European Commission hosted a conference on Addressing Societal Challenges Through Advancing the Medical, Industrial and Research Applications of Nuclear and Radiation Technology. The conference sought to identify cross-cutting actions that the European Commission, EU countries and other stakeholders can take to maximise the societal benefits of nuclear and radiation technologies, whilst providing high standards of quality and safety to European citizens.
The conference was opened by Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and Health and Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, alongside other senior speakers including Mr Yukiya Amano, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Director General, and Dr Maria Neira from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Commissioner Arias Cañete said: “Europe is a world leader in developing and exploiting radiation technologies to the advantage of citizens and society. The non-power application of these technologies is a success story Europe can be proud of. The ambition of the European Commission is to build on this leadership position with the goal of improving the quality of life of European citizens, generate employment and economic growth and maintain high standard of radiation protection and safety”.
Commissioner Andriukaitis added:“Nuclear and radiation technology offers immense opportunities in the field of modern medicine, with early diagnosis of diseases and cancer treatment for children being just two examples. Our task is to maximise this potential while at the same time managing the challenges posed by new technologies. Close coordination, information sharing and mutual learning are key elements of this task”.
A range of EU policies play a significant role in the present and future of nuclear and radiation technology, including: the Euratom Basic Safety Standards Directive; the Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste Directive; the Nuclear Safety Directive; and, more broadly, the EU legislation and initiatives on medical devices, pharmaceuticals and human health. Research and innovation in this area is also supported through the Euratom and the Horizon 2020 research programmes.
The conference facilitated an in-depth discussion with a broad range of experts. The outputs will contribute significantly to the Commission’s work in this area, and will lead to actions that will enhance the implementation of the Euratom framework, and support integrated activity across several Commission policy areas.