More ‘stress’ needed to European nuclear safety tests

Press release - May 12, 2011
Brussels, 12 May 2011 – Options for so-called “stress tests” on Europe’s nuclear power plants will be discussed today by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group and the European Commission.

After the recent disaster in Japan, European heads of state agreed that the "highest safety standard" should be applied to all nuclear reactors in Europe and beyond [1]. The Commission asked the Western European Nuclear Regulatory Association to draw up the stress tests, but its proposals give control of the tests to nuclear plant operators [2].

Greenpeace said today’s discussion could lead to tests that are little more than a fig leaf for business as usual.

Greenpeace EU nuclear policy adviser Jan Haverkamp said: “What national nuclear regulators appear to want from stress tests is a largely toothless paper-shuffling exercise. Commissioner Oettinger must step in and try to really address nuclear safety.”

Greenpeace said stress tests should be carried out independently and transparently, be mandatory, comprehensive and lead to the rapid closure of those plants that fail.