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Lessons from Chernobyl and Fukushima: Is Europe prepared for another nuclear disaster?

By Camille Bello  •  Updated: 11/03/2023 – 15:29

Exactly 12 years ago, a massive earthquake and tsunami caused the second-worst nuclear accident in history at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan.

The anniversary of the catastrophic meltdown that displaced 160,000 people and cost the Japanese government over €176 billion should itself be enough of a reminder of the potential threat of a nuclear spill, but a number of recent events have also raised the alarm in Europe.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has repeatedly knocked out the country’s electricity grid, causing blackouts at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe’s largest, where power is needed to prevent the reactors from overheating like in the 1986 Chernobyl radiation disaster.

Meanwhile, Europe’s other nuclear reactors are ageing – they were built on average 36.6 years ago – and recent checkups in France have found cracks in several of them.

Some energy experts have warned that the extreme weather events brought on by climate change could pose a serious threat to the EU’s 103 nuclear reactors, which account for about one-quarter of the electricity generated in the bloc.

Jan Haverkamp, a senior nuclear energy and energy policy expert for Greenpeace, said the chances of Europe seeing a large accident like Fukushima were now “realistic” and “we should take them into consideration”.

“We are not properly prepared,” he told Euronews Next

March 12, 2023 - Posted by | EUROPE, safety

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