Written Answers. - Nuclear Co-operation Agreement.

Dermot Ahern

Ceist:

655 Mr. D. Ahern asked the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications if he intends to support or oppose the opening of bilateral negotiations on a nuclear co-operation agreement between the EU and Japan entitled Peaceful Nuclear Co-Operation Agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16260/96]

No proposal has so far been forwarded by the European Commission to the EU Council seeking a mandate to negotiate a nuclear co-operation agreement between Euratom and Japan. In the absence of such a proposal from the Commission, I am not in a position to comment further on its possible content at this stage.

I should add, however, that as regards a co-operation agreement between Euratom and third countries, Ireland's general position is to give priority to improvements in nuclear safety and liability, radiation protection and the strengthening of the effectiveness and the efficiency of arrangements to prevent proliferation in the use of nuclear weapons, i.e. the safeguards system. The eventual mandate given to the Commission in respect of negotiations of this nature would normally strike an appropriate balance between the divergent views of EU member states in the nuclear industry.