Tuesday

27th Jun 2017

Nuclear stress tests fail EU scrutiny

  • A freak green-coloured snowfall in Russia on the day of the Chernobyl anniversary caused public concern (Photo: ipinkbear)

Twenty-six years to the day after the Chernobyl disaster, the European Commission has said Europe's nuclear stress test study is lacking in essential data.

The year-long tests - initiated in March 2011 following the Fukushima meltdown in Japan - are designed to show that European-based nuclear power plants pose no threat.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The European Commission, a self-declared friend of the nuclear sector, on Thursday (26 April) said the study has failed to provide a complete picture however. The commission intends to fill in the missing data by returning to the sites.

"We will do additional visits of power plants and analyse some safety aspects in more detail. EU citizens have the right to know and understand how safe the nuclear power plants are they live close to. Soundness is more important than timing," EU energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger in a statement.

The commission and the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (Esnreg) want to see if Europe's nuclear plants can withstand the force of natural disasters, airplane crashes, fires and terrorist attacks.

Nuclear plant operators carried out self-assessment tests and handed in their reports to national regulators last year. The national regulatory authorities then analysed and verified the findings, which were finally compiled into national progress reports.

The national reports were submitted to the Commission for peer review from experts in nuclear safety. But Ensreg found a lack of consistency in the assessment of natural hazards and a need for regular assessments and implementations of known safety measures.

Ensreg pointed out that emergency response centres need to be improved, rapid deployment and availability of rescue teams and equipment for local operators also need to be improved. Tankers and other "mobile equipment" are not adequately protected against extreme natural hazards, it added.

Some 147 nuclear power stations underwent the tests in 15 member states as well as Ukraine and Switzerland. Lithuania, which has decommissioned its two nuclear reactors but which is building a new one, also participated.

Lithuania's new reactor at the Ignalina site is in a known earthquake zone. It signed a preliminary contract with Hitachi on 30 March. The plant is scheduled to become operational by 2020.

Belarus - not part of the survey - is also building a large nuclear power station in the region, just 50 kilometers away from Vilnius.

The Geological Survey of Lithuania says around 40 earthquakes of significant size have struck the region, near and around the Belarus-border, since the 17th century. "The area selected for the new [Belarus facility] experienced the strongest earthquake ... in the history of Belarus," the Lithuanian foreign ministry told EUobsever by email in March. The 7.0 quake struck in 1909.

In 2001, the Ignalina area registered a 2.1 quake. A tremor in 2004 registered 5.3 on the Richter scale in Vilnius.

The commission statement came out on the 26th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

A freak green-coloured snowfall in Russia the same day raised public worries that something had gone wrong again. But Russian authorities said the phenomenon was caused by pollen.

Thousands of cracks found in Belgian nuclear power plant

Belgium’s nuclear safety chief, Willy De Roovere, on Thursday said there could be thousands of cracks in the reactor vessel of the ageing Doel 3 nuclear reactor situated 25 km outside Antwerp and 3 km from the Dutch border.

US leaves Paris climate deal

Trump said Paris deal “punishes the United States”, even though treaty leaves it up to nations to determine own climate contribution.

Column / Crude World

Nord Stream 2: The elephant in the room

The European Commission should provide a thorough impact assessment of Nord Stream 2, a project that appears to go against all of its Energy Union objectives.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017Conservation of Atlantic Tunas: International Measures Become EU Law
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan Statin Therapy Interfere With a Physically Active Lifestyle?
  3. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  4. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  5. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  6. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  7. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  8. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  9. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  10. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  11. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  12. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?