Berlaymont building in
Brussels “’ headquarters of
the European Commission
Brussels, Belgium — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 11 May 2011 – Europe’s nuclear safety tests should be strengthened to include man-made disasters, such as terrorist attacks or ‘plane crashes, according to European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.

European leaders agreed in March to subject Europe’s 143 reactors to ‘stress tests’ to guard against crises like that at Japan’s stricken Fukushima plant.

But since then, a dispute has broken out between EU energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger, who wants the tests to be as wide-ranging as possible, and the French regulator, who opposes the inclusion of man-made scenarios.

Barroso threw his weight behind Oettinger here today, aiming to put an end to the dispute ahead of a meeting of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) tomorrow, which will aim to agree methodology for the tests.

“These tests should be comprehensive and include the widest range of scenarios, natural and man-made, focusing on their possible impact on the plants’ functioning systems,” Barroso said in a statement. “I hope this can be agreed tomorrow,” he added.

“I will also push for the strengthening of the international legal framework governing nuclear safety, in particular the Nuclear Safety Convention and the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident,” said Barroso.