On Thursday, Guenther Oettinger, the European Union energy chief, and European nuclear regulators plan to meet and draft up parameters for safety tests of the 143 reactors in Europe in the wake of the Fukushima atomic crisis in Japan.
However, there is controversy in the scope and parameters of the actual test. Regulators from Europe’s nuclear stations are pushing for the test to be limited to just natural disasters while Oettinger and other officials are pushing for the tests to include man-made scenarios, such as cyber-terrorism, terror attacks, and plane crashes.
Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President, also feels that “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.” Though he made no direct reference to plane crashes of terrorism, his office reported that he had the same position as Oettinger.
European nuclear regulators insist that conducting extensive, comprehensive tests on terror risks is not a possible scenario in the time they will be given. Andre-Claude Lacoste, the head of the French nuclear safety regulator, said that it was “not possible to conduct serious tests on the terror risk in such a short delay.” Yet Barroso and Oettinger have told the European Parliament that they will refuse to settle for “softer stress tests.”
Even while there is controversy on the subject, Barroso remains optimistic and is hopeful that they can come to an agreement by tomorrow.