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Nuclear stress tests: EU stress tests will do nothing to assuage safety concerns with nuclear reactors


22 Nov 2011



With the European Commission to present the preliminary results of the EU nuclear stress tests tomorrow (Wednesday), the Greens today presented a new independent study (1), which underlines how the stress tests will totally fail to assess the risks faced by nuclear reactors in Europe. Commenting on the study findings and ahead of the Commission's presentation, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said:

"The EU nuclear stress tests are nothing more than a charade. The tests will totally fail to address the risks to nuclear power plants in Europe and are little more than a PR exercise to allow the nuclear industry to continue with business as usual. Nobody should be duped by any positive spinning of the results of the stress tests by the European Commission.

"This study makes clear that, based on the criteria to be analysed, the EU stress tests will completely fail to assess risks in core areas that would be essential in terms of preventing nuclear accidents. The tests not only fail to assess the risks posed by critical internal factors - like fires, human failures or the degradation or malfunctioning of essential infrastructure - they also fail to assess the risks of external threats - such as the impact of an airplane crash. Despite their crucial importance, safety management strategies are also excluded from the scope.

"The study also highlights the gap between the stress tests and the safety standards that national nuclear safety authorities deem necessary for new reactors. Those countries that have decided to phase out nuclear power, or that have never used it, must push for the highest safety standards in the EU and a European wide phase-out of this high-risk technology.

"The most important lesson of the Fukushima disaster is that the residual risk of nuclear power cannot be eliminated. Instead of heeding this lesson, the nuclear industry and its political supporters, are seeking to concoct new strategies - including these stress tests - to convince the public that nuclear is a safe and sustainable energy option. Instead of wasting more time, EU policy-makers should be actively planning for the phasing-out of nuclear power."

(1) The study can be viewed at:

Richard More O'Ferrall,

Press and media officer,

Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament

Mobile: +32-477-443842 - Ph. +32-22841669 (Brussels); +33-388174042 -


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