Assessment and participation requirements for the lifetime extension of nuclear power plants. - Analysis and Practical Guide. - Vienna/Lviv, 2022.
Due to the wide scope of potential impact of projects in the nuclear sector, international legislation is essential in this area. The Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention) and the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) ensure that nuclear projects are subject to environmental assessment, that transparent processes take place and that the public is involved. In practice, however, Parties to these two Conventions do not always meet these obligations. Thus, numerous cases have come before the Compliance and Implementation Committees of the Aarhus and Espoo Conventions, respectively. Therefore, especially in the nuclear sector, there are many proceedings before the two UNECE committees as well as discussions on international level.
A particular issue involves lifetime extensions (LTEs), which are becoming more frequent have occurred in several cases without an EIA and associated public participation. Since the new construction of nuclear power plants is often no longer economically feasible, operators are trying to keep old reactors online as long as possible by means of LTEs, which can lead to enormous safety risks. Specific legal and practical questions concerning LTEs have led the Meeting of the Parties to the Espoo Convention to adopt a guidance document addressing this particular issue.
In addition to providing an overview as to relevant legal aspects and recent developments, this paper shall serve as practical guide and lead to a clear overview of interrelations and better information of the public and interested representatives of Parties to the Espoo and Aarhus Conventions.