Why is this consultation being undertaken?
In accordance with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (the Espoo Convention) and Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the Aarhus Convention), the Minister for Housing,Local Government and Heritage received notificati on from the Belgian Minister for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development, of the intended extension of the operational life of the Doel 1 & 2 nuclear power plants (NPPs) and the associated nuclear safety-related improvement works, inviting Ireland to participate in transboundary public consultation.
Doel 1 & 2 are two of Belgium’s seven nuclear power plants, and both have been in operation since 1975. In 2003, the Belgian Government passed a law stipulating that all nuclear power plants would be decommissioned 40 years after their industrial commissioning, meaning that Doel 1 & 2 were scheduled to cease operations in 2015. A subsequent law was passed in 2015 that extended the operational life of Doel 1 & 2 by 10 years, from 2015 to 2025.
A ruling in the Court of Justice of the European Union determined that the decision by Belgian authorities to extend the operational life of
the NPPs constituted a ‘project’ within the meaning of the EIA Directive (Directive 2011/92/EU), thus requiring that anenvironmental impact assessment take place, along with the associated transboundary consultation.
For practical reasons, Belgian authorities decided to prepare two separate Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs), but have advised that they will need to be evaluated in conjunction. One report relates solely to the decision to extend the operational life of Doel 1 & 2. The second report concerns the nuclear safety-related improvement works which includes the construction of three new buildings on the site:
• Two buildings for hosting the Containment Filtered Venting System of the nuclear plant;
• One building housing the new fire extinguisher pump station.
The Environmental Protecti on Agency (EPA), as the appropriate body in Ireland with expertise on radiation policy, advised that Ireland should accept the invitation from Belgium to participate in the transboundary consultation because although Ireland is outside the 300km range set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its Ingestion and Commodities Planning Distance (ICPD) modelling, Ireland is within the 1,000km range set as Zone 1 for emergency response purposesby the IAEA. Zone 1 States are considered more likely to be aff ected and so direct liaison is established with these States by the IAEA in the event of an emergency. A member of the public may make a writt en submission or observati on in relati on to the potenti al transboundary environmental effects of the project, by sending them to their local planning authority, to be received by close of business on Wednesday 23 June 2021 at the latest. Submissions or observations should not be made to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
How to Participate
A printed copy of these documents, including extracts from the applicant’s Environmental Statement, will be available for public inspection during office hours in each local authority office from Wednesday 28 April 2021. However, due to the effects of Covid19 inspection of these documents may be by appointment only. It is advised that contact is made with your local authority prior to travelling to view the documentation, in order to clarify if you need to make an appointment. A copy may be purchased from the authority at a fee not exceeding the reasonable cost of copying.
Making Submissions or Observations
Before lodging a submission, please see our privacy statement below. You will be required as part of your submission to accept the conditions outlined.
- The legal basis for processing the personal data under Article 6(1)(c) and 6(1)(e) of the GDPR Regulation and 132(4) and 132(5) of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, as amended.
- Article 132(4) of the 2001 Regulations requires the local authorities to consult with the Minister, following the receipt of any submission or observations - this involves sending on a copy of the submissions/observations received, including any submission the authority wishes to make and a summary of those submissions/obs, as requested by the Belgian Planning Inspectorate
- Article 132(5) of the 2001 Regulations requires each planning authority, following consultation with the Minister, to consult with Belgium – sending on a copy of the submissions/observations received, including any submission the authority wishes to make and a summary of those submissions/obs, as requested by the Belgian Planning Inspectorate.
- Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council will be sharing the submissions/obs and a summary of same with the Minister the submissions will also be sent on to the Belgian Planning Inspectorate. The Belgian Planning Inspectorate may publish your submission or a summary of same on its website.
Processing of special categories of personal data
Respondents are advised that Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2014 and Data Protection Legislation
Under Article 9(1) of the GDPR regulations, the processing of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, and the processing of genetic data, biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person, data concerning health or data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation is prohibited. Therefore, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council requests those making submissions not to include data of this nature in their submission.