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

End of deadline is February 25

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.

December 2017: EIA Dukovany/CZ new NPP

The company Elektrárna Dukovany II, a.s is currently planning the construction of a new nuclear power plant at the Dukovany site; one or two reactors with up to 2,400 MWe. They should start operating in 2035, planned life-time of 60 years. The NPP site Dukovany is already hosting four VVER-440 reactors.
Joint Project prepared a statement for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

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.

30 Sept., 2016: Consultation ENSREG TOR

The statement of the Joint Project for the consultation on the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the first Topical Peer Review about ageing in 2017 can be found here.

20 Sept., 2016: Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for New Reactor Units at the Dukovany Site/CZ: Statement of the Joint Project for the Scoping Procedure

ČEZ plans to build one or two new NPPs in Dukovany with an output of up to 3500 MWe. Operation start is planned in 2035 with a lifetime of 60 years. A transboundary EIA procedure has started in August 2016 with the scoping phase. Find here the statement of the Joint Project based on the analysis of the scoping document.

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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