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Proposed EU nuclear safety rules won't rule out a European Fukushima

13 June 2013
by greenpeace -- last modified 13 June 2013

The European Commission today released a long-awaited proposal for new EU-wide nuclear safety rules. These proposals come in the wake of EU nuclear stress tests, which were prompted by the Fukushima nuclear accident of 2011. Although fundamentally flawed, the tests revealed a number of serious shortcomings in the safety of European nuclear plants.


Reacting to the publication of the proposal of the proposal, Greenpeace nuclear energy expert Jan Haverkamp said: "These new rules will do little to rule out a European Fukushima. They ignore the human factor, terrorism and sabotage. Planning for emergency evacuations in the event of an accident is similarly inadequate. The proposed partial testing of nuclear power plants every six years would also leave some parts of a plant untouched for decades, meaning it could take several rounds of testing for some elements of a plant to be checked. If anything, this proposal demonstrates that nuclear safety is a utopia.

While the Commission's plan slightly improves the independence of nuclear regulators, the directive does not address the risk of terrorist attack and the need for evacuation and off-site emergency responses in the case of an accident. The new periodic reviews only offer small improvement on the current ten year ones, and will only test parts of each plant periodically. The Fukushima meltdown highlighted how close links between the nuclear industry and the authorities impeded responses to a wide-scale disaster. This proposal shows how that industry can still have a hand in deciding its own regulation, said Greenpeace.

The European Parliament and Council will assess and amend the Commission proposal. A final agreement is expected in 2014.

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.

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