On 22 August 2011, Directive 2011/70/Euratom (RWD) came into force. The RWD, which only applies to member states that use nuclear fuel, establishes a community framework for the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste from nonmilitary activities. Member states are required to convert its provisions into national law by 23 August 2013.

The RWD includes the following requirements: 

  • Member states must prepare national programmes for managing spent fuel and radioactive waste (Article 5).
  • When radioactive waste or spent fuel is shipped within or outside the EU, the responsibility for its disposal rests with the country from which the material was shipped (Article 4(2)).
  • All member states should create and maintain a competent regulatory authority responsible for the safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management. These authorities are required to be independent of other organisations in the nuclear industry (Article 6).
  • Licence holders have non-delegable responsibility for the safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management facilities and activities (Article 7). They should establish a safety plan covering the development, operation and decommission of activities and facilities.