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Submission + - Officials Agree on Global Nuclear Stress Tests

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Bloomberg reports that government ministers and officials from the European Union countries who met to discuss atomic energy safety have agreed to carry out stress tests on reactors to test the capacity of nuclear reactors to withstand major incidents like the earthquake and tsunami that rocked the Fukushima plant in March. “The accident at Fukushima in Japan has affected us all,” says French Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko- Morizet. “It quickly became apparent there is a need to learn lessons from the accident and to improve and raise our standards and ways of cooperating on nuclear safety.” The stress tests will be performed on Europe’s 143 working reactors and other atomic installations. "You have to move the safety envelope," says Roger Mattson, former leader of the US task force that investigated the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979, and an organizer of the group issuing the letter. "You have to take these severe accidents into account and do more to prevent the very low-probability events." Mattson added that the added safety measures likely to result from a more demanding look at nuclear plant vulnerabilities should not impose unreasonable costs on most plants. "I don't think it's breaking the bank," Mattson said in an interview. "A higher sea wall [at the Fukushima Daiichi plant] wouldn't have broken the bank compared to what Japan will have to pay without the sea wall."

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