Nuclear Stress Tests - flaws, blind spots and complacency

Publication - June 14, 2012
Greenpeace hired independent consultants to analyse the results of 'stress tests' carried out on nuclear plants in Europe. They came to some alarming conclusions, summarised in this briefing.


Fifteen months after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, European energy ministers will this week consider the outcome of ‘stress tests’ carried out on Europe's nuclear power plants.

Independent analysis of the stress test results revealed the following headline threats:

  • 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 focuses on example nuclear plants in Belgium, Sweden, France, the UK, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Slovenia and Spain. The research is complemented by independent calculations (maps) showing how nuclear clouds could spread across Europe following a severe nuclear accident.

Nuclear Stress Tests - flaws, blind spots and complacency

For a copy of the full consultancy report, click here.