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A leak at the reactor No. 1 of Electricite de France SA's Flamanville nuclear power plant late Wednesday didn't trigger any environmental damage or threatened the health of any employee, the French nuclear safety regulator Autorite de Surete Nucleaire said Thursday.
BERLIN, Oct 16 2012 (IPS) - The so-called ‘stress tests’ on nuclear power plants in the European Union (EU) have confirmed environmental and energy activists’ worst fears: most European nuclear facilities do not meet minimum security standards. The tests on 134 nuclear reactors operating in 14 EU member states were carried out in response to widespread concern among the public that an accident similar to the catastrophic meltdown of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power reactor in March 2011 could occur in Europe. According to the report, “EU citizens must… be confident that Europe’s nuclear industry is safe.” But the findings of the report, released in Brussels on Oct. 4, suggest that, contrary to feeling safe, EU citizens have good reason to be afraid. Only four countries “currently operate additional safety systems (e.g. bunkered systems or a ‘hardened core’ of safety systems) independent of the normal safety systems, located in areas well protected against external events.” The stress tests also found that in “four reactors (located in two different countries), there is less than one hour available to operators to restore the safety functions in case of loss of all electrical power and/or ultimate heat sink.” Additionally, “in ten reactors, on-site seismic instrumentation is not installed yet.” Only seven countries are in possession of “mobile equipment, especially diesel generators needed in case of total loss of power, external events or severe accident situations.” Activists have also lamented that the tests were almost entirely theoretical, whose findings and recommendations are not legally binding. The report itself states, “Peer review teams mainly composed of experts from the Member States visited 24 sites out of the total of 68, taking into account the type of reactor as well as the geographical location. Team visits to selected sites in each country were organised in order to firm up the implementation of the stress tests, without encroaching on the responsibilities of national authorities in the area of nuclear safety inspections.”