EU unveils new law to deter industrial accidents
BRUSSELS - The European Commission yesterday unveiled tighter pan-European rules aimed at preventing industrial accidents involving dangerous substances.
The new rules, which will apply throughout the 15-nation European Union, amend the so called Seveso II directive of 1996, a law named after a 1976 disaster at a chemical plant in Seveso, Italy.
The law includes measures aimed at improving safety measures for so-called \"tailings ponds,\" which are used to store highly polluted water from mining activities.
The initiative follows an accident at a gold mine in Romania in January, when cyanide-tainted mud and water escaped from a tailings pond, causing a considerable environmental damage.
\"Even if we cannot eliminate the risk of industrial accidents altogether in modern societies, we must ensure that European legislation aiming at reducing such risks to a minimum is adapted and improved,\" European Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom said in a statement.
The proposal also includes guidelines on classifying and storing pyrotechnical material in the wake of a fireworks explosion that occurred at Enschede, the Netherlands, in May 2000.
The new law will better define explosive and pyrotechnic substances, as well as decrease qualifying quantities of these substances.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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