One of the most important working groups of the Council of the European Union (Council) from the point of view of nuclear safety is the Working Party on Atomic Questions (WPAQ/AQG).

YEAR 2020

In the first half of 2020, the Council was chaired by Croatia (HR PRES). Regular meetings of the WPAQ took place only in January and February. The meetings in person were cancelled because of Covid-19 pandemic situation. Virtual meetings took place in May and June, followed by written communication. In February 2020, Special Report No. 3 of the European Court of Auditors entitled “The Commission contributes to nuclear safety in the EU, but updates required” (Report) was published. HR PRES proposed the draft Council Conclusions to Report in March. Subsequently, the Report was discussed, comments were made and a compromise text was reached, which was approved by the silent procedure of the WPAQ, the written procedure of Coreper2 and the Council on 29 June 2020. In the second half of 2020, during the German Presidency (DE PRES), virtual meetings of the WPAQ were organized to a limited extent. The key issues which were discussed are the following: the completion of discussions on regulations under the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, especially on updated regulation on the european instrument for nuclear safety for the third countries, the regulation on continuation of financing the decommissioning of Bohunice V1 after 2020 and the Euratom Report on the 7th Review Meeting of the Joint Convention on the Safe Management of Radioactive Waste and the Safe Management of Spent Fuel.

YEAR 2019

In 2019, AQG took place eighteen times. In the first half of 2019, the Presidency of the Council was held by Romania (RO PRES). The frequency of AQG meetings during RO PRES was relatively intense given by the extensive agenda, in particularly the discussions on the draft Council conclusions to strengthen the safety of nuclear installations through better physical protection. Most Member States, including the Slovak Republic, rejected and did not support it due to the reason that the topic is out of competences of the Euratom Treaty. On the other side the adopted Council Conclusions on the non-energy use of nuclear and radiation technologies were widely supported. From each Member State three examples of good practice were given on this issue. Subsequently RO PRES published them in a Summary brochure. At the same time the AQG and the Council adopted the Council Conclusions on the first topical peer review on nuclear safety in March 2019. The conclusions have highlighted this evaluation process at the highest political level and to encourage the Member States to draw up national action plans and to implement the identified improvements in practice. In the second half of 2019, Finland chaired the Council (FI PRES). Thematically FI PRES following the RO PRES on the topic of non-energy use of nuclear and radiation technologies. Within the AQG, preparations for the 8th Review Meeting for the Convention on Nuclear Safety began, which would be held in spring 2020 at the IAEA in Vienna.

Updated: 28.10.2021