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Basic Safety Standards


On 29 September 20115 December 2013, the European Commission adopted the proposal for a basic safety standards. The text relating to environmental protection is reproduced below: Chapter IX PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT

Article 76 Environmental criteria

Member States shall include, in their legal framework for radiation protection and in particular within the overall system of human health protection, provision for the radiation protection of non-human species in the environment. This legal framework shall introduce environmental criteria aiming to protect populations of vulnerable or representative non-human species in the light of their significance as part of the ecosystem. Where appropriate, types of practices shall be identified for which regulatory control is warranted in order to implement the requirements of this legal framework.

Article 77 Authorised limits on discharges

Member States’ competent authorities, when establishing authorised limits on discharges of radioactive effluents, in accordance with Article 65(2), shall also ensure adequate protection of non-human species. For this purpose, a generic screening assessment may be conducted to provide assurance that the environmental criteria are met.

Article 78 Accidental releases

Member States shall require undertakings to take appropriate technical measures to avoid significant environmental damage in the event of an accidental release or to mitigate the extent of such damage.

Article 79 Environmental monitoring

When establishing environmental monitoring programmes, or requiring such programmes to be carried out, Member States’ competent authorities shall include representative non-human species, if necessary, and also environmental media which constitute a pathway of exposure for members of the public.

Reproduced from: European Commission (2011) Proposal for a Council Directive laying down the basic saftey standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to inising radiation. Draft presented under Article 31 Euratom Treaty for the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee. Brussels, 29.9.2011, COM(2011) 593 final. 2011/0254 (NLE).

Council Directive 2013/59/EURATOM which lays down the basic safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to ionising radiation, and repealed Directives 89/618/Euratom, 90/641/Euratom, 96/29/Euratom, 97/43/Euratom and 2003/122/Euratom. This Directive is focused on ‘environment’ with respect to human health protection with the scope stating:

This Directive applies to any planned, existing or emergency exposure situation which involves a risk from exposure to ionising radiation which cannot be disregarded from a radiation protection point of view or with regard to the environment in view of long-term human health protection.

Within the Directive, the definitions of planned and emergency exposure situations both make reference to the potential for an effect on the environment however these definitions do not place any requirements for considering environmental protection from ionising radiation releases.

 The Directive does recognise that contamination of the environment may pose a threat to human health. The Directive goes on to recognise that the Community’s secondary legislation so far has regarded such contamination only as a pathway of exposure to members of the public directly affected by radioactive effluent discharged to the environment. While the state of the environment can impact long-term human health, this calls for a policy protecting the environment against the harmful effects of ionising radiation. For the purpose of long-term human health protection, environmental criteria based on internationally recognised scientific data (such as published by EC, ICRP, United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)) should be taken into account.

There is therefore no explicit requirement for consideration for the protection of the environment in its own right unlike the International Basic Safety Standards (2014).