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Euratom at the Crossroads

Anna Södersten

This book addresses the contentious debate surrounding the future of the European Atomic Energy Community Treaty (Euratom), one of the European Union’s founding treaties. Arguing that it has remained at a ‘crossroads’ since its adoption in 1957, Anna Södersten explores the issue of whether the treaty should be kept separate from the EU, or be brought within its framework.
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Chapter 8: Nuclear safety

Anna Södersten


Chapter 8 discusses nuclear safety, which is the Euratom’s most significant activity area today. The chapter is less concerned with gaps and overlaps than with the Euratom’s added value. It argues that the Euratom Treaty has found a new raison d’être – although no changes have been made to the text of the Treaty. This evolution started, somewhat paradoxically, with the Chernobyl accident in 1986. Following the accident, several instruments were adopted that take the Euratom Treaty as a legal basis. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the 2004 Eastern enlargement of the EU were other important junctures. But it was eventually the Court of Justice of the European Union that opened up for legislation on nuclear safety. Prior to the Nuclear Safety case, it was generally believed that no legal basis existed. The Euratom has now gained new momentum, as nuclear safety became one of the Euratom’s most important activity areas.

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