The activities of the European Commission (EC) in the field of nuclear energy are governed by the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM). The research activities of the European Union (EU) are designed as multi-annual Framework Programmes (FP). The EURATOM 6th Framework Programme (EURATOM FP-6), covering the period 2002–2006, is funded with a budget of 1, 230 million Euros and managed by the European Commission. Beyond the general strategic goal of the EURATOM Framework Programmes to help exploit the potential of nuclear energy, in a safe and sustainable manner, FP-6 is designed to contribute also to the development of the “European Research Area” (ERA), a concept described in the Commission’s Communication COM(2000)6, of January 2000. Moreover EURATOM FP-6 contributes to the creation of the conditions for sharing the same nuclear safety culture throughout the EU-25 and the Candidate Countries, fostering the acceptance of nuclear power as an element of the energy mix. This paper gives an overview of the research activities undertaken through EURATOM FP-6 in the area of Reactor Systems, covering the safety of present reactors, the development of future safe reactors, and the needs in terms of research infrastructures and education & training. The actions under FP-6 are presented in their continuity of a ctions under FP-5. The perspectives under FP-7 are also provided. Other parts of the EURATOM FP, covering Waste Handling and Radiation Protection, as well as Fusion Energy, are not detailed in this paper.

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