The controversial issue of nuclear energy and how far it should be promoted in the EU is set to raise its head again this month when the European Commission decides whether to fund a nuclear reactor in Romania.
Green organization "Friends of the Earth" has sent a letter to all European Commissioners demanding that the decision, set to be taken on 24 March, be postponed. "Euratom [the EU’s nuclear treaty] loans are currently arranged in secret. There is as yet no requirement on the Commission to publicly register loan applications as they are received, nor to hold any kind of public consultation on applications that are in progress", says the letter. The organization wants to take the matter to the European Ombudsman as it accuses the Commission of withholding key assessment reports and not saying what the money should be used for. The "decision must be postponed while information about it has been released and can be assessed. As EU citizens, we demand our rights under the treaties to openness and transparency, and to participate in decisions", said Friends of the Earth campaigner Mark Johnston. If the Commission does agree to fund the nuclear plant in Romania -- which is likely to become a member of the EU in 2007 -- it is set to re-open a general discussion about nuclear safety in the EU as enlargement creeps closer.