Japan’s Nuclear Crisis Jolts EU Energy Ministers
Energy ministers, nuclear experts and representatives from energy companies met on Tuesday to discuss how to co-ordinate the European Union’s nuclear strategy.
This comes in the wake of the potential catastrophe Japan is facing with nuclear power plant explosions after a powerful earthquake devastated the region.
EU Commissioner for energy Guenther Oettinger said ahead of the meeting that the European Union must consider whether the bloc can one day move away from nuclear energy.
Sweden environment minister Andreas Carlsgren says the EU should learn from Japan’s experience but not be hasty.
[Andreas Carlgren, Sweden Environment Minister]:
“Security issues are not new for Sweden, they are not either new for Europe, so we should rather use our common experience here both to judge and to learn more.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany would shut down all seven of its nuclear power plants that began operating before 1980, at least till June.
That will leave only 10 nuclear stations still generating under a nuclear policy moratorium.
Nuclear-free Austria called on Monday for stress tests for European Union power plants.
The Chief executive of German energy company RWE says the industry was ready to work hand in hand with the government.
[Jurgen Grossman, CEO, German Energy Co. RWE]:
„We will help in a professional and constructive way during the time of this moratorium to conduct testing and check technical requirements so that all questions are answered. We have this time and then we will discuss again.“
Poland and Bulgaria both plan to go ahead with their nuclear program.
Greenpeace announced on Monday that a new power plant was being built in a region of Bulgaria prone to earthquakes.
The fact that the European Union is questioning its nuclear policy marks a dramatic turnaround for a continent that had been considering a partial nuclear revival – until this week when Japan’s nuclear accident highlighted how quickly events can become out of control.