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EU Council extends Euratom program for nuclear research for 2012 and 2013

The European Council has extended the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) framework programme for nuclear research and training activities (17503/11+ COR) for a two-year period.

Due to expire at the end of 2011, the Euratom program is extended in order to align it with the end of the EU’s current financial cycle, set for end of 2013. Euratom programs are limited by the Euratom treaty to five years, whereas the general 7th framework program for research, which runs until end 2013, lasts for seven years.

The framework program comprises two types of activities:

1. Indirect actions

Indirect actions in fusion energy research and research on nuclear fission, safety and radiation protection (17504/11).

The fusion energy research activities include, as a central objective, to achieve the construction of ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), a major experimental facility to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power.

Rules for the participation of undertakings, research centres and universities and for the dissemination of research results apply to this specific program (17506/11).

2. Direct actions

Direct actions for activities of the Joint Research Centre in the field of nuclear waste management, environmental impact, safety and security (17505/11).

The nuclear fission research activities are in line with the objective of enhancing the safety of nuclear fission and other uses of radiation in industry and medicine.

The activities of the JRC cover customer-driven scientific and technological support for the formulation, development, implementation and monitoring of the Union’s policies, with an enhanced focus on safety and security research. The JRC works as an independent reference center of science and technology in the Union.

A maximum amount of EUR 2.5 billion, including additional financing of the ITER project (18322/1/11), is allocated for the implementation of the Euratom programme for the years 2012 and 2013.

Its extension will continue to contribute to the implementation of the “Innovation Union” strategy (17165/10), by enhancing competition for scientific excellence and accelerating the deployment of key innovations in the nuclear energy field, notably in fusion and nuclear safety, and will contribute to tackling energy and climate change challenges.

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