Skip to main content

After Fukushima

Leaked EU nuclear stress tests reveal hundreds of defects


By Nikolaj Nielsen for EUobserver

Hundreds of defects have been found throughout Europe’s nuclear reactors and mostly in France, according to an EU stress test report.

The stress tests assess whether any of Europe’s 143 licensed nuclear power plants can withstand extreme events such as earthquakes and terrorists attacks.

The tests were introduced after the nuclear accident in Japan's Fukushima some 18 months ago. EU energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger is to present the final report and recommendations in the upcoming EU summit on 18 and 19 October.

We have reassessed all the nuclear power plants in Europe in the light of Fukushima,” said commission energy spokesperson Marlene Holzner on Monday (1 October).

Oettinger is also scheduled to present his findings to his fellow EU commissioners on Wednesday.

The European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (Ensreg), a group of senior officials from the national nuclear regulatory authorities from all 27 member states, said on Monday in a statement said they have yet to be informed of the content of the report.

The commission had not made available to Ensreg any draft of the communication. However, the content of a draft was known by some Ensreg members and this draft raised major problems and concerns in Ensreg,” said the group's chairperson Tero Varjoranta.

Meanwhile, a preview into the content by French daily Le Figaro and German daily Die Welt suggests none of France’s 58 nuclear power plants meet, to varying degrees, the international security standards outlined by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

For the very first time in history, we know for all the nuclear power plants in Europe whether these very high standards are actually used or not used,” said Holzner.

Nineteen French reactors have no seismic measuring instruments, says Le Figaro. The paper also notes that safety and rescue equipment in case of disaster is not adequately protected unlike at German, British and Swedish reactors.

The report does not recommend shutting down any one EU nuclear power plant, say the papers, but notes that getting them up to standard would cost some €25 billion.

National regulators carry out the initial stress tests inspections. Teams of safety experts from the EU member states and the commission then scrutinize their conclusions followed by on-site spot checks.

For its part, Belgium’s national regulator, the federal agency for nuclear control (FANC), decided to shut down two of its seven reactors in August after having discovered thousands of cracks.

The discovery of the cracks came two months after having submitted their peer-reviewed EU stress tests in April.

"Results of the stress tests are still perfectly valid. In any case they had an altogether different purpose," said FANC at the time.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

'Not as dumb as he looks' - Muhammad Ali on Bertrand Russell

In his autobiography The Greatest: My Own Story, Muhammad Ali recounts how Bertrand Russell got in contact with him, and their ensuing correspondence:


***
For days I was talking to people from a whole new world. People who were not even interested in sports, especially prizefighting. One in particular I will never forget: a remarkable man, seventy years older than me but with a fresh outlook which seemed fairer than that of any white man I had ever met in America.
My brother Rahaman had handed me the phone, saying, ‘Operator says a Mr. Bertrand Russell is calling Mr. Muhammad Ali.’ I took it and heard the crisp accent of an Englishman: ‘Is this Muhammad Ali?’ When I said it was, he asked if I had been quoted correctly.
I acknowledged that I had been, but wondered out loud, ‘Why does everyone want to know what I think about Viet Nam? I’m no politician, no leader. I’m just an athlete.’
‘Well,’ he said, ‘this is a war more barbaric than others, and because a mystique is built up around a cham…

Brexit Diary: Generous to a Fault

Generous to a Fault

Hapless Theresa May stepped nervously into the June European Council in Brussels. Her own status at such meetings is now qualified by the UK’s notification to withdraw from the European Union, which takes effect in March 2019. She can no longer participate in Council discussions about Brexit and has to leave the room. Before she departed the dinner table last night, however, Mrs May outlined an ‘offer’ on the rights of European Union citizens residing in the UK once that country has left the EU. The full ‘offer’ is due to be submitted in writing on Monday 26 June.

Of course, citizens’ rights are codified in law and guaranteed by treaty, to which the UK has acceded. Accordingly, millions of people have moved around the European Union, with many of them settling in the United Kingdom to live and work. The UK has legal obligations towards them. Continuity in their rights is required, if and when the UK leaves the EU. 

The initial response to Mrs May’s remarks from group…

Nuclear Posture Review: Two letters of protest from Japan

The Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation received copies of the following letters, dated 6 February 2018, from the Japan Council against A and H Bombs. The letters, written in response to the publication of the US Nuclear Posture Review, are addressed to President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. We ask that as many people and organisations as possible circulate these letters as an act of solidarity with anti-nuclear campaigners in "Japan, the A-bombed country".

* * *

To President Donald Trump United States of America 6 February 2018
Letter of Protest against the US Nuclear Posture Review
We, of the people of Japan, the A-bombed country, strongly protest against your nuclear policy formulated in the newly released ‘Nuclear Posture Review’, which brings the US much closer to the actual use of nuclear weapons by modernizing your nuclear arsenals and developing new nuclear weapons.
Trying to justify that nuclear weapons are necessary for security, the Nuclear Post…