The European Commission has decided to refer Austria, Croatia and Italy to the Court of Justice of the EU for failure to notify their final national programmes for the management of the spent fuel and radioactive waste, as required under the Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste Directive (Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom).
This type of waste is also the byproduct of the non-power use of nuclear and radiation technologies, such as research in science and various medical applications. It is a priority for the Commission to ensure that the highest safety standards for radioactive waste and spent fuel management are in place.
According to Article 15(4), in conjunction with Article 13(1) of the Directive, Member States were required to notify their national programme for the first time to the Commission by 23 August 2015.
The Commission reminded the three Member States of their obligation under the Directive and asked them to provide clarifications on the procedures that had still to be undertaken before the adoption of their programmes, as well as the foreseen adoption and notification dates thereof. As the three Member States had only notified draft versions of their programmes, letters of formal notice were sent to Austria, Croatia and Italy on 29 April 2016 and were followed by reasoned opinions in July 2017. The Commission considers that it is for the authorities of these Member States to take all necessary measures to adopt their final national programme for the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste and to notify it to the Commission.
The Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste Directive (Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom) establishes a Community framework for ensuring the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste – including that originating from non-power uses of nuclear and radiation technologies - to avoid imposing undue burdens on future generations.
The Directive requires Member States to provide for appropriate national arrangements for a high level of safety in spent fuel and radioactive waste management; these arrangements aim at protecting workers and the general public from the dangers arising from ionising radiation. Moreover, it requires to provide necessary public information and participation in relation to spent fuel and radioactive waste management issues, while having due regard to security and proprietary information issues. Member States were required to transpose the Directive by 23 August 2013.
- More information about spent fuel and radioactive waste management is available on the Commission's website
- On the key decisions of the May 2018 infringements package, please refer to the full MEMO/18/3446.
- On the general infringements procedure, see MEMO/12/12.
- On the EU infringements procedure.