Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Nuclear plants to be tested every 6 years

14 June 2013, 15:06

Brussels - Nuclear power plants in the European Union should be tested every six years for safety shortfalls, the bloc's executive proposed Thursday, in a bid to draw lessons from the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan in 2011.

"The fact remains that there are 132 nuclear reactors in operation in Europe today," EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger noted. "Our task ... is to make sure that safety is given the utmost priority in every single one of them."

But his proposals failed to win over Green parliamentary leader Rebecca Harms, who called them "seriously underwhelming." Green politicians traditionally oppose nuclear power.

"The proposals have been tailored to the demands of the nuclear industry and should be seen as little more than a further attempt to legitimise nuclear power," said Harms, an EU lawmaker from Germany.

The measures were welcomed, however, by conservative politicians in the European Parliament, with Slovenian lawmaker Romana Jordan calling it "an important step towards achieving the highest nuclear safety standards."

The commission does not want the mandatory, every-six-year tests to cover the entire reactor, but only a specific safety aspect that would be agreed between member states - for instance protection against floods or precautions for a possible plane crash.

There will be a multinational peer review process in place as part of a bid to bring "nuclear safety into the European domain," Oettinger said.

But the environmental group Greenpeace predicted that the new rules do not go far enough "to rule out a European Fukushima," arguing that the testing foreseen would "leave some parts of a plant untouched for decades."

A round of voluntary tests carried out on European nuclear power plants after the Fukushima scare revealed that almost all were in need of safety improvements.

Spent nuclear fuel

EU member states will now have to approve the commission's proposal - which also includes extra tests for plants whose lifetime is being extended, requires an emergency response centre at every plant, and seeks higher design standards - for it to become law.

Fourteen EU countries produce nuclear power, with France most dependent on atomic energy. Lithuania and Poland are in line to also join the club, with plans in place for their first reactors.

In Germany, where the government plans to shut down all nuclear reactors by 2022 and replace them with more environmentally friendly power sources, regional leaders sparred over where to park 26 containers of spent nuclear fuel.

The country is leaving itself until 2031 to decide where it will bury spent fuel that has accumulated since 1960.

Politicians have been clashing over the "fair" allotment of 26 containers, each as big as a van, containing German waste that has been fused with glass at reprocessing plants in Sellafield, Britain and La Hague, France.

The opposition Social Democrats demanded that Chancellor Angela Merkel pressure Hesse and Bavaria, ruled by her own Christian Democrats and their allies, to provide space at existing storage sites for a few of the 26 containers when they arrive.

SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel said it was unfair to send the waste only to two states - Schleswig-Holstein and Baden-Wuerttemberg - which are ruled by Merkel's opponents. State premiers agreed Thursday to postpone a decision on the allotment until next year.

Merkel has been seeking to settle the broad lines of a waste policy before the general election on 22 September.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...