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EU nuclear plant safety under review

EU nuclear plant safety under review
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Japan’s nuclear radioactivity fears have struck Europe. The EU member states’ national safety authorities are to meet this Tuesday to compare notes over Japan’s endangered reactors.

The Environment Minister for anti-nuclear Austria, Nikolaus Berlakovich, arriving for talks in Brussels, said:

“Europe’s priority is safety. Following the events in Japan, we have to conduct stress tests to see if our nuclear power stations are earthquake-proof, in order to keep people safe.”

Fifteen European Union members generate electricity by nuclear means. There are 146 such power stations in the 27-country bloc. They provide for 15 percent of the EU’s electricity consumption.

Chancellor Angela Merkel decided last year to keep her country’s plants operating well past their original shutdown date. She has announced she will now take three months to review whether to go ahead with that.

In Berlin Merkel said: “Closing Germany’s nuclear power stations and then using nuclear energy from other countries can not be our response. The only rational answer is to move forward on the path to renewable sources.”

On Saturday, anti-nuclear protesters near Stuttgart condemned their government’s extension policy.

Germany’s European Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, in charge of the EU’s energy portfolio, has refused to rule out closing power stations if they fail safety reviews.