EU unleashes legal fury – Portugal sued over failure to tackle long-term radiation risks

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The European Commission said on Wednesday it is suing Portugal for failing to establish a national plan addressing long-term risks from exposures to radon as required by law.

They said: “Today, the Commission decided to refer Portugal to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to fully transpose the EU’s revised Basic Safety Standards Directive (Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom) into national legislation.”

Radon is a radioactive gas that is recognised as a carcinogenic agent (cancer-causing). 

In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has pinpointed it as the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

It is particularly prominent in certain areas of Portugal, such as the city of Guarda in the country’s northeast. 


Euratom – the European Atomic Energy Community – set up a Basic Safety Standards Directive (BSS) introduced binding legal requirements which were in place to make sure that there appropriate protection of individuals from the dangers of exposure to radon across the EU. 

This means members of the 27-nation bloc were supposed to set up a national radon action plan to addressing the long-term risks from radon exposures in dwellings, buildings with public access and workplaces from any source of radon entering. 

But it appears as though Portugal has failed to comply with the BBS and has now come under fire. 

And this is not the first time Portugal has faced action for failing to comply with EU law. 


In November, the European Commission called out Portugal for failing to take action on its poor air quality.

The country has significant levels of nitrogen dioxide (NOX) in the atmosphere due to road traffic, with much of the blame owed to diesel vehicles.

The EU referred Portugal to the Court of Justice of the European Union as a result. 

The bloc unleashed its fury at the country for “continually and persistently exceeding the annual limit for nitrogen dioxide in three air quality zones, including Lisbon, Porto and Minho.

This is a breaking story. More to follow.

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