Abstracts ASN Report 2021

Penalty for damage and creation of an offence of ecocide A general offence of pollution of the environment and an offence of ecocide for the more serious cases (new Articles L. 231‑1 to L. 231-3 of the Environment Code) are created. Article L. 231-1 punishes the fact –in clear and deliberate violation of a particular obligation of prudence or safety set out by law or the regulations– of emitting into the air or releasing into the water a substance leading to serious and lasting harmful effects on health, flora, fauna, or serious modifications to the normal water supply system. The scope of this Article excludes emissions into the air complying with the limit values set out in a decision by the competent administrative authority, authorised discharge operations and the use of authorised substances when the binding requirements set by the competent administrative authority are adhered to. It defines lasting effects as those liable to persist for at least 7 years. The offences set out in the new Article L. 231-1 are punishable by a penalty of 5 years of imprisonment and a fine of one million euros, which could be raised to five times the benefit gained from the offence committed. The new Article L. 231-3 of the Environment Code states that intentionally committing an offence as defined in Article L. 231-1 and intentionally committing offences set out in Article L. 231‑2, when they lead to serious and lasting harm to health, flora, fauna, or air, soil or water quality, are considered to be crimes of ecocide. This crime of ecocide is punishable by 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of 4.5 million euros, an amount which can raised to ten times the benefit gained from the violation. Article L. 231-3 specifies that lasting effects are those harmful effects on health, flora, fauna or the quality of soils or surface or groundwater, which are liable to persist for at least 7 years. Pursuant to the new Article L. 231-5, the nuclear safety inspectors, within their sphere of competence, are authorised to investigate and record the offences thus created. The Act creates a new technical investigation system (Articles L. 501-1 to L. 501-19 of the Environment Code) which can apply to any accident occurring in the installations, mines, networks and products and equipment listed in Article L. 501-1, at the initiative of the head of the industrial risks investigation and analysis office or at the request of the Minister in charge of the environment. II of this Article L. 501-1 states that, by way of derogation, ASN’s special policing installations and activities are exclusively subject to the technical inquiries set out in Articles L. 592-35 to L. 592‑40 of the Environment Code. Act 2021-1109 of 24 August 2021 consolidating compliance with the principles of the Republic Article 12 of the Act of 24 August 2021 consolidating compliance with the principles of the Republic inserts an Article 10-1 into Act 2020-321 of 12 April 2000 on the rights of the citizens in their relations with the administrations, stipulating that any association or foundation applying for a public subsidy must sign a contract of commitment to the values of the Republic. The obligations arising from this contract are to respect the principles of liberty, equality, fraternity and the dignity of the human person, as well as the symbols of the Republic as defined in Article 2 of the Constitution, that is the national emblem, the national anthem and the motto of the Republic; not to call into question the secular nature of the Republic and, finally, to abstain from any action prejudicing public order. As a result of work in Parliament, this latter obligation concerns actions liable to lead to serious threats to public peace and security. In the event of any breach of this contract of commitment, the public subsidy shall be revoked, following an adversarial procedure, with a fully substantiated decision by the authority or organisation, and with the association being given a period of six months in which to return the funds paid to it. 1.2 Decrees and Orders Decree 2021-286 of 16 March 2021 designating the regional centres specialising in environmental prejudice pursuant to Articles 706-2-3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and L. 211‑20 of the Judicial Organisation Code and adapting the Code of Criminal Procedure to the creation of specialised environmental assistants The Decree determines the seat and the jurisdiction of the judicial tribunals with competence to investigate the most complex environmental offences, as well as actions regarding ecological prejudice founded on Articles 1246 to 1252 of the Civil Code, civil liability suits stipulated by the Environment Code and civil liability suits founded on the special environmental liability conditions resulting from the European regulations, international Conventions and Acts passed to implement these conventions. The Decree also adapts the provisions regarding the specialised environmental assistants in the regional and interregional centres, pursuant to Articles 706-2 and 706-2-3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, in their drafting derived from Articles 15 and 20 of Act 2020-1672 of 24 December 2020 relative to the European Prosecutor’s Office, environmental justice and specialised criminal justice. Decree 2021-759 of 14 June 2021 creating an interministerial Delegate to assist the regions with their energy transition The Decree creates an interministerial Delegate to assist the regions with their energy transition. It specifies the missions within the scope of his or her competence, updates the missions of the Delegate for the future of the Fessenheim region and the regions in which coal-fired power plants are located and supplements them for the other regions undergoing energy transition. It repeals Decree 2019-67 of 1 February 2019 creating an interministerial Delegate for the future of the region of Fessenheim and the regions in which coal-fired power plants are located. Decree 2021-837 of 29 June 2021 constituting various reforms regarding environmental assessments and public participation in the environmental field The Decree is an implementing Decree of Act 2018-148 of 2 March 2018 which ratifies the following two Ordinances: ∙ Ordinance 2016-1058 of 3 August 2016 relative to modification of the rules applicable to the environmental assessment of projects, plans and programmes: the end-purpose of this ordinance is to bring french law into conformity with European law regarding environmental assessments; ∙ Ordinance 2016-1060 of 3 August 2016 reforming the procedures designed to ensure public information and participation in the drafting of certain decisions liable to have an effect on the environment: this ordinance reinforced the consultation phase upstream of any decisions with an effect on the environment. ABSTRACTS – ASN Report on the state of nuclear safety and radiation protection in France in 2021 31 REGULATORY NEWS