With the European Commission set to present the preliminary results of the EU nuclear stress tests, the Greens today presented a new independent study which underlines how the stress tests will totally fail to assess the risks faced by nuclear reactors in Europe.
Commenting on the study findings ahead of the Commission’s presentation, Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, 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 assessed, 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 does also highlight 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 or that have never used it, have to push for highest safety standards in the EU and a European wide phase out of this high risk technology. The most important lesson of the Fukushima catastrophe 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.”
In April 2011, Jean, a member of the European Parliament Employment and Social Affairs Commitee and a long-term campaigner against nuclear power, was successful in guiding new health and safety measures for nuclear workers through the European Parliament. The report, authored by Jean, also stipulates greater employment liability to ensure that responsibility for workers’ safety permeates throughout the entire supply chain in order to provide real protection for all contracted and sub-contracted workers who deal with radioactive waste.