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The European Council of Ministers invited the Commission of the European Communities (CEC) to draw up a policy on conformity assessment involving testing and calibration, quality assurance, certification, and accreditation, aiming to harmonize the existing national regulations in order to eliminate barriers to trade, principally after 1 Jan. 1993 (beginning of the Single Market).
The CEC gave mandates to European standardization bodies to draw up European standards for Community purposes.
To date, several standardization programs have been mandated under this system; in particular, one of the ongoing works at CEN (Comité Européen de Normalisation) level is in the field of nondestructive testing—it covers the pressure vessels area. 1. CEN TC 138 is the technical committee (TC) involved with nondestructive testing. This TC has the scope to set up standards on terminology, equipment, and general principles of methods for the different NDT methods as well as to standardize the principles of qualification and certification of NDE testing personnel. 2. CEN TC 121 is the TC involved with welding. This TC has a working group, 5B, involved with NDT and six subworking groups, the scope of which is to set up standards on general rules, examination techniques, and acceptance criteria for the different NDT techniques when examining welded structures.
Participants in the different working groups are experts from the 12 EEC countries and also from the six EFTA countries. These experts are technicians from industry, technical laboratories, or from national standardization bodies. 1. EEC: European Economic Community: Belgium-Denmark-France-Germany-Greece-Ireland-Italy-Luxembourg-Portugal-Spain-The Netherlands-United Kingdom. 2. EFTA: European Free Trade Association: Austria-Finland-Iceland-Norway-Sweden-Switzerland.
During these technical meetings, national and international, existing documents (e.g., DIN-AFNOR-BS-ASTM-ISO-IIW) are considered, aiming to create future European NDE standards.
European NDT standards, harmonization of national regulations, Single Market, prenormalization, certification
Engineer of the Commission of the European Communities, Joint Research CentreInstitute for Advanced Materials, Non-Destructive Evaluation of Materials Service, Ispra, Varese