The standards of safety of
nuclear power plants in Europe are generally high but further improvements in
the safety features of almost all European nuclear power plants are
recommended. Nevertheless national
safety authorities came to the conclusion that no closure of Nuclear Power
Plants was warranted. The nuclear stress tests have established that not all
safety standards promoted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and
not all international best practices are applied in all Member States. The Commission will follow closely the implementation of
the recommendations and will at the same time propose legislative measures to
further enhance nuclear safety in Europe.
In addition to recommending numerous of plant
specific technical improvements, the stress tests have shown that International
standards and practices have not been applied everywhere. In addition, lessons
from Fukushima need to be drawn. In particular, these include:
· Earthquake and flooding
risk. Current standards for risk
calculation are not applied in 54 reactors (for earthquake risk) and
respectively 62 reactors (for flooding risk) out of the 145 checked. The risk
calculation should be based on a 10 000 year time frame, instead of the
much shorter time periods sometimes used.
· On-site seismic instruments to measure and alert of possible earthquakes
should be available at every nuclear power plant. These instruments should be
installed or improved in 121 reactors.
· Containment filtered
venting systems to allow safe
depressurizing of the reactor containment in case of an accident, should be in
place. 32 reactors are not yet equipped with these systems.
· Equipment to fight severe
accidents should be stored in places
protected even in the event of general devastation and from where it can be
quickly obtained. This is not the case for 81 reactors in the EU.
· A backup emergency control
room should be available in
case the main control room becomes inhabitable in case of an accident. These
are not yet available in 24 reactors.
National action plans with timetables for implementation will be
prepared by national regulators and will be made available by the end of 2012.
The action plans will go through peer reviews
in early 2013, in order to verify that the stress tests recommendations are
consistently implemented in a transparent way throughout Europe. The Commission intends to report on the implementation of
the stress test recommendations in June 2014, in full partnership with
In addition to the specific technical
findings and recommendations, the Commission has
reviewed the existing European legal framework for nuclear safety and will
present a revision of the current nuclear safety directive in early 2013.
The proposed amendments will focus on safety requirements, the role and powers
of nuclear regulatory authorities, transparency, as well as monitoring.
This will be followed by further proposals on
nuclear insurance and liability and on maximum permitted levels of radioactive
contamination in food and feedstuff. The stress test process has also
highlighted the need for further work on nuclear security (prevention of
malevolent acts), where the main responsibility lies with the Member States.
Following the Fukushima accident in March
2011 the European Council called for comprehensive and transparent risk and
safety assessments of all EU nuclear power plants.
The main aim of the stress tests was to
assess the safety and robustness of nuclear power plants in case of extreme
natural events. This means especially flood and earthquakes. Both scenarios
were assessed simultaneously. Air plane crashes have been covered to the extent
that they have the same effect as tsunami and earthquakes, meaning that they
shut down normal safety and cooling functions.
These stress tests consisted of three phases.
In phase one the nuclear power plant operators carried out a self-assessment,
in phase two national regulators evaluated these self-assessments and prepared
country reports. In phase three, these reports were analysed by multinational
teams in a peer review process, organised by ENSREG. In addition, the peer
review teams have visited nuclear power plant sites. 17 countries fully
participated in the stress tests (all 14 EU countries with operating nuclear
power plants, Lithuania with a plant under decommissioning, plus Ukraine and
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