Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Potocnik defends case for increased EURATOM research funding
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He acknowledged that nuclear energy provokes significant public and political controversy, particularly with regard to the smooth operation of nuclear plants and the management of radioactive waste, but stressed that these are exactly the issues that are addressed in the Community's EURATOM programme, alongside other priorities such as research into fusion energy. Under the Sixth EURATOM Framework Programme, 'some 200 million euro over five years are being spent on 'shared-cost' actions in the field of fission and radiation protection,' revealed Mr Potocnik. This shared-cost model ensures that up to half a billion euro is being spent on cutting edge research in crucial areas , such as management of radioactive waste, radiation protection and education and training, he added. 'But all these challenges I've mentioned before need proper funding, and I believe that this requirement is properly reflected in the Commission's current proposal for the Seventh EURATOM Framework Programme,' argued Mr Potocnik. 'And yet, signs are that the future EU research budget could remain close to that in the last compromise proposal in June, i.e. similar to what we have now. [...] It is hard to believe that Member States would compensate a decrease in the proposed European research budget by increasing research effort at national level. And even if they did so, this would not lead to a more coordinated, unified approach and the desired creation of a European Research Area.'
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