The European Commission has a long experience in assisting and cooperating with countries outside of the European Union in the field of nuclear safety. In particular, technical assistance was provided to the several countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States in the frame of the TACIS nuclear safety programme, in the period 1991 – 2006.
Following the end of the TACIS programme, technical assistance to countries outside the EU continued to be provided through the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC); its priorities focus on the support to the promotion of high level of nuclear safety, radiation protection and the application of efficient and effective safeguards of nuclear material.
While the CIS countries (except Russia) continued as major beneficiaries of the INSC programme, given that the INSC has no geographical limitations concerning partner countries, the Commission started preliminary contacts with new potential beneficiaries following the adoption of the instrument in 2007.
For countries embarking or planning to embark on a nuclear power programme, assistance under the INSC is intended to be provided primarily in the establishment of independent regulatory authorities and of a suitable regulatory framework. Projects assisting with the establishment of a safe radioactive waste management framework are also covered by the instrument.
Some of the countries in Southeast Asia with whom preliminary contacts had already been made were already on their way to establish nuclear power development programmes, at different levels of advancement.
A workshop on nuclear energy safety and security had been organised in Bangkok in June 2008, following contacts undertaken through the EU Delegations in the area of Southeast Asia, to identify the areas of potential cooperation and discuss the mechanisms of assistance envisaged in the INSC with the potential beneficiaries.
As a result of preliminary meetings held during the workshop, preliminary proposals had been made by some of the potential beneficiaries for projects to be the subject of cooperation in the frame of the INSC.
Countries that participated in the above discussion included Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Cambodia. The following information on the advancement of programmes for the establishment of nuclear installations in several countries in Southeast Asia was given to the Commission during the workshop:
- Indonesia plans to start building nuclear installations in 2011 and complete the commissioning of three 1000 MW units by 2024.
- Malaysia is also considering the nuclear power option, although no detailed plans were discussed.
- The Philippines is also revisiting the nuclear power option including completion of the moth-balled Batan NPP.
- Vietnam has already taken the decision to invest in nuclear power. Two plants are envisaged and the relevant sites have already been selected. The installation of an overall capacity of 4000 MW is envisaged (commissioning by 2020).
- Thailand also is addressing a nuclear power development programme with the objective of commissioning a capacity of 2000 MW by 2020 and another 2000 MW by 2021.
The objective of the present contract was to perform more detailed investigations and assessments focused on the arrangements and needs related with nuclear safety in the countries of Southeast Asia. Therefore, it included an assessment of the state of affairs (including legislation, regulatory issues, national strategy and responsibilities) and an assessment of the actual needs that would justify future international assistance. Attention was to be given to the need to coordinate assistance with other international donors.
The scope of the contract comprised five tasks:
- Task 1 – Preparation of the work-plan of the contract;
- Task 2 – Assessment of the institutional arrangements in the selected countries;
- Task 3 – Identification of needs in the area of nuclear safety;
- Task 4 – Preparation of project descriptions for inclusion in future INSC Annual Action Programmes (AAP);
- Task 5 – Final report.
The achievement of the contract objectives clearly required a close cooperation and frequent contacts with potential beneficiaries and end-users. The Contractor was therefore authorised to make the necessary arrangements to ensure that sufficient consultation was carried out. In particular, it was deemed necessary that an exploratory mission be undertaken to each identified beneficiary country, in order to perform the preliminary analyses and eventually to finalise the details of the proposed projects.
The objective was to have project proposals ready for programming in the INSC AAP of 2009.
The contract was signed on 1 December 2008 and had a duration of 6 months. The work was implemented in accordance with the requirements of the contract.
The contractor established a team comprising three experts. Meetings were held between the expert team and representatives of governmental and other organizations in:
- Indonesia (11 – 13 February, 2009)
- Vietnam (16 – 18 February, 2009)
- the Philippines (25 – 27 March, 2009)
- Thailand (30 – 31 March, 2009)
- Singapore (2 - 3 April, 2009)
- Malaysia (6 – 8 April, 2009)
The organisations met had a role or responsibility for one or other facet of the development of nuclear energy in the respective countries, in particular nuclear safety and/or its regulation. Representatives of the European Commission also participated in each of the meetings.
Based on discussions in these meetings and documentation provided (as well as information from other sources), the expert team documented their findings in the following three project deliverables:
- Deliverable 2A: Assessment of institutional arrangements in Indonesia and Vietnam (April 2009)
- Deliverable 2B: Assessment of institutional arrangements in the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia (April 2009)
- Deliverable 3: Needs and potential areas of cooperation between the European Commission and Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia in the area of nuclear safety (May 2009)
The project final report, including descriptions of seven possible projects for possible inclusion in INSC Annual Action Programmes, was delivered in May 2009.