Improving nuclear safety and radiation protection

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International reference texts

The international reference texts are the international conventions and treaties to which France is a contracting party and those reference texts and recommendations concerning nuclear safety and radiation protection that are not formally binding.

Euratom Treaty and European Directives

The purpose of the EURATOM Treaty, which was signed in 1957 and entered into force in 1958 in a context of energy deficit, allows the development of nuclear energy while protecting the population and workers against the harmful effects of ionising radiation. The European Commission produces directives that member states are obliged to implement into their own national legislation.  

European directives concerning radiation protection

Five directives on radiation protection currently constitute the foundation of French legislation and regulations with regard to radiation protection:

  • Directive 96/29/ Euratom of May 13, 1996 setting out the basic standards for the health protection of the general public and workers against the dangers arising from ionising radiation;
  • Directive 97/43/Euratom of  June 30, 1997, relative to the health protection of persons against the hazards of ionising radiation during exposure for medical purposes, replacing directive 84/466 Euratom.
  • Directive 89/618/Euratom of November 27, 1989 on informing the general public about health protection measures to be applied and steps to be taken in the event of a radiological emergency;
  • Directive 90/641/Euratom of December 4, 1990 concerning the protection of outside workers exposed to the risk of ionising radiation during their activities in controlled areas.
  • Directive 2003/122/Euratom of December 22, 2003 on the control of high-activity sealed radioactive sources and orphan sources.

The text of a new Euratom directive concerning the basic radiation protection standards and grouping the above 5 directives in a single directive taking account of the latest recommendations (103 recommendations) of the International Commission on Radiation Protection (ICRP) was adopted by the European Commission on May 30, 2013 and on 5 December 2013. The new Directive has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 17 January 2014:

This corpus has been supplemented by:

Furthermore, a Euratom decision on December 14,1987 describes the conditions for the early exchange of information between European Union countries in the event of a radiological emergency. This decision complements the IAEA Convention on the early notification in the event of a nuclear accident [].

Date of last update : 25/09/2017