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Nuclear safety in Europe: decision-making behind closed doors?

European citizens don’t want to be left out of decision-making over nuclear power. But a recent meeting of the Espoo Convention reveals how concerns over reactor life-time extensions are being sidelined.

Nuclear accountability curbed by EU politics and industry interests

A meeting of the parties to the UN convention on environmental impact assessment in a transboundary context (Espoo) helped to showcase the influence that politics and the nuclear industry lobby have over decisions that have potentially severe impacts on European citizens’ health and the environment.

Energoatom lawsuit against Ukrainian activists is the latest attempt to stifle public debate over an ageing nuclear energy fleet

A Kiev court held yesterday the first hearing in a case brought by Energoatom, Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear power plants operator, against the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine (NECU), a civil society group, member of the CEE Bankwatch Network.

Does European financing facilitate the implementation of the Espoo convention in nuclear-energy related activities? Experience from Ukraine.

Public finance can play a role in ensuring nuclear safety and the transparency and accountability of government decisions related to nuclear energy by encouraging governments to fully apply Espoo procedures at earlier stages of the programme or plan and to provide more information about loan conditionalities. However, only a limited positive effect has been seen in Ukraine due in part to a lack of transparency by the financial institutions and to the selective application of convention requirements.

Ukrainian nuclear sector in defiance and in financial trouble

On November 28, the state nuclear regulator of Ukraine (SNRIU) allowed the continued operation of unit 1 of the South Ukrainian nuclear power plant (SUNPP-1) until December 2, 2023 - 10 years beyond its technically designed lifetime. The decision not only constitutes a breach of national regulation, but also disregards an unresolved case of non-compliance with the UN Espoo Convention. All this while Energoatom is in an increasingly tight financial situation.

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