Compromise found in EU nuclear safety testing row
European nations split over whether to include the threat of terror attacks in stress tests to be carried out on the continent's reactors have reached a key compromise, diplomats said Friday.
Tests will be divided into two categories -- safety tests to see whether plants can survive ageing and natural disasters, and security tests that will include terror attacks and other man-made disasters, sources told AFP.
The solution was found by national nuclear safety regulators but has yet to be agreed by Austria, Germany and the European Union executive arm, the European Commission. The three hold-outs will decide whether to sign on by Wednesday.
The compromise follows a breakdown in talks in Brussels the previous day among the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG), which is to reconvene May 19 and 20 in Prague to find a joint response to safety fears in the wake of Japan's nuclear disaster.
EU energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger wanted stringent and exhaustive checks to take into account human factors, cyber attacks and plane crashes.
"The public expects credible stress tests covering a wide range of risks and safety issues," he said on Thursday. "This is what we are working on."
But he faced the all-powerful nuclear lobby in France and Britain, with London in particular resisting pressure to design far-reaching simulations including terror attacks, sources said.
Paris and London between them control more than half the 143 nuclear power plants in service in the EU, where 14 of the 27 nuclear states have nuclear generators.
(c) 2011 AFP