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EU fails to agree on nuclear stress tests

 European Union Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger speaks during a media conference at the EU Council building in Brussels, Monday, March 21, ...

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European Union Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger speaks during a media conference at the EU Council building in Brussels, Monday, March 21, ...

An emergency meeting called by EU energy ministers because of the nuclear crisis in Japan failed Monday to agree on strict and binding criteria for testing the bloc's 143 nuclear power plants.
Germany's Economy and Energy Minister Rainer Bruederle said none of the ministers directly opposed EU-wide security checks but it was impossible to decide on short notice since there was such disparity between the different power plants and government policies.
Bruederle told a news conference there will be a renewed push for strict tests at a two-day summit of European Union leaders starting Thursday.
He said common criteria are necessary since he is "not sure that everyone will proceed with the high demands that we are planning to use in Germany."
Last week, Germany decided that that seven reactors that went into operation before 1980 would be kept offline for three months while Europe's biggest economy reconsiders its plans to extend the life of its atomic power plants.
Bruederle acknowledged an immediate exit from nuclear power generation was impossible. "We need electricity supply to create economic progress," Bruederle said.
France, a big user of nuclear power plants, remained a robust supporter of them.
France's Energy Minister Eric Besson said it was his "profound conviction that nuclear energy will stay in Europe and the world one of the core energies in the 21st century."
But Austria led a group of five EU nations that questioned the use of continued nuclear energy.
Monday's EU meeting was called because of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan that crippled its Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. Traces of radiation are tainting vegetables and some water supplies, and China, Japan's biggest trading partner, has ordered testing of Japanese food imports for radiation contamination.


Updated : 2021-04-12 11:48 GMT+08:00