07-08 Oct 2019: Conference in Vienna: Climate Crisis - Why nuclear is not helping

The climate crisis is the biggest challenge we humans face. At the same time, nuclear energy is trying to make a come-back. While nuclear lobbyists have stopped claiming new plants would be competitive long ago, they now hope to receive new subsidies by arguing their technology can contribute to a low CO2 electricity system.
This international conference, which takes place at the same time as IAEA’s very first climate conference, will examine the hard evidence-base, the facts and figures – in order to prepare strategies to halt fresh money for the outdated technology that is nuclear.
Eszter Mátyás from Energiaklub and Gabriele Mraz will hold a workshop on 08 Oct on the Joint Project's working paper in progress „The impacts of climate change on nuclear risk and supply security”. The working paper shall be presented in detail at the next Nuclear Energy Conference in Prague.
More information on the Conference at Global 2000's website.

Open until 16 Sept 2019: Call for feedback on the Technical Experts Group’s (TEG) report on the EU Taxonomy

The European Commission proposed a new taxonomy regulation in May 2018. It defines which technologies fall under Green Financing. The EC tasked a Technical Experts Group (TEG) to develop a proposal for implementing the taxonomy regulation. Amongst others, the TEG came to the conclusion that nuclear energy is not sustainable and doesn’t fulfill the criteria mainly because the nuclear waste issue is unsolved.
Until 16 Sept. 2019 the TEG report is open for feedback.
The Joint Project expressed its support of the TEG report’s assessment of nuclear energy being a non-sustainable technology.

August 2019: New Report on Radiation Protection in the Joint Project countries

In 2018, the Joint Project sent a questionnaire to the national authorities responsible for radiation protection in our countries. We asked about the implementation of the Radiation Protecion Directive 2013/59/Euratom (BSS-Directive), the implementation and interpretation of Council Regulation (Euratom) 2016/52 and about intervention levels and countermeasures in case of a radiological accident. We received answers from Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria and Poland. In this report, all questions and answers are listed and evaluated.

June 2019: Updated report on the implementation of the Nuclear Waste Directive 2011/70/Euratom

Since the very first steps, the Joint Project is keeping a close watch on the implementation of the Nuclear Waste Directive. Those activities consisted in national groups getting involved in the broader topic of nuclear waste management and the measures required by the new Directive. We continuously monitored the implementation on national level and EU level and participated in Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA), organized events for the interested public and a discussion with European Commission representatives.
In our yearly updated assessment report we inform not only on the status of implementation of the Nuclear Waste Directive, but also on problems with transparency, on limits of public participation and on many other problems that became obvious during the first years of implementation. Version 3 of our report can be downloaded here.

20 May 2019: Environmental Impact Asssessment Paks II/Hungary - Complaint to the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee

Today several environmental organizations and individuals filed a complaint to the United Nations Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee (ACCC) on irregularities in the approval of the Hungarian nuclear power plant Paks II. The complainants from five different EU states accuse the Hungarian government of having violated their international obligations during the transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the planned nuclear power plant project and thereby infringed international law. For this reason, the Czech environmental NGO Calla, the German energy cooperative Greenpeace Energy, the Foundation Terra Mileniul III from Romania, the Austrian Institute of Ecology (Österreichisches Ökologie-Institut), the Munich Environmental Institute (Umweltinstitut München) and the private individuals Brigitte Artmann and Jan Haverkamp submitted a communication to the Aarhus Compliance Committee in Geneva.
Communication to the ACCC
Press release

Workshop “Risk of lifetime extension of old NPP”

The Joint Project workshop on risk of lifetime extension and ageing took place on Tuesday, 7 May 2019 in Linz. Oda Becker, one of the authors of the new study of the International Nuclear Risk Assessment Group (INRAG) “Risk of lifetime extension of old NPP”, gave a presentation on some results of the study. The workshop offered the possibility to discuss topics that are of special interest for NGOs.
Also available for inputs and questions were Patricia Lorenz, who is negotiating the issue of PLEX / EIA under the ESPOO Convention, and Gabriele Mraz, co-author of the INRAG study with the focus on transparency and participation.
Report of the workshop
Presentation of Oda Becker

Nuclear Energy Conference 2019: LIFETIME . EXTENDS . DANGER

May, 8th 2019, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm
Linz Ursulinenhof, Upper Austria
For more information and the presentations click here.

