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EU proposes new nuclear decommissioning rules

Written by: Staff

BRUSSELS, Oct 24 (Reuters) The European Commission proposed new rules today for financing the decommissioning of nuclear power stations which the EU's energy chief said would make atomic energy more safe and secure across the bloc.

As part of the new legislation proposed by EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, each EU country will be required to set up an independent body to oversee the financing and implementation of decommissioning.

Such bodies, according to the Commission, will be ''independent in their decisions ... with a mandate and the capacity to deliver an expert judgment on decommissioning matters''.

The decommissioning of nuclear power plants across the EU is expected to increase, with one third of the 148 power reactors operating in the bloc set to be made redundant by 2025.

''This proposal is a major step forward in making nuclear energy a safe and secure solution,'' Piebalgs said in a statement.

''It would be of clear benefit for nuclear safety if rules for the constitution, management and use of decommissioning funds were harmonised throughout the EU in such a way that ensures sufficient funds will be available when required.'' The EU's executive also proposes to establish a permanent group of national experts on the subject and publish an annual report on the use of decommissioning and waste management funds in all countries.

The rules will have to be approved by EU member states and the European Parliament to take effect.

Environmental group Greenpeace described the move as a ''useful step forward'', but added that binding rules on decommissioning funds were urgently needed to protect taxpayers across Europe from potentially huge bills for managing nuclear waste and redundant reactors.

Reuters PDS VP0020

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