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EU Lawmakers Divided on Nuclear Safety, Stress Tests

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TEHRAN, April 9 (ICANA) – Members of the European Parliament on Thursday voted against a resolution on the lessons to be drawn for nuclear safety in Europe following the nuclear crisis at Fukushima in Japan.
Saturday, April 09, 2011 10:28:33 AM
EU Lawmakers Divided on Nuclear Safety, Stress Tests

The broad-ranging resolution included a call for voluntary "stress tests" at all EU nuclear reactors to be made mandatory. During a full sitting of the parliament in Strasbourg, 300 MEPs voted against the resolution compared with 264 votes in favor with 61 abstentions. The divisions in parliament reflect wider divisions in Europe.

"There were various points of disagreement between political groups, which in the end led to a majority rejecting the final text," the parliament's press service said.

Large differences of opinion, some within party lines, emerged during a debate on the resolution on Wednesday. Several MEPs expressed concerns that the proposed stress tests would not go far enough, and some questioned the independence of national authorities to carry out the tests in cases where those authorities devised existing safety measures that are now in question.

But other MEPs insisted that national governments should keep their independence on nuclear issues and that the EU should not act in haste to shut down nuclear reactors.

And some expressed concerns over the EU's ability to ensure nuclear safety standards at installations beyond EU borders for example in Belarus and Russia.

The European Commission has a mandate from national governments to devise a methodology for nuclear stress tests, working with nuclear safety regulators, and is due to report back on these later this year when it will also consult the parliament. Thursday's vote in parliament does not affect that process.

As all nuclear safety regulators in Europe agreed to the stress tests on March 23, in practice no nuclear operator can avoid them according to, Andre-Claude Lacoste of French nuclear regulator ASN.

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