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Angela Merkel calls for stress test of nuclear plants in Europe

Germany is pushing the European Union to conduct stress tests on all nuclear plant in Europe. However, some critics doubt that stress tests are the right tool to maintain the safety of nuclear energy production in Europe, and raise the question whether the safety inspections so far weren’t being done properly, if there is a need for such measures.

German chancellor Angela Merkel calls upon the European Union to conduct stress tests on all the nuclear plants located in the member states of the EU after the review of the disaster of Japan’s Fukushima plant. Angela Merkel will meet the other heads of the EU member countries to discuss what they should do to ensure the safety of nuclear plants in Europe.

If European leaders agree to conduct stress tests that would mean a “fundamental” step in order to ensure the future of nuclear power in Europe, Luis Echávarri, director general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Nuclear Energy Agency, said. Echávarri stated, “We cannot accept any plant in Europe that has not gone through this assessment”.

Some critics of the proposal ask questions whether there are real safety issues with the 143 nuclear power plants operating in the bloc. “By proposing stress tests, are leaders saying that the normal safety inspections aren’t being done appropriately?” Mycle Schneider, an independent energy analyst and a critic of the nuclear industry raised the question. “That would be a frightening statement,” he added.

He concluded that rather than stress tests, the review should involve an overhaul of the safety regime and make sure any enhanced inspections are done frequently.