In line with the Euratom Treaty and its own Statutes, the mission of the Supply Agency of the European Atomic Energy Community (‘ESA’) is to maintain regular and equitable supply of nuclear materials (ores, source material and special fissile material) for all users in the Community.
ESA’s strategic objective is the security of supply of nuclear materials, particularly nuclear fuel, for power and non-power uses, by means of the common supply policy.
In line with ESA’s strategic objective, the following specific medium-term objectives have been defined:
Specific policy objectives
- ensure continuous supply of nuclear materials for users in the Community in the short and medium term;
- facilitate the future supply and encourage the diversification and emergence of reliable alternative sources of nuclear fuel supply, services and design;
- facilitate the continued and equitable supply of medical radioisotopes;
- provide the Community with expertise, information and advice on the nuclear materials and services market;
Specific supporting objectives
- pursue contacts with EU and international authorities, international organisations, utilities, industry and nuclear organisations to further the objectives of ESA;
- further improve the effectiveness and efficiency of ESA’s organisation and operations.
This work programme sets out the main activities to be pursued in 2022.
The strategic priority, general and specific objectives, and activities have been linked to ensure that all actions contribute to the achievement of these objectives and to the achievement of the high-level priorities. It takes due account of the priorities, policies and objectives set out by the Commission.
ESA’s main task is to ensure regular and equal access to supplies of nuclear materials for all users in the Community. To this end, it uses its right of option on nuclear materials produced in the Community Member States and its exclusive right to conclude contracts for supply of nuclear materials, coming from inside or outside the Community and it keeps track of transactions related to services in the nuclear fuel cycle.
To facilitate the operations of the common market for the nuclear materials and fuels, ESA will:
- assess and conclude, as appropriate, nuclear material supply contracts, pursuant to Article 52 of the Euratom Treaty, in line with the common supply policy, taking due account of the European Energy Security Strategy;
- review and acknowledge notifications of transactions involving small quantities, pursuant to Article 74 of the Euratom Treaty;
- review and acknowledge notifications of transactions relating to the provision of services in the nuclear fuel cycle, pursuant to Article 75 of the Euratom Treaty, in line with the common supply policy, taking due account of the European Energy Security Strategy;
- implement the Rules that determine the manner in which demand is to be balanced against the supply of ores, source materials and special fissile materials;
- provide information and support to stakeholders on contract issues related to the nuclear common supply policy and/or the Agency’s Rules;
- support the European Commission’s nuclear materials accountancy, on request, in verifying contract data contained in prior notifications of movements of nuclear materials;
- contribute, on request, for matters within its purview, to the assessment of international agreements communicated to the Commission under Article 103 of the Treaty.
ESA takes responsibility for the common supply policy with the strategic objective of security of supply in order to prevent excessive dependence of Community users on any single external supplier, supplier, service provider or design through appropriate diversification, in line with relevant decisions at political level.
To facilitate future supply, ESA will:
- help strengthen clarity to market actors on the common supply policy pursued by ESA;
- advocate and encourage emergence of alternative sources of nuclear fuel supply, services and design where such sources are presently not available, in particular for VVER reactors.
In order to enhance the security of supply of Molibdenum-99/Technetium-99m and possibly other radioisotopes that are indispensable for nuclear medicine procedures, the Supply Agency has been entrusted with the monitoring role for the supply chain of medical radioisotopes in the EU. ESA, jointly with the industry association Nuclear Medicine Europe (NMEu), chairs the European Observatory on the Supply of Medical Radioisotopes.
ESA will contribute to implementation of the Action Plan of the European Commission’s SAMIRA initiative (Strategic Agenda for Medical Ionising Radiation Applications of nuclear and radiation technology).
- lead and coordinate the activities of the European Observatory on the Supply of Medical Radioisotopes;
- continuously monitor the needs for HEU and HALEU for the production of medical radioisotopes and for fuelling research reactors;
- undertake measures that facilitate future supply of high-enriched uranium (HEU);
- explore, assess and propose ways to ensure supply of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) for production of medical radioisotopes and as fuel for research reactors;
- explore ways of monitoring and forecasting the supply of a wide range of radioisotopes, as foreseen in the SAMIRA action plan;
- encourage (particularly in the context of the Euratom Research and Training programme) projects to secure fuel supply for research reactors and the production of medical radioisotopes.
Entrusted with the role of the Nuclear Fuel Market Observatory, ESA will continue to monitor the nuclear fuel and services market and relevant research and innovation activities to identify trends likely to affect the EU's security of supply. It will continue to produce analyses and reports.
The Supply Agency’s ambition is to retain its position as a reliable and well-respected source of high-quality and neutral analyses of the Euratom nuclear fuel cycle market.
To deliver on its market monitoring responsibilities, ESA will:
- monitor and analyse market conditions and technological developments which are likely to have an impact on the nuclear fuel market;
- conduct the annual survey and deliver the market analysis as part of its Annual Report;
- support the activities of the Advisory Committee’s working groups;
- publish and disseminate information, including through yearly natural uranium price indices, reports, studies, newsletters, timely updates on ESA’s website and through the Advisory Committee or other meetings.
To efficiently carry out its tasks and contribute to security of supply, ESA will actively pursue its relations with EU and Euratom institutions and agencies, Member State authorities, operators, the research community and industry, and international players.
In particular, ESA will:
- cooperate with the European Commission on common supply policy matters;
- liaise with the operators and other concerned parties to encourage and facilitate diversification;
- in cooperation with the Euratom Member States concerned, coordinate the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding with the US Department of Energy - National Nuclear Security Administration, in order to facilitate supply of HEU, until full conversion of the reactors and processes using it, and to advance towards the minimisation of HEU;
- engage with interested parties in and outside EU, both suppliers and users, to:
a. facilitate the continued supply of medical radioisotopes, and
b. meet the need of HALEU;
- maintain regular contact with:
- a. international nuclear organisations such as the IAEA and the OECD NEA;
b. other international players on the nuclear fuel market, including through membership of the World Nuclear Association, the European Nuclear Society and the World Nuclear Fuel Market;
c. medical radioisotopes supply chain stakeholders (industry, research and user organisations);
- contribute to monitoring the implementation of the Euratom cooperation agreements with non-EU countries as regards trade in nuclear materials.
ESA keeps its procedures under review to further improve the management of the contracts it receives and the operations of its Nuclear Market Observatory. Given ESA's limited resources, it is of paramount importance to ensure that ESA remains effective and efficient.
To this end, ESA will focus its attention on:
- ensuring compliance and effective internal control;
- ensuring sound financial management;
- ensuring competent, engaged and effectively utilised workforce;
- keeping its work practices under review and updating them where appropriate;
- progressive implementation of ESA’s document management and security policy;
- progressive implementation of the IT system supporting the work of ESA (NOEMI - Nuclear Observatory and ESA Management of Information).