Monday

20th Nov 2017

Row over Commission-owned nuclear plant in the Netherlands

Serious safety breaches were found last year at a Commission-owned nuclear plant in the Netherlands, but further investigations were blocked by authorities, it has emerged.

According to Dutch daily De Volkskrant on Saturday (4 December), a police raid in September 2003 revealed dangerous abuses of environmental and safety standards at a reactor based in Petten, which is owned by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

However, documents from the Dutch Justice Ministry, obtained by the paper, show that the Dutch government hindered further judicial investigations against the plant.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs allegedly feared a diplomatic conflict with the European Commission.

The Commission had stated in a series of letters to the Dutch authorities that it would find prosecution of the Petten plant staff unacceptable, as Commission employees working at Petten possess legal immunity in the Netherlands.

Ongoing investigations against the plant by the Dutch public prosecutor were therefore hastily broken off in March 2004.

Explosion risk

However, after the police raid, Dutch prosecution authorities characterised the situation at Petten as very serious.

The investigations had revealed that toxic waste was stored without protection, bearing a risk of explosion.

De Volkskrant quotes concerned Dutch officials at the Public Prosecutors Office, who fear a situation of lawlessness at the Commission’s power plant.

One official is quoted as saying that a "nuclear free-haven" has been created at Petten.

However, both the Joint Research Centre and the Dutch Ministry for the Environment reacted over the weekend saying that after a series of recent improvements, safety at the plant is now guaranteed.

Agenda

EU agencies and eastern neighbours This WEEK

EU ministers will vote on where to relocate two EU agencies from the UK, while later EU leaders will host six eastern European countries in Brussels. Former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic awaits his verdict in the Hague.

Opinion

Mind the gap: inequality in our cities

Minimum wages, 'living' wages and a universal basic income are all part of the ongoing mix to find ways to reduce social inequality across the EU.

News in Brief

  1. Bonn climate talks extend into Friday evening
  2. UK needs to move on Brexit by early December, Tusk says
  3. Puigdemont extradition decision postponed to December
  4. Ireland wants written UK guarantees to avoid hard border
  5. US did not obstruct climate talks, says German minister
  6. EU signs social declaration
  7. Puigdemont to be heard by Belgian judges
  8. Steep fall in migrants reaching EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  2. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic countries prioritise fossil fuel subsidy reform
  4. Mission of China to the EUNew era for China brings new opportunities to all
  5. ACCASmall and Medium Sized Practices Must 'Offer the Whole Package'
  6. UNICEFAhead of the African Union - EU Summit, Survey Highlights Impact of Conflict on Education
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Calls for Closer Co-Operation on Foreign Policy
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTrilogue Negotiations - Striking the Balance Between Transparency and Efficiency
  9. Access EuropeProspects for US-EU Relations Under the Trump Administration - 28 November 2017
  10. World Vision20 November: Exchange of Views at the EP on Children Affected by the Syria Crisis
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable Growth the Nordic Way: Climate Solutions for a Sustainable Future
  12. EU2017EEHow Data Fuels Estonia's Economy

Latest News

  1. EU keeps former Soviet states at arm's length
  2. EU leaders make pledge on social issues after populist backlash
  3. EU agencies and eastern neighbours This WEEK
  4. Germany slams Dutch call for more ambitious EU climate goal
  5. Mind the gap: inequality in our cities
  6. Climate activists 'disappointed' with EU at climate talks
  7. Davis outlines UK vision on Brexit in Berlin
  8. German coalition talks in near collapse