Proposal for a directive on radioactive substances in water intended for human consumption

The European Commission’s DG Energy initiated the drafting of a proposal for a directive laying down the requirements for the control of radioactive substances in water intended for human consumption. This proposal, based legally on the EURATOM Treaty (Articles 31 and 32), aims to integrate these requirements into specific legislation, in order to maintain uniformity, coherence and completeness of legislation on the protection against radiation at the EU level. In fact, these provisions supersede those related to the control of radioactive substances in water intended for human consumption of Directive 98/83/EC. It should be noted that currently Directive 98/83/EC does not require frequent monitoring on parameters for radioactivity.

This proposal is discussed in the European Council’s “Atomic Questions Group” (AQG) which meets regularly in Brussels. The European Parliament adopted a resolution in March 2013 on the proposal for a Council Directive laying down requirements for the protection of the health of the general public with regard to radioactive substances in water intended for human consumption. This resolution includes several amendments relating to the disposal process of radioactive isotopes from water and water used in the food industry.

The final version of the Directive proposal, was agreed by consensus during a AQG meeting on 29 May 2013.

The main themes of the proposed Directive are the following:

  1. Scope
    Initially limited to water within distribution networks, the scope has now been enlarged to encompass those covered by Directive 98/83/CE, and includes water provided by a truck or tanker, packaged water (excluding natural mineral waters), the latter being covered by other Directives that do not provide for the monitoring of radioactivity in these waters) and water used in the agro-food business.
  2. Parameters and parameter values
    Tritium: 100 Bq/L - If the tritium concentration exceeds its parametric value, an analysis of the presence of other artificial radionuclides shall be required.
    Radon: 100 Bq / L, maximum 1000 Bq / L - The level set by a Member State may be higher than 100 Bq/l but lower than 1000 Bq/l. In order to simplify national legislation, Member States may choose to adjust the parametric value to this level.
  3. Monitoring frequencies
    Frequencies shall be fixed based on Directive 98/83/CE: Water provided by a distribution network, from trucks and tankers, water used by agro-food business.
    Frequency fixed by Member State: packaged water (except natural mineral waters)