The European Parliament today voted on proposals by EU energy commissioner Oettinger to revise EU rules on nuclear safety. The Greens criticised the outcome of the vote, which merely confirmed the legal process chosen by the Commission, excluding the European Parliament from co-deciding on the legislation, and endorsed the weak provisions proposed by the Commission. Commenting after the vote, Green nuclear spokesperson Michèle Rivasi said:
"The majority of MEPs has today voted to abdicate responsibility and continue the whitewash of safety concerns with Europe's ageing nuclear reactors. The Greens strongly criticise the failure to change the legal basis, with a view to ensuring Parliament can co-decide on this legislation, which has major public health and environmental implications for Europe's citizens.
"MEPs have also voted to endorse the underwhelming provisions proposed by EU energy commissioner Oettinger. These proposals have been tailored to the demands of the nuclear industry and should be seen as little more than a further attempt to legitimise nuclear power, with a view to prolonging the lifespan of ageing reactors. This is in spite of the urgent need to address the patchwork of substandard nuclear safety rules in EU member states. Substandard legislation increases the risk of a nuclear accident that could have catastrophic consequences for public health but also economically, across many countries.
"The proposals fail to set out up-to-date safety criteria for nuclear power plants, which live up to the latest scientific and technical standards. As with the toothless EU nuclear stress tests, the risks of terrorist attacks or sabotage are ignored. The bottom line of the nuclear industry comes first, leaving public safety as an inconvenient afterthought."