The European Commission proposals for a new framework research programme, planned for 2002-2006, will go ahead pending agreement by EU ministers.

Brussels research commissioner Philippe Busquin has announced that he wants the grants to be divided as follows:

•Treatment and stocking of waste – EURO 150 million.

•Thermonuclear fusion – EURO 700 million.

•Other Euratom actions, including radio-protection, safety and training – EURO 50 million.

•Euratom nuclear studies carried out by the EU’s Joint Research Centre, covering subjects such as nuclear safety and security; measurements, reference materials, and the transformation of waste – EURO 330 million.

Busquin said: “Europe has set out to become the most successful and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world. Research and innovation are the keys to success in achieving this goal.” Meanwhile, the Commission’s DG Environment has given prior notification of a call for tenders for various nuclear studies to be undertaken this year. These include:

•Radiation protection (consolidation of radioecological data, review and consolidation of radionuclide distribution and land and water nuclear transport), April 2001, EURO 120,000.

•Assessment of effluent control from EU industries, June 2001, EURO 95,000.

•The creation of a directory of education facilities and courses on radiation protection, September 2001, EURO 50,000.

•Assessment of occupational radiation exposures, June 2001, EURO 250,000.