Provisions on ENSI Board’s Independence are Tightened

In view of the forthcoming elections for the new ENSI Board next autumn, the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) is to propose an adaptation of the ENSI Ordinance to the Federal Council; this concerns the provisions on the independence of ENSI Board members.

At its meeting on Wednesday 29 June 2011, the Federal Council approved the ENSI Board’s report on its activities and its Annual Business Report for 2010, and granted discharge to the ENSI Board. At the same time, the Federal Council noted the resignation of the Chairman of the ENSI Board, Peter Hufschmied. The Federal Council is therefore following the recommendations of DETEC and the (Federal) Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC), which has issued an independent comment on those sections of the report that relate to supervisory activities.

According to the DETEC media release, the Federal Council …

… took its decisions in the light of the investigations undertaken by DETEC regarding the seats on other boards held by the ENSI Board Chairman, which had become public. The result of the review was that the board seats in question are compatible with the provisions on independence stipulated in the ENSI Ordinance. As long as such seats do not relate to areas of organisations that are supervised by ENSI, they are permissible according to the implementation regulations that are currently in force. However, DETEC also found that the implementation provisions are not as far-reaching as the requirements for independence stipulated in the ENSI Act. According to the statutory requirements, “ENSI Board members are not permitted to engage in any commercial activities, nor may they hold any office at Federal or cantonal level which could detract from their independence. For this reason, DETEC will request the Federal Council to adapt the Ordinance so that it takes better account of the text of the Act in future. This means that the implementation provisions regarding independence will be tightened. The amendment to the Ordinance should be made in time for the next term of office (2012-2015), in view of the forthcoming appointment of the new ENSI Board which will take place this year. The requirements profile for the election of members of the ENSI Board by the Federal Council is defined by DETEC. DETEC will hold discussions with all candidates and will conduct in-depth investigations.

The ENSI Board is ENSI’s internal supervisory body. It comprises five to seven members who are elected by the Federal Council for a term of office lasting four years.