Faults in 143 N-reactors in Europe: EU report

The European Union’s energy chief may have declared that the bloc’s 143 nuclear power stations are “satisfactory” but a report on the state of each of those nuclear reactors has pointed to hundreds of problems was presented to EU three days ago in Brussels. The report suggests that the problems to be sorted out at the reactors could cost up to $40 billion or about `2 lakh crores.
The report, commissioned after the Fukushima disaster in 2011, stated, “On the basis of the stress test results, practically all nuclear plants need to undergo safety improvements. Hundreds of technical upgrade measures have already been identified.”
Activists in Tamil Nadu are now pointing out that they have been saying these things all along and that there is an urgent need to draw lessons from the EU report and act on safety measures even before the Koodankulam nuclear power plant (KKNPP) goes on stream in the next few months.
Activists protesting against nuclear energy are not far off the mark when they say nuclear power is inherently risky. The EU report went on to state, “Following the accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, urgent measures to protect nuclear plants were agreed. The stress tests demonstrated that even today, decades later, their implementation is still pending in some member states,” it warned.
The report singled out France, which is 80 per cent reliant on nuclear energy, for criticism, finding faults in all 19 nuclear plants that house the 58 reactors churning out electricity in that country. France may have boosted investments in nuclear energy even after Fukushima but Europe’s biggest economy, Germany, has shied away and announced a commitment to do away with nuclear power altogether by 2022.
A Greenpeace spokesman has been quoted in British newspapers as saying, “It’s not surprising that the (EU) tests, though limited, have uncovered major concerns. Nuclear power is inherently risky, and failures, accidents and close calls happen all the time. But there are serious safety issues that the stress tests haven’t looked into. EU governments must act fast by shutting down the oldest and most risky plants and by ordering more thorough testing on the remaining plants.”

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