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Earthquake catastrophes threaten the middle of Europe

Professor Klaus Reicherter, head of the institution of Rhine-Westphalia Technical University, blames planners and constructors of nuclear plants, and politicians ignoring the problems for being irresponsible. Reicherter welcomes the pioneer decision of the German government to temporary turn off a number of nuclear plants, he told Hungarian weekly HVG in an interview.

In his research - soon to be published in the International Journal of Earth Science - Reicherter promised evidence underlining that in the past decades political and economical decision makers and designers of nuclear reactors, power plants and waste deposits committed fatal mistakes, because they did not consider the natural disasters threatening the middle of Europe, mainly Germany.

He explains that it is a myth that Europe is an earthquake-safe region. The results of his research prove that major earthquakes are indeed very likely to occur in the central regions of Europe, for example in North Germany, where there are seven nuclear power plants, and decision makers are considering to plant the biggest waste deposit of Germany and Europe there.

A Spiegel article discussing Reicherter’s research writes that a series of geological studies conducted ten-fifteen-twenty years ago warned about possible natural catastrophes caused by earthquakes. Politicians and decision makers, claiming these emergency scenarios were not very likely to occur, have ignored all these studies. Based on this logic, they started the construction of many nuclear plants before the completion of geological, seismological and structural geological expert opinions.

Reicherter thinks that it is necessary to temporarily shut down nuclear plants in Europe to analyze and consider the earlier ignored scientific expert opinions, and confirms that in nuclear plants where the situation is not reassuring it is indeed necessary to permanently stop operation.

In Japan, architects only considered the mathematical probability of an earthquake reaching 9 on the Richter scale. Even though they were careful enough to take into consideration the prospect of disasters, they simply did not assume that a quake of 9-magnitude would occur, he added.