The European Commission on Thursday (13 June) published a draft nuclear safety law that includes mandatory EU-wide reviews every six years in response to lessons learnt from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
In the aftermath of the Japanese nuclear tragedy at Fukushima in March 2011, the European Union carried out stress tests to examine the resilience of nuclear power stations and the new proposals build on conclusions drawn from the tests.
The Commission's proposals call on member states to carry out reviews on pre-agreed topics every six years and can send inspectors to specific countries if it feels reviews are delayed or not implemented properly.
"There are 132 nuclear reactors in operation in Europe today. Our task at the Commission is to make sure that safety is given the utmost priority in every single one of them," Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said in a statement.
Following the stress tests, the Commission found that safety improvements costing anywhere between €10 billion and €25 billion were necessary in European nuclear plants.
The draft law proposed calls for the strengthening safety enclosures to prevent radioactive leaks.
National regulators also have to draft a strategy on how to communicate with the public in case of an accident and citizens must be given the opportunity to take part in the decision-making process to grant licences to new nuclear plants.
Nuclear energy is a contentious topic in Europe, with some member states such as Germany and Austria against its future use, while France and Britain plan to build new reactors.
More than 40% of Europe's operating nuclear power reactors are located in France, while four more are under construction in Finland, France and Slovakia and another eight are planned.