments, namely the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Safety Fundamentals established by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The nuclear safety directive makes these requirements legally binding for all EU Member States.

Further information

Some concise information on the stages of an infringement procedure is available here.

Current figures on infringements in general can be found at:

For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/12/279

Contacts :

Marlene Holzner (+32 2 296 01 96)

Nicole Bockstaller (+32 2 295 25 89)

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