Further improvements needed at European nuclear power plants, commission says

According to a report released by the European Commission on Oct. 4, the standards of safety at nuclear power plants in Europe are generally high, but further improvements in the safety features of almost all European nuclear power plants are recommended.

National safety authorities, though, came to the conclusion that no closure of nuclear power plants was warranted.

Following the Fukushima Daiichi accident in March 2011, the European Council called for comprehensive and transparent risk and safety assessments of all EU nuclear power plants. The stress tests were implemented to assess the safety and robustness of nuclear power plants in case of extreme natural events.

The European Commission released the report to discuss the results of the stress tests. The 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 said it will closely follow the implementation of the recommendations and at the same time will propose legislative measures to further enhance nuclear safety in Europe.

"The stress tests have revealed where we are good at and where we need to improve,” Commissioner Günther Oettinger said. “All authorities involved must work to ensure that the highest safety standards are in force in every single nuclear power plant in Europe.”

In addition to recommending numerous plant specific technical improvements, the stress tests have shown that International standards and practices have not been applied everywhere. The Commission also said lessons from Fukushima need to be taken into account. Among those lessons are:

  • 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 timeframe, 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. Thirty-two 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.

The European Commission said national action plans, with timetables for implementation, will be prepared by national regulators and made available by the end of 2012. The commission intends to report on the implementation of the stress test recommendations in June 2014, in full partnership with national regulators.

Subscribe to Nuclear Power International magazine

Sponsored by FLSmidth

Related Articles

NRC delays approval of Callaway's license renewal

Federal officials are delaying a decision on issuing a 20-year extension for the Callaway County nuclear power plant.

NY court says nuke plant exempt from state program

The Indian Point nuclear power plant on the lower Hudson River is exempt from New York state's coastal management program, a midlevel state court has ruled.

Follow Power Engineering on Twitter
Latest News

Siemens to provide the first H-class power plant technology in Mexico

Siemens has been awarded a contract to supply two SGT6-8000H gas turbines and two generators ...

EIA: CO2 emissions to change only modestly by 2040

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the power sector declined by 363 million metric tons betwee...

Weekly Coal Production Report

The Weekly Coal Production Report has been updated for the week ended May 23, 2015.

West Virginia PSC approves base rate hike for Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power

The West Virginia Public Service Commission on May 26 authorized the Appalachian Power Co. (A...

NRC staff official delegated to approve Watts Bar 2 operating license

Members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have voted to delegate authority to the di...

Duke Energy receives approval to build 5MW solar power plant in Orlando

Duke Energy Florida (NYSE: DUK) received approval to build, own and operate a 5-MW solar faci...

SunEdison: Utah's largest solar facility now operational

SunEdison (NYSE: SUNE) announced the completion of the 3.8 MW South Milford solar facility in...

Texas groups petition feds over alleged coal exemptions

Environmental groups in Texas want to overturn a state action they say exempted large coal-fi...

Power Engineering Current Issue

03/01/2014
Volume 118, Issue 3
1403PE-cover
Products Showcase
Dynamic Fluoride Ion cleaning DFIC of industrial natural gas turbines Hi-Tech Furnace Systems

Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning of IGT Parts

The Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning (DFIC) Process from Hi-Tech Furnace Systems is able to clean deep, narrow cracks of oxides by cycling between negative, atmospheric, and positive pressure.

Archived Articles

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

Buyers Guide Company Listings

Power Industry Wire News

Planet Resource Recovery Completes PetroLuxus(TM) Application Training to Mexican Companies in the Oil Sector

Planet Resource Recovery Completes PetroLuxus(TM) Application Training to Mexican Compa...

Interpoll Laboratories, Inc. to Exhibit at 31st Annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo

Interpoll Laboratories, Inc. to Exhibit at 31st Annual International Fuel Ethanol Works...

EVTN Announces Voraxial(R) Shipment for Oil Spill Response

EVTN Announces Voraxial(R) Shipment for Oil Spill Response

White Paper Establishes California's National Leadership in E85 Fuel Market

White Paper Establishes California's National Leadership in E85 Fuel Market

Ready for Summer Heat

Ready for Summer Heat

Power Engineering

Article Archives for Power Engineering Magazine

Continuing Education

Professional Development Hours

To access a course listing associated to a specific topic listed below, click on the topic of choice from the list below.

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>