Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2011-06-22-Speech-3-251-000"

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"− Madam President, we are dealing with a legislative proposal with which we will, for the first time, be introducing European standards for the handling of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. Two years have passed since we adopted a directive on nuclear safety and since then increased attention has been paid to the safe operation of nuclear power plants. The European Parliament has also several times called for a directive on the management of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. The events in Fukushima have shown that we were right to do so because spent nuclear fuel stored in a temporary pool may also present a risk which can be forestalled with appropriate measures. The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) is very much in favour of the idea of a European directive, but we want it to be more rigorous in certain places. In our report, we have paid attention to the technological aspects, the provision of financial and human resources and independent, strong and competent regulatory bodies. Let me give you a little more detail on our positions. Even the best ideas, much as they may be desirable, will not become reality if there is not enough finance. In the ITRE, we have essentially reinforced the finance requirements. For us, it is not enough for these resources to just be adequate and available. At the political level, we have to ensure that these two requirements are implemented and we therefore support greater transparency and supervision of financial resources. We are also introducing a requirement that the monies should be used for a specific purpose. We have also upheld the implementation of the polluter pays principle, and that I consider to be one of the key demands of the European Parliament. We have also responded to public concerns concerning the safety of disposed-of nuclear fuel and supported the principle of reversibility. We have taken the position that spent nuclear fuel must be controlled. However, for technical reasons or in case of new technological solutions, such fuel could be extracted, processed or recycled and reused. We have significantly tightened the transparency requirements and set out the details concerning public participation, the information which is to be given to the public and the method of communication and participation in procedures. In this context, we have referred to the Aarhus Convention. Our Committee is in favour of regional cooperation. However, in order to ensure regional cooperation does not serve merely as an excuse to delay decisions, we have added a whole raft of requirements which such cooperation should meet. We have paid particular attention to the protection of workers who handle spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, compliance with the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle which is established in practice, the need for education and training as well as the need for the development of scientific and technological skills. I would particularly like to emphasise our position on the export of radioactive waste. I dare say that not a single member of the Committee is a nimby (‘not in my backyard’). We are not in favour of irresponsible management and we want radioactive waste to be disposed of safely. On the other hand, we know that there are exceptions where export is allowed. We have therefore supported the amendment which allows exports to countries which operate the same standards that we will be introducing in the EU with this directive. For example, we should not be exporting radioactive waste to countries that have no final disposal facilities. We have also tabled an amendment in which we are demanding that the European Commission, once the peer reviews have been completed, evaluate the concept of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel management. Particular emphasis should be placed on the reversibility principle and the export requirements. Ladies and gentlemen, the European Parliament has only an advisory role under the Euratom Treaty. We have worked hard and I would like to think that our work will not be in vain. I therefore expect the European Commission and the Council to respect our positions and I ask that, during this debate, you support the positions adopted by ITRE."@en1

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