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Committee demands greater safety guarantees for nuclear power stations

A PACE committee has spelled out a series of steps governments should take to improve the safety of nuclear power stations in Europe – and minimise the risk of accidents or terror attacks.

The Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development, approving a report at its meeting in Lisbon, said Europeans needed greater “reassurance” that they were being effectively protected against a nuclear accident, whether it be “due to a malevolent act or a system failure”.

In a draft resolution, the committee called for:

• more frequent safety reviews for reactors more than 40 years old
• stronger and more independent national nuclear regulators
• reinforced physical protection of reactors and spent nuclear fuel pools
• measures to stop drones flying over nuclear infrastructure
• a wider protection zone around nuclear plants
• better information for locals on emergency preparedness – including in cross-border situations.

The committee also urged the authorities of Belarus not to issue an operational license for the Ostrovets nuclear power plant, currently being built 45km from the capital of neighbouring Lithuania, without greater protection against earthquakes and a strike from a large aircraft, as well as meeting international safety standards.

The report is due to be debated by the Assembly on Wednesday 10th October, during its Autumn plenary session.