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C 310/18 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.


Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission

(31 March 1998)

It is generally agreed that spent nuclear fuel should be regarded as radioactive waste if no further use is foreseen
for it. Usually, when it is sent for reprocessing it is with the objective of recovering the uranium and plutonium
for further use (recycling) and minimizing the volume of what must be treated as high-level waste. If a decision is
taken before sending the spent fuel to reprocessing that none of the products will be used, then regarding the fuel
as waste and its reprocessing as a step in the waste management process would be in line with the new joint
convention on the safety of spent fuel management and the safety of radioactive waste management.

The inventory of separated plutonium in the United Kingdom is growing, though it should be noted that not all
this plutonium belongs to the United Kingdom but to the companies having their fuel reprocessed there.
Furthermore, not all of the spent fuel from reactors in the United Kingdom is scheduled for reprocessing.
Plutonium at Sellafield, irrespective of ownership, is stored safely and securely. In addition, a new mixed oxide
(Mox) fuel fabrication facility has been built which will use the plutonium from the reprocessing operations and
return it to customers in the form of new fuel.

In some Member States the policy is to treat all spent nuclear fuel as waste and to dispose of it directly without
reprocessing. However, in other Member States the policy is to reprocess the spent fuel with a view to recycling
the recovered plutonium and uranium. Continuing use of reprocessing facilities, such as those at Sellafield
(United Kingdom) and La Hague (France), will be needed by those choosing to follow the latter management

The reprocessing option results in an initial increase in inventories of separated plutonium until the demand for
Mox fuel grows to the level that more plutonium is being used in its fabrication than results from the reprocessing
operations or until a decision is taken to dispose of plutonium stocks. Concerning the latter, the route for
plutonium disposal presently favoured by many of those holding stocks which have resulted from weapons
programmes, is to fabricate it into Mox fuel for burning in reactors followed by eventual disposal of the resulting
spent fuel, through the possibility of further recycling has not been excluded.

The Commission would like to recall that it has taken the necessary measures, in the framework of its obligations
under Chapter VII of the Euratom Treaty, to ensure that plutonium as well as Mox fuel, produced by and stored at
the Sellafield plants, are not diverted to unintended use. Concerning Community grants and loans, their
attribution is subject to the specific rules associated with each of them and to their ability to contribute to the
achievement of Community objectives, including those established in the Euratom Treaty.

(98/C 310/20) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0033/98

by Jesús Cabezón Alonso (PSE) and Pedro Aparicio Sánchez (PSE) to the Commission

(29 January 1998)

Subject: Biological pauses in Moroccan fishing-grounds

The greater part of the trawler fleet based in the fishing ports of Andalusia will come to a halt over the next few
months, as a result of the biological pause imposed by the Moroccan government in its fishing-grounds.

What is the EU doing to relieve the social and economic consequences of this pause imposed by Morocco?

What mechanisms does the Commission possess to ensure that the biological pause applying to Moroccan
fishing-grounds is strictly observed not only by EU Member States’ fleets but also by the fleets of Morocco and
other third countries?
9. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/19

Answer given by Mrs Bonino on behalf of the Commission

(7 April 1998)

The period of biological rest for Community shrimp trawlers (January and February) is provided for in the
fisheries agreement between the Community and Morocco which is currently in effect. It was already included in
previous agreements.

The agreement only covers the conditions valid for the Community fleet (including the periods of biological rest)
and so contains no obligations on the Moroccan fleet or the fleets of third countries.

Since the biological rest period is expressly provided for in the agreement, it is not possible to introduce a
financial aid scheme under the Community’s structural policy; the socio-economic consequences have to be
allowed for in the commercial planning of the businesses concerned.

In accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No 3699/93 of 21 December 1993 laying down the criteria and
arrangements regarding Community structural assistance in the fisheries and aquaculture sector and the
processing and marketing of its products (1), financial aid from the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance
(FIFG) can only be granted to schemes intended to compensate partially for income losses due to temporary
suspensions of fishing that are caused by unforeseen and non-repeating events, in particular those of biological

(1) OJ L 346, 31.12.1993.

(98/C 310/21) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0050/98

by Raimo Ilaskivi (PPE) to the Commission
(29 January 1998)

Subject: Further follow-up question on passenger seating space on aircraft; questioner left to whistle for a
straight answer

Mr Kinnock, Member of the Commission, has replied to my two questions, E-1118/97 (1) and E-3131/97 (2), on
the above subject.

With reference, inter alia, to American research, I had asked what the Commission intended to do to eliminate
health risks arising from cramped conditions. The existence of these conditions on charter flights, in particular, is
common knowledge, but they also prevail on the scheduled flights of certain airlines. In his reply, Mr Kinnock
refers only to the comfort and safety of passengers. Evidently he has not studied the relevant research
concerning, inter alia, the risk of embolism and the like which exists for tall and fat passengers in cramped

I asked what kind of information had emerged from the contacts with airlines promised in Mr Kinnock’s first
reply. Mr Kinnock’s second reply revealed that no such contacts had been established, but that it was up to air
users to select their airlines for themselves.

The underlying message is clear: ‘if you want a straight answer, you can whistle for it’. The replies given do not
answer the questions tabled, and this is indicative of the Commission’s unanimous attitude to parliamentarian-
ism. It is downright tragicomic that, whereas the Commission has displayed great concern about the humaneness
of animal transport, it is quite uninterested in the transport of human beings, to judge by its replies. Animal
transport is governed by Directives 91/628/EEC (3) and 95/29/EEC (4). I would therefore ask the President of the
Commission how he intends to ensure that the replies given on behalf of the Commission are actually answers to
the relevant questions, and I would ask Commissioner Kinnock whether he might be willing to look into the
questions a little more thoroughly − and into the replies to them written on his behalf − and to make them more

(1) OJ C 367, 4.12.1997, p. 80.

(2) OJ C 174, 8.6.1998, p. 20.
(3) OJ L 340, 11.12.1991, p. 17.
(4) OJ L 148, 30.6.1995, p. 52.