New EU stress tests for nuclear plants

mattInternational, Utilities Market Regulation

EU Nuclear watchdogs have finalised continent-wide stress tests for all nuclear reactors following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan

All 143 of Europe’s nuclear reactors will undergo new stress tests devised by European nuclear watchdogs covering both natural and man made hazards.

From 1 June, nuclear power plants will be tested for resilience to natural disasters like the earthquake and tsunami that set off the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Japan.

The European Commission and the European Nuclear Safety Regulators’ Group (ENSREG) agreed tests will also cover hazards such as terrorist attacks, transport accidents, forest fires and the loss of electrical power supplies.

If the stress tests find that any nuclear reactors are not up to scratch, they could be temporarily shut down, or even closed entirely.

The tests are to be done in a three step process. Step 1 is a pre-assessment, the completion of a safety questionnaire by plant operators, supported by documentation where required.

The questionnaire answers are then assessed by the national regulator in step 2, to devise whether the questionnaire answers are credible.

The final step is a peer review of a team of 7 people, 1 from the European Commission and 6 others from regulators all over Europe. Details of the reports will also be made public.