Nuclear stress tests in Europe – the results are in

Ministers to consider state of nuclear risk in Europe

Press release - June 14, 2012
Brussels - Fifteen months after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, European energy ministers will tomorrow for the first time consider the outcome of ‘stress tests’ for nuclear power plants during their Energy Council meeting.


Greenpeace commissioned independent experts to analyse elements of the regulators’ stress test report. The researchers found:

  • Alarming shortfalls in back-up power for nuclear plants, including multiple reactors relying on single emergency diesel generators in case of disaster. Some plants were found to be incapable of handling challenging earthquake or flood conditions. Radiation shielding was woefully inadequate in dangerous spent fuel storage across the continent.
  • Testers have ignored multiple disaster scenarios, like that at Fukushima. Most also ignored plane crashes and all ignored emergency evacuation plans, despite the fact plants are as close as 10 kilometres to European cities.
  • There is little consistency in the findings, making comparison between plants difficult or impossible.

The research findings can be found in a briefing here. The research is complemented with independent calculations (maps) showing how nuclear clouds could spread across Europe following a severe nuclear accident.

Greenpeace energy campaigner Roger Spautz said: “If these tests were meant to raise confidence in nuclear power, they’ve done the opposite. Difficult questions have quietly been dropped, including those relating to the kind of disaster scenarios we saw in Japan. If they want a genuine picture of nuclear risk, governments should send back the report with a note saying ‘more stress needed’.”

Commissioner Oettinger pledged that stress tests would be uniform, thorough, exhaustive, and based on Fukushima lessons and other threats. Plants that ‘fail’ should be shut down, he has told Der Spiegel. The Commission plans to present a communication on these results in the autumn. 



Greenpeace energy campaigner Roger Spautz +352 621 233 361  
Greenpeace media officer Jack Hunter: +32 (0)476 988 584