Sweden's nuclear regulator SKI will meet in emergency session tomorrow (3 August) to decide on a possible immediate shut-down of all but one of the country's nuclear power stations supplying up to 50% of Sweden's electricity. Greenpeace has called for the reactors to be shut down following a serious incident last week at Sweden's Forsmark nuclear power station, in which "it was pure luck there wasn't a meltdown" according to a former director of the plant.
The Forsmark incident was caused by the failure of back-up
generators following a problem with the main power supply. If the
backup system fails after a grid cut-off or a whole blackout, the
operator loses instrumentation and control over the reactor leading
to an inability to cool the core, which can lead to a meltdown (1).
In a report published last year, Greenpeace highlighted the
widespread and frequent problems of failing power backup systems of
nuclear reactors, which have also been reported in the US and
Swedish media reported yesterday that a former director of the
Forsmark plant said "It was pure luck that there was not a
meltdown. Since the electricity supply from the network didn't work
as it should have, it could have been a catastrophe." Without
power, the temperature would have been too high after 30 minutes
and within two hours there could have been a meltdown.
"The Forsmark incident is just another illustration of the
nuclear industry and nuclear regulators gambling with the lives of
thousands or even millions of people" said Jan Vande Putte of
Greenpeace International. "It has proved that a simple power
blackout - something which has been happening regularly during the
recent heatwaves - can very easily lead to a catastrophic reactor
meltdown. This is a prime example of why this technology is
inherently dangerous, must be phased out worldwide and never
allowed to return. A combination of safe, renewable sources of
energy and energy efficiency measures are the only sane solution
for power generation."
Other contacts: Jan Vande Putte, Greenpeace International: mobile + 32 49616 1584 / + 31 64616 2005 Martina Krueger, Greenpeace Sweden: mobile +46-(0)70-550 2913
Exp. contact date: 2006-08-30 00:00:00