José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
"EU Action on Nuclear Safety"
Nuclear Security Summit
Seoul, South Korea, 26-27 March 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Safety, security and non-proliferation are absolute priorities for the European Union. They are clearly interlinked; there is no safety without security and vice-versa. Today, I will focus on nuclear safety.
In the wake of the Fukushima tragedy, Europe has taken the lead in defining and carrying out comprehensive risk and safety assessments of all nuclear power plants in the EU. We are conducting these tough "stress tests" on the basis of an agreed methodology, which can serve as a model for our partners.
This "stress testing", which the EU Commission initiated, began last June and proceeds on two tracks:
Track 1 on safety assesses how nuclear power plants can withstand extreme events or disasters, whether natural or man-made. These checks go beyond previous licensing processes.
Track 2 on security focuses on security threats, on the prevention and response to deliberate, terrorist acts.
These stress tests are unique, in particular since all EU countries have agreed to subject their nuclear power plants to additional assessments, and because citizens and civil society organisations are involved in the process.
The final results of these tests will be made public in June, following detailed peer reviews by experts from all EU Member States, , and some of our neighbours.
The tests will no doubt yield important lessons. They will provide technical insights for safety improvements and a solid basis for legislative changes. The EU is already implementing two key laws in this field, the EU Nuclear Safety Directive and the EU Nuclear Waste Directive, both of which could be reinforced.
Because our goal is clear: to ensure the highest safety and security for our citizens.
In the interests of a stronger global safety culture, the European Commission will actively share the results of the stress tests. And we encourage our international partners to do the same.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Radiation knows know borders - the Fukushima accident demonstrated that. We therefore need a true cross-border, global approach to nuclear safety.
The EU has already invited all its neighbours to be involved in the stress tests, such as Switzerland, Turkey, Russia and Ukraine. Several are well on board.
At the global level, we need to agree on the highest safety standards and strengthen emergency preparedness.
We should also agree that only the best available technologies will be used for nuclear construction. Power plants that will operate for the next 50 to 60 years must not use yesterday's technology. Furthermore, there must be better synergies between safety and security for new plants.
Our aim is a more robust and solid nuclear framework worldwide. We strongly support tighter international rules for the peaceful, safe and sustainable use of nuclear energy.
Clearly, the IAEA has the lead in developing such a global approach. We will work closely with the IAEA and its member states in reviewing the Nuclear Safety Convention, in order to improve its effectiveness and enforceability.
We offer our stress test process as a starting point. We will also give financial support through the EU Instrument for Nuclear Safety Co-operation, which currently has an overall volume of half a billion Euros.
In short: The EU is totally committed to boosting nuclear safety and I urge the strongest possible, common and truly global approach. We all stand to benefit from such progress.