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Concern over nuclear safety in central and eastern Europe

MEPs voted to improve safety provisions in nuclear reactors in Eastern Europe in the Strasbourg session of the European Parliament on 11 March 1999.

The resolution called on the European Commission and the European Bank for Regional Development (EBRD) not to grant any funding...
MEPs voted to improve safety provisions in nuclear reactors in Eastern Europe in the Strasbourg session of the European Parliament on 11 March 1999.

The resolution called on the European Commission and the European Bank for Regional Development (EBRD) not to grant any funding for first-generation reactors except for short-term safety improvements and not to grant any Euratom loans for the modernisation of other reactors until there is a clear commitment to close down first-generation reactors considered unsafe.

MEP Gordon Adam (Northumbria, PES) had warned that the European Union (EU) faces problems in its attempts to improve safety in nuclear power stations in central and eastern Europe.

The EU's policy to improve safety in primarily first-generation reactors has been achieved to a certain extent, he said. But there are serious problems related to resentment from the countries concerned over what they perceive as "unwarranted interference" from the EU, which wants to work through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ensure respect for international standards.

Mr Adam argued that EU policy should be based on real cooperation and negotiations and that attempts by the EU to impose its will on the countries concerned was doomed to failure. Agreeing with Mr Adams, the Commission stated that the EU now recognises that it must deal with sovereign states with their own policy towards nuclear energy.

Speaking for the Commission, Hans Van Den Broek said it is not possible to insist on closing down nuclear reactors. But, progress has been made in improving safety standards with, for example, some improvement of operating practices already partially achieved by modernising procedures for the management of nuclear waste.

However, he said that, despite the mammoth cost of making-safe and closing nuclear reactors, the Commission will continue to push for the closure of power stations when modernisation is not possible and closure is the only realistic strategy.
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