March 2002

Radiation protection: Commission enforces Euratom directives

EIS Europe Energy, 15 March 2002

[Posted 18/03/2002]

France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom have not transposed the Euratom Directives on Basic Safety Standards and on Medical Exposures, two Directives aiming to provide protection from ionising radiation. Ireland has not yet applied the Medical Exposures Directive in national law. The deadline for transposition of these Directives was May 13, 2000. The European Commission has therefore decided to take these five countries to the European Court of Justice, under the Euratom (European Atomic Energy Community) Treaty. The Basic Safety Standards Directive aims to improve protection against ionising radiation, which is produced during various medical and industrial processes as well as being a product of the nuclear fuel cycle. To this effect, it sets out new (lower)exposure limits, requirements to justify the use of radioactive substances, and sets out a principle of keeping exposures "as low as reasonable achievable". It also regulates natural radiation in the workplace and includes new requirements for assessing population exposure. The Medical Exposures Directive, supplementing the Basic Safety Standards Directive, improves the level of radiological protection for patients and medical staff, sets out a more precise justification principle, distributes responsibilities, and sets requirements for qualified experts in the medical area.
(Europe Energy - 121/9. 5-22) (SD)

Back to contents