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Nuclear plant stress test results by year-end: EU

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(HELSINKI) - The results of stress tests on European nuclear power plants should be clear by the end of the year, EU energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger said in Helsinki Friday.

"The order we have is ... to finish this stress test at the end of the year, and going into the European Council at 8th or 9th of December," he told a joint press conference with Finland's outgoing Economic Affairs Minister Mauri Pekkarinen.

The stress test initiative was launched in March by the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA) in response to the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan to determine whether European reactors could withstand similar conditions.

Oettinger arrived in Finland on Thursday to discuss European energy policy, and will be leaving Saturday.

He toured the one of Finland's two nuclear power plants, the Olkiluoto plant in western Finland, as well as the construction of an adjacent permanent nuclear waste disposal site.

Oettinger praised Finland's nuclear authorities and experts for their "high level of competence."

He also noted that pressure to build safe, long-term nuclear waste disposal sites had increased in the wake of the crisis in Japan, where a tsunami and earthquake on March 11 triggered a leak at the the Fukushima power plant.

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