Friday

22nd Jun 2018

Leaked EU nuclear stress tests reveal hundreds of defects

  • A leaked EU stress test report says it it will cost €25 billion to bring Europe's nuclear reactors up to international saftey standards (Photo: Nicholas Sideras)

Hundreds of defects have been found throughout Europe’s nuclear reactors and mostly in France, according to a EU stress test report leaked to the German and French media.

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

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

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.

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.

EU to phase out most harmful biofuels

EU negotiators have reached a deal on a new renewable energy directive. 'One of the most sensitive issues during the negotiations was biofuels from food and feed crops,' said MEP Bas Eickhout.

Investigation

US in denial on EU climate forum

An Obama-era climate change working group has been in limbo since Trump came into office. Other areas of transatlantic energy cooperation also face uncertainty.

News in Brief

  1. Venice Commission: Hungary should repeal NGO law
  2. Trump threatens to slap 20 percent tariff on EU cars
  3. EU closes deficit procedure against France
  4. Romania's ruling party leader gets jail sentence
  5. EU states defer individual decisions on asylum reforms
  6. Commission opens case on Qatar gas flow
  7. EU adopts posted workers directive
  8. EU leaders to call for 'coordinated plan' on AI

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  3. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  4. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  10. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  11. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network

Latest News

  1. Migration row at centre of EU summit This Week
  2. Merkel's woes cast shadow on EU's future
  3. Europe's tech race - trying to keep pace with US and China
  4. Merkel and Juncker's mini-summit risks fiasco
  5. Greece and creditors proclaim 'end of crisis'
  6. How a US firm pushed for EU €2.1trn pension fund
  7. Commission defends Africa migrant plan ahead of summit
  8. Bavaria hijacks EU migration talks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us