To “learn” from the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident, as the IAEA is to recommend, no doubt, the EU is going to conduct the “stress test” for the 143 reactors in Europe to see how Europe’s nuclear facilities are able to withstand natural or man-made disasters.
The test is voluntary, and as one German MEP (member of European Parliament) contends, the check is “largely in the hands of operators”.
It’s just like the so-called “stress test” devised by the US Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve to assure the world that the US banking system was safe and sound, in the wake of September-November 2008’s financial disaster that crashed the financial markets and triggered the worldwide recession. The “test” was not “voluntary” but the Treasury and the Fed handpicked which banks to do the “test”. The banks knew exactly what they would be tested for, because for the most part they were the ones who told the regulators what parameters to test.
That should be very familiar to the Japanese, too. In Japan, at least in the past, when the fire department or the public health department conducted safety checks on the public facilities (hotels, restaurants, etc.) they used to “warn” those facilities days in advance about the inspection date and what to inspect.
Globalization is truly here.
From BBC News (6/9/2011):
MEPs split over nuclear ‘stress tests’
MEPs have clashed over plans for “stress tests”, which are due to be carried out on nuclear facilities in the EU.
There were angry scenes during the Commission statement on 9 June 2011, which caused Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger to appeal for calm.
Mr Oettinger was outlining plans for the tests – ordered in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster – which are designed to see how Europe’s nuclear facilities are able to withstand natural or man-made disasters.
The so-called stress tests will be performed on Europe’s 143 working reactors and other atomic installations and will consider a range of factors, including seismic activity, flooding, and power loss at reactors.
But German Green MEP Rebecca Harms dismissed the plans as a “paper check” designed to “downplay the risks of nuclear power”.
Ms Harms attacked the voluntary nature of the tests, saying it left the checks “largely in the hands of operators”.
Her comments were dismissed by fellow German MEP Herbert Reul, who described Ms Harms’ opinion as “naïve”.
Mr Reul praised the commissioner, saying that although the plans were “not 100% what we wanted”, they would not be improved by other MEPs “complaining and harking on about it”.
British conservative Giles Chichester protested about the “internal German discussion”, and asked MEPs to focus on “the European issue”.
Germany has recently announced that all of its nuclear power plants will be phased out by 2022, becoming the biggest industrial power to give up nuclear energy.
However Germany’s nuclear industry has argued that an early shutdown would be hugely damaging to the country’s industrial base.
Meanwhile countries including the UK, France and Poland have all announced further development of nuclear energy.
I wonder if there’s an equivalent of “Saturday Night Live” in Europe. I hope they will make a wonderful spoof of this nuke plant “stress test”, much like the SNL spoof on Geithner’s “stress test” for banks. In case you missed that SNL skit from 2009, here it is.