2018: ENSREG Topical Peer Review Ageing

On 4 October, ENSREG approved the report on the first topical peer review "Ageing management of nuclear power plants and research reactors". The Joint Project assessed this report and the whole procedure. This assessment can be found here.

Dec. 2018: Petition against uranium mining in Hungary

In the heart of the Mecsek hills a uranium mine is planned. Mecsek is a bird protection area with unique plant community and wild life. The Western-Mecsek Landscape Protection Area is protected precisely in order to conserve these treasures. According to the law, industrial and mining activities are prohibited in this area.
In order to stop uranium mining in this region together with their partners from Pécs Energiaklub has started a petition.

Petition against the restart of the NPP Belene project

The Bulgarian Green Party and others have started a petition against Belene which can be signed here.

Austria: Strategic Environmental Assessment for the national programme for nuclear waste management is finished

Austria is a nuclear energy free state and took part in many neighbouring states’ EIA and SEA processes with the goal of making nuclear waste disposal strategies as safe and transparent as possible.
Therefore Austrian NGOs had high expectations that the Austrian national programme could be used as good practice example. But these expectations were not fulfilled, the programme was three years late and lacked detail in important sections. Austrian NGOs were successful in improving parts of it, but a lot of work still has to be done.
The Austrian nuclear waste management program was finalized in September 2018. Information and an assessment of the final national programme (in German only) can be found here.

Participation NPP Wylfa/UK

For participation in the application procedure for the planned new NPP Wylfa Newydd in Wales statements for Bulgaria and Poland were written and submitted to the Infrastructe Planning Inspectorate until 13 August 2018.
The transboundary EIA in Austria is ongoing until 24 August 2018, more information and a statement for Austria can be found here.
Also the UK process under the Planning Act is ongoing. The Joint Project monitors the procedure.

12 July 2018: European General Court decided ...

that EURATOM makes nuclear state aid for Hinkley Point C possible. European NGOs call upon EU governments to abolish the EURATOM Treaty, Austria mostly likely to appeal the court`s decision.
For more information click here and also read this.

19 June 2018: Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Dukovany II/CZ - International hearing in Třebíč

Třebíč is situated approximately 30 km northwest of Dukovany. NGOs from Austria and the Czech Republic participated and asked many critical questions. A detailed report on the hearing and also on the EIA Dukovany can be found here.

May 2018: New study: "Knowledge preservation for nuclear repositories"

Spent fuel and other high radioactive nuclear waste have to be isolated from the environment for one million years or longer – an unimaginable long period. We do not even know if the human species will exist that long.
Until now, neither a convincing concept exists to prevent radioactive substances from leaking out of a repository, nor a concept to preserve all necessary knowledge on nuclear waste and future repositories hidden in a geological barrier, and how to inform future generations to handle a possible leakage.
In this study, existing ideas for knowledge preservation were researched and assessed. The study was written by the Austrian Institute of Ecology and supported by the Viennese Ombuds-Office for Environmental Protection.
In a workshop on 10 April 2018 in Prague the study was discussed with interested NGOs and members of the public.
More information and the study can be found here.

NPP Belene: restart of the project?

The Belene NPP project in Bulgaria was started in 1970, construction started in 1987, was stopped in 1990 and restarted in 2002. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was conducted and finished in 2004, two reactors were allowed to be built in 2005. But in 2012 the project was stopped again. Now, on 27 June 27 2018, the Bulgarian Government cancelled its decision from 2012 to stop the Belene NPP project.
The EIA decision from 2004 should no longer be valid due to Bulgarian law which defines that the project implementation has to start in the first five years. Bulgarian Government argues that some buildings have been erected, therefore the EIA decision is still valid - but these were non-nuclear buildings (information centre and mensa).
The Austrian Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism was asked to ask for official information from Bulgaria and to call for a new transboundary EIA if the project should proceed.The response from BMNT can be read here.

