Notice to members

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2009 - 2014

<Commission>{PETI}Committee on Petitions



Subject: ITRE>Petition 1403/2011 by H .W. F. (German), on expansion of the Temelin nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic>

1. Summary of petition

The petitioner objects to the addition of two new reactors (units 3 and 4) to the Temelin nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic. All the reactors of this power plant discharge their cooling water into the River Moldau, which flows into the Elbe. The petitioner fears that serious environmental damage will be inflicted on the environment when units 3 and 4 become operational. He also fears that the objectives of the Water Framework Directive will not be achieved. The petitioner requests an investigation.

2. Admissibility

Declared admissible on 24 April 2012. Information requested from Commission under Rule 202(6).

3. Commission reply, received on 30 August 2012

The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive1 requires that projects concerning nuclear power stations be subject to an environmental impact assessment before they can be carried out. The assessment shall contain, inter alia, a description of the measures envisaged in order to avoid, reduce and, if possible, remedy significant adverse effects. This analysis should also include the likely effects of the project on the achievement of the Water Framework Directive's objectives.

Moreover, the Water Framework Directive2 requires that Member States prevent the deterioration of the status of all their water bodies (Article 4). Exemptions from this requirement are only possible if the strict legal conditions laid out in the directive are fulfilled.
Likewise, according to Article 37 of the Euratom Treaty, a Member State has to provide the Commission with general data relating to any plan for the disposal of radioactive waste in whatever form. The Commission delivers opinions on whether, and to what extent, the implementation of plans giving rise to releases of radioactive effluents is liable to result in radiological consequences for the water, soil or airspace, in particular, of another Member State.
In addition, in accordance with Article 41 of the Euratom Treaty, the investment projects in the nuclear industry have to be communicated to the Commission. The Commission, after examining all aspects of investment projects relating to the objectives of the Treaty, shall issue a point of view in accordance with Article 43 of the Treaty.
It is the Commission's understanding that the EIA process is ongoing for the new reactors of the Temelin nuclear plant. The Commission is aware that several public hearings are to be held in the coming weeks. There will also be cross-border consultations with neighbouring countries, i.e. Germany and Austria.
As the EIA process is on-going, the Commission is not at this stage in a position to draw any conclusion. The Commission would nevertheless stress the possibilities offered to the petitioner to participate actively in the EIA process.

1 (85/337/EEC) as amended by Directives 97/11/EC, 2003/35/EC and COM/2009/0378 codified by Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of effects of certain public and private projects on the environment.

2 Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy (OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1–73).


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