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Paks part of European nuclear power plant stress tests

Paks Erőmű, Hungary's sole nuclear power plant, has undergone a stress test along with nuclear power plants across the European Union, the European Commission said on Thursday.

"The standards of safety of nuclear power plants in Europe are generally high but further improvements in the safety features of almost all European nuclear power plants are recommended," the Commission said, summarizing the results of the tests.

The stress tests looked at the safety features in the light of the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident. They pointed out several areas where the highest international standards and best practices are not applied, such as earthquake risk, flooding risk, minimum seismic hazard levels, the storage of equipment to fight severe accidents and on-site seismic instruments.

The Commission said measures taken at Paks Erőmű allow the plant to withstand earthquakes that it would have not been able to endure in its original form. The test also showed that the plant is well-protected against floods from the nearby Danube River or a potential dam burst. The Commission also welcomed the part of Hungarian legislation that requires preparing worst-case scenarios for extending the life expectancy of any nuclear reactors.

The Commission also made recommendations about certain subsystems at Paks. These include further strengthening the level of protection of plant structures against rain drainage and extreme weather conditions and devising a solution to reduce radioactive release to the environment in case of a long term severe accident.