The Joint Franco-Luxembourg Commission for Nuclear Safety held its 18th meeting on Tuesday 4 February 2020 at the headquarters of the French Nuclear Safety Authority (Autorité de sûreté nucléaire, ASN) in Montrouge.
The annual meeting, organised alternately in France and Luxembourg, allows the French Nuclear Safety Authority and the Luxembourg authorities to take stock of recent developments in the two countries in the field of nuclear safety and radiation protection.
On the Luxembourg side, the delegation was made up of representatives of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Radiation Protection Division of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Energy and the High Commission for National Protection. On the French side, it was composed of representatives of the Nuclear Safety Authority, the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Prefecture of the Moselle, in the presence of EDF, the operator of the Cattenom nuclear power plant (Moselle).
On this occasion, the Luxembourg delegation once again expressed its concerns regarding environmental protection, public safety and health linked to the operation of the Cattenom nuclear power plant near its borders. It also expressed its concerns about the possible extension of the life of the Cattenom power plant beyond 40 years and clarified its position with regard to the scope of the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive.
In response, the French delegation recalled that the security checks relating to the Cattenom installation were carried out in full independence and transparently by the ASN, before renewing its commitment to maintaining this high level of cooperation on the safety of the French nuclear fleet. The French delegation pointed out that the ASN's annual evaluation also shows that the performance of the Cattenom power plant in terms of nuclear safety, radiation protection and environmental protection is satisfactory.
The two delegations exchanged views on recent developments on both sides of the common border in the fields of nuclear safety and radiation protection, the 2019 assessment in terms of safety, radiation protection and environmental protection as well as prospects for the year 2020. They also discussed the impact of the guidelines of the Multiannual Energy Programme in France on operations French nuclear power plants, which provides for the objective of reducing the share of nuclear energy in French electricity to 50% by 2035, in accordance with announcements by the French government. The French side also indicated that the Cattenom site has not been identified in the Multiannual Energy Programme as being likely to close, for reasons of energy policy, by 2035.
Luxembourg reaffirmed its wish to be associated with public consultations, including those relating to periodic reviews of French reactors located at its border. This request was supported by the French delegation.
The two delegations also took stock of crisis management structures and means of communication in emergency situations, as well as the development of post-accident management. Representatives of the Moselle prefecture notably reported on the latest developments in the Cattenom emergency response plan. The two parties agreed to continue their close collaboration during the crisis exercises organised on the nuclear power plants located near Luxembourg in order to test cross-border coordination.
Finally, the French delegation announced the latest measures taken to control the use of nuclear energy in the medical field, in particular with regard to radiotherapy, with Luxembourg drawing up an interim review of its radon programme. The two countries confirmed their desire to further strengthen their exchanges in this area, by implementing initial collaborative inspections.
The Joint Franco-Luxembourg Commission for Nuclear Safety will next meet in Luxembourg in 2021 for the 19th edition of these meetings.