Nuclear Energy Conference 2018 on 11th April, 2018, Praha

The NEC 2018 had the topic "Nuclear waste: Unwanted legacy of nuclear power". Gabriele Mraz gave a presentation on problems that became obvious during implementation of the Nucelar Waste Directive 2011/70/EURATOM. All other presentations can be found here.
A radio report by Freies Radio Freistadt on the NEC can be heard here (German only).

22 Jan 2018: Nuclear power plant Paks II – Austria announced law suit against the EU Commission state aid decision on Monday 22 January

Update: Austria started the law-suit on 22 Feb 2018.

On December 2017 the EU Commission published its decision in the EU official journal. After being exposed to heavy lobbying the new Austrian government today confirmed they will follow-up the announcement already made by its predecessor government.
The background on this issue was presented today at a press conference in Vienna. GLOBAL 2000 and Benedek Jávor/MEP Greens welcomed the decision and underlined the importance of this law suit for the common electricity market which should not be distorted by state subsidies for nuclear power plant. “NPP cannot not be built without state subsidies. Also the legal basis applied – the EURATOM Treaty – is not correct and we hope the European Court of Justice will clarify this issue.” If state subsidies will become “legal”, a small nuclear renaissance mainly in former Soviet satellite states might become a reality: Hinkley Point C and Paks II might be the first, the planned NPP Dukovany could follow as early as summer 2018 with a similar financing model in the Czech Republic. Romania has announced the intention of building NPP Cernavoda 3 and 4 with some kind of state financing model earlier, Belene in Bulgaria could be the next in line.
One more issue regarding Paks II is still open: The justification given by the EU Commission for accepting that Hungary never tendered the NPP units, but simply gave the contract to the Russian reactor manufacturer Rosatom: The “technical exclusivity”, claiming that only Rosatom could deliver what is needed on the specific site is still on the table; Energiaklub and Benedek Jávor are following this up.
The decision concerning Hinkley Point C is expected to being announced in the next weeks, however, most likely the decision will be appealed and this will take another year or more.

Plant Lifetime Extension Kozloduy 5

On 3 Nov 2017, Kozloduy 5 got a 10-year-lifetime extension. European Greens demand full EIA for PLEX.

2nd Conference of the Danube Region Nuclear-free: Public Participation in nuclear project - opportunities and challenges.

This conference took place on 22 Sept. 2017 in St. Pölten. Presentations can be found here.

New study: "Health effects of ionising radiation and their consideration in radiation protection"

The health effects of low radiation doses are still discussed highly controversially in radiation protection. Low doses result from nuclear installations during normal operation, from accident situations in nuclear facilities for workers and the public, from the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but also from medical exposure and natural background.
Based on new insights in health effects it can be concluded that the dose limits and levels in the BSS-Directive (Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom) and in the Food Level Regulation (Council Regulation Euratom 2016/52) are too high, they do not provide enough protection, especially for the embryo/foetus, children, pregnant women and young adults.
The study and the extended summary can be downloaded here: study, extended summary. The study was supported by the Vienna Ombuds-Office for Environmental Protection.

New working paper on Nuclear Security & 24 Apr 2017: Joint Project Workshop on Nuclear Security

The risk of terrorism is increasing, but especially old NPPs and interim storages for spent fuel have not been designed against possible terrorist attacks. To improve NGO´s knowledge of nuclear security issues the Joint Project commissioned the independent nuclear consultant Oda Becker to prepare a working paper. Oda Becker has presented this working paper at a workshop at the Joint Project Workshop in Linz. The full working paper can be downloaded here.

