PositionBrief Article

The European Commission set up an expert group charged with bringing forward proposals on the Euratom Safeguards Office's remit and resources, in the light of an analysis of its working methods and inspection procedures. The Group assessed the Safeguards Office between June 2001 and February 2002 and subsequently tabled its report, proposing a new mission statement (guidelines) for the Office, as well as a dozen short- and medium-term recommendations. But putting these recommendations into practice will require a number of changes to DG TREN's internal organisation.Mission statement.The expert group has redefined, or rather clarified, the Safeguards Office's objectives. It should first and foremost ensure that all those involved with nuclear materials hold correct accounts and apply effective monitoring systems. The Office should ensure that nuclear materials are not diverted from their original purpose, and co-operate openly with its partners in the context of bilateral agreements, notably with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It should act as a central contact point with the IAEA for the implementation of the supplementary Protocol on non-nuclear materials by the EU and the IAEA.Recommendations.The expert group makes twelve recommendations to DG TREN. The mission statement must be rapidly published and the Safeguards Office integrated into the Commission's services. Its activities should become more open and above board. The review of the Safeguards Office's objectives should be based on Community rules and not on other verification regimes. The Community's regulatory basis should, as a result, be revised. The Safeguards Office should undertake profound reform of its operating methods, notably by redefining generic...

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