While EU enlargement means increased nuclear-generating capacity, it also means the shut-down of some reactors as negotiated in the terms of EU accession. Lithuania must close its two units by 2005 and 2009 respectively, while Slovakia must close down two of its six units - in 2006 and 2009 - although it has another two under construction. Bulgaria, which is lined up to join the EU in 2007, faces similar shut-downs as part of its accession deal.
Regarding nuclear safeguards - which are geared to verifying State pledges for the exclusively peaceful use of nuclear energy - the five new EU countries with nuclear power plants are members of the global Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and have safeguards agreements with the IAEA. They also have signed or ratified Additional Protocols that grant IAEA safeguards inspectors broader rights of access to sites and information.
The new EU countries have expanded the EU's membership from 15 to 25. The new members are Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Malta, and Cyprus. Romania and Bulgaria are also expecting to join in 2007.
The EU was founded as the European Economic Community (EEC) by the Treaty of Rome in 1957 to promote economic and political integration in Europe. The EEC has expanded from its original six members (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands) to include the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Denmark in 1973; Greece in 1981; Spain and Portugal in 1986; and Austria, Finland, and Sweden (former members of the European Free Trade Association) in 1995.
For more information, please visit: www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/News/2004/energy_eu.html