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EU-wide nuclear review calls for better communication, coordination

Plants across the EU were stress tested following Japan’s Fukushima crisis.

Image: AP Photo/Petar Petrov/PA

A SAFETY REVIEW of nuclear energy plants across the EU in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster has called on EU member states to cooperate with each other closely and exchange information so as to better prepare for cross-border nuclear incidents.

Following the 11 March Japanese tsunami and the subsequent crisis at the Fukushima power plant in the north-east of the country, the European Council decided in late March that a safety review of all EU nuclear plants should be carried out.

The main aim of the review was to provide a comprehensive report on the risk and safety assessments of EU nuclear power plants in dealing with extreme situations ranging from earthquakes and floods to plane crashes.

The Ad Hoc Group on Nuclear Safety was set up to compile a final report; that report will be  brought to the attention of the European Council when it meets at the end of this month.

In a statement today, the council said that the AHGNS’s final report identifies 32 good practices in the areas of legal and regulatory framework, national security, design basis threats, the culture of nuclear security and contingency planning.

Although nuclear security is an issue of national responsibility for the individual EU member states, the reports recommends closer cooperation and communication between states given the cross-border nature of nuclear incidents. It also recommends that member states use the International Atomic Energy Agency’s services and guidelines on international best practice in the field of nuclear energy.

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It also suggests that states use the IAEA’s International Physical Protection Advisory service missions “on a regular basis”, noting that “security issues relating to cyber threat should be part of the missions”.

Japan shuts down last nuclear reactor amid protests >

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