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Leaked report on Europe’s troubled nuclear power plants

‘Hundreds of problems’ at EU nuclear plants, BBC News 3 Oct 12 The draft report found specific failings in all 58 of France’s nuclear reactors
Hundreds of problems have been found at European nuclear plants that would cost 25bn euros (£20bn) to fix, says a leaked draft report.

The report, commissioned after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, aimed to see how Europe’s nuclear power stations would cope during extreme emergencies.

The final report is to be published on Thursday. The draft says nearly all the EU’s 143 nuclear plants need improving.

Anti-nuclear groups say the report’s warnings do not go far enough.

For its part, the regulatory body for European nuclear safety has urged the Commission not to use language that could undermine public confidence, says the BBC’s Chris Morris in Brussels.French failings
The report – the wording of which could change before Thursday’s final version is published – points out that in the EU, 47 nuclear power plants with 111 reactors have more than 100,000 inhabitants living within a circle of 30km.

“On the basis of the stress test results practically all [nuclear plants] need to undergo safety improvements,” says the leaked draft. “Hundreds of technical upgrade measures have already been identified.

“Following the accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, urgent measures to protect nuclear plants were agreed. The stress tests demonstrated that even today, decades later, their implementation is still pending in some member states.”

Four reactors in two unnamed countries would have less than an hour to restore safety functions if electrical power was lost, it adds.

In France, Europe’s largest nuclear power producer which relies on 58 nuclear reactors for 80% of its electricity, specific failings were found in all 58 nuclear reactors…..Call for closures

While the stress tests found deficiencies in many of Europe’s nuclear reactors, campaigners say they failed to address risks in crucial areas, such as ageing technology, terrorist attacks or human error.

“If this exercise was serious, the Commission should be recommending the closure of unsafe or ageing reactors,” said Rebecca Harms, co-president of the Greens/European Free Alliance at the European Parliament.

“At the very least, the Commission should be pressing for the security deficiencies identified in the report to be rectified.”

As of June, all 143 nuclear plants in the EU were to be re-assessedusing criteria covering both natural and man-made hazards.

Some governments have reappraised their nuclear energy strategy in the aftermath of last year’s Fukushima disaster, with Germany deciding to abandon nuclear energy for green technology and cleaner gas- and coal-powered plants by 2022.

Others, like France, have boosted investment in nuclear power since the meltdown.

October 4, 2012 - Posted by | EUROPE, safety

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