25 Apr 2017: Nuclear Energy Conference in Linz/Austria

In 2017 EURATOM will celebrate the 60th year since its foundation and therefore 60 years of promoting nuclear industry. EURATOM is an obstacle for the European nuclear phase-out and a stumbling block for a nuclear free Europe. 60 years after its implementation the time has come to abolish EURATOM or at least subject it to a thorough reform process which has been demanded for years. For more information and registration click here.

06 March 2017: EU Commission decided that state subsidies for Paks II are not illegal – legal challenges will follow both from the Austrian government and electricity utilities

At the end of 2015 the EU Commission started two infringement procedure concerning the NPP Paks. They were looking into the state aid for the construction of two units by Rosatom and the fact that this deal was agreed without a tender thus breaching European competition rules and excluding other competitors from delivering the plant or components.
However, today´s decision did not answer those serious problems but using wrong arguments declared this political deal legal. The EU Commission applies the wrong legal basis, because nuclear power is not a Common Interest of the EU member states. The EURATOM Treaty does not have any state aid regulations and therefore this issue is to be assessed under the TFEU, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. If those two units will be built and connected to the grid, Hungary could increase the nuclear power share up to 86 percent. This is a severe economic disadvantage to the renewable energy production e.g. in Austria.
„The case is similar to the Hinkley Point NPP subsidy scheme, the EU Commission is obviously trying to introduce a special nuclear economic zone to make at least some nuclear new built possible. We welcome that some member states like Austria will challenge this decision in court, as some energy utilities will, because we are afraid, that some other member states might be willing to put public money into the construction of nuclear power plants,“ explained Patricia Lorenz.
For further information:

Our brand new background paper on state aid for nuclear newbuilt provides an overview over the Paks project and the possible consequences of this decision in other countries in the EU… read more.
Joint press release

Nuclear waste - problems solved?

Joint Project conference in Budapest on 15 Dec., 2016

Our one-day conference with international experts has focused on the Euratom directive on management of spent fuel and radioactive waste (Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom). We examined the status of implementation in EU member states and whether this directive will „solve“ the issue of waste disposal. To illustrate the effectiveness or non-effectiveness of this directive we looked at Hungary as an example of a country (not the only one) still considering the export of spent fuel to the infamous Mayak facility in Russia. This conference also provided up-to-date information on the situation at Mayak and the Hungarian plans for spent fuel from Paks I and Paks II. Here you can download the programme.

A report of the conference can be downloaded here.

Gabriele Mraz, Austrian Institute of Ecology
Massimo Garribba, DG ENER
Vladimir Slivyak, Ecodefense, RU
Zsuzsanna Koritár, Energiaklub
Additional Text to presentation Z. Koritár in English

Audiofiles of the conference:

07 Feb. 2017: Conference "Transparency and future of radioactive waste management in Europe"

This conference was organized by Nuclear Transparency Watch and Members of the European Parliament, Brussels
For the Joint Project, Gabriele Mraz gave a presentation at this conference.
More information can be found here.

Factsheet on health effects of low level radiation

Health consequences are a key issue for nuclear energy. Health effects, especially of low-level radiation, are often difficult to prove scientifically, which leads to disagreements of members of pro and anti-nuclear communities and scientists that are still ongoing in 2016, the year of the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident and the 5th of Fukushima. The Joint Project collected and assessed up-to-date epidemiological studies and publications on health effects of low-level radiation and produced a factsheet. An updated version of the factsheet (it was included in a new study) can be found here.

2016: Joint Project report: Radioactive waste and spent fuel - transparency and public participation in national programmes

After about a year's experience with available national waste management programmes based on Directive 2011/70/Euratom, the Joint Project produced a report about status of national programmes and SEAs in the JP countries. We analysed several aspects of transparency and public participation in these programmes and compared them to good practice. The report can be downloaded here.

06 July, 2016: National Reports and National Programmes for Management of Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste are public

In response to a request by Nuclear Transparency Watch from March 2016, the European Commission gave access to all national programmes and implementation reports on management of spent fuel and radioactive waste. You can download them here.

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