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Nuclear stress tests

No stress for nuclear industry, as tests set to fall short in key safety areas


Agreement on the content of the proposed EU nuclear stress tests was officially announced this morning by EU energy commissioner Oettinger. The Greens are concerned that the tests will fall short of testing the safety in crucial areas in spite of earlier promises by commissioner Oettinger. Commenting on the agreement Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said:

"Despite the repeated assurances of commissioner Oettinger, it seems that the nuclear industry will get a stress-free ride under the proposed EU nuclear safety tests. Pro-nuclear EU member states seem to have got their way and ensured key safety risks will not be part of the core stress tests. The proposed working group for assessing the potential risk of terrorist attacks smacks of being a face-saving exercise, which will fail to actually test the ability of key sites in Europe to withstand an attack, like a plane crash, which it is widely known they cannot.

"Serious and binding stress tests, worthy of the name, would assess not only the risk of terrorist attacks but also technical problems caused through disruption of operation or the ageing of nuclear reactors. However, this would raise fundamental questions about the safety of nuclear power. Instead we are left with alibi tests."

Green MEP and energy spokesperson Claude Turmes added:

"It remains unclear what would happen if a reactor fails a stress test. The promise of total transparency in the assessment of nuclear reactors has also been broken. The proposed peer reviews will also come far too late, long after the political debate will have finished. Commissioner Oettinger is trying to talk up the agreement but nobody should be fooled that this is a climb-down for him from his promises."