* Commission cannot force member states to apply
* Commission says expects to propose new safety law next
By Barbara Lewis
BRUSSELS, Oct 2 Europe's nuclear reactor fleet
needs investment of 10 billion to 25 billion euros, a draft
Commission report said, following a safety review designed to
ensure there is never a repeat of the Fukushima nuclear
The report is expected to be finalised by Thursday and
debated by EU ministers later this month.
After that, the Commission intends in 2013 to propose new
laws, including on insurance and liability to "improve the
situation of potential victims in the event of a nuclear
accident", the draft seen by Reuters said.
Of the 134 EU nuclear reactors grouped across 68 sites, 111
have more than 100,000 inhabitants living within a circle of 30
Safety regimes vary greatly and the amount that needs to be
spent to improve them is estimated at anywhere between 30
million euros and 200 million euros per reactor unit - or a
total of 10-25 billion across the fleet.
The lesson of Fukushima was that two natural disasters could
hit at the same time and knock out the electrical supply system
of a plant completely, so it could not be cooled down.
The stress test findings include that four reactors, located
in two different nations, have less than one hour available to
restore safety functions if electrical power is lost.
By contrast, four countries operate additional safety
systems fully independent from the normal safety measures and
located in areas well-protected against external events.
A fifth nation is considering that option. The stress tests
are a voluntary exercise to establish whether nuclear plants can
withstand natural disasters, aircraft crashes and management
failures, as well as whether adequate systems are in place to
deal with power disruptions.
All 14 member states that operate nuclear plants took part,
however, as did EU member Lithuania, which is decommissioning
its nuclear units. From outside the 27-member bloc, Switzerland
and Ukraine joined the test regime.
The nuclear stress tests were meant to have been completed
around the middle of the year, but member states were given
extra time to assess more reactors.
Non-governmental organisations are among those who have
criticised the stress tests for not going far enough and having
no power to force the shut-down of a nuclear plant.
The draft report says the stress tests are not a one-off
exercise and will be followed up. Existing legislation also
needs to be enforced, it said.
The deadline for transposing the existing nuclear safety
directive into national law was July 2011. The Commission
started infringement proceedings against 12 member states that
missed that deadline.
To date, two member states have still not complied but the
report did not specified which ones. The Commission does not
comment on leaked drafts. On Monday, the EU energy spokeswoman
said the recommendations were being finalised and would not be
In France, where nuclear provides around 75 percent of the
energy mix, the nuclear watchdog and operator EDF said
they would not comment before seeing the official report.
(Additional reporting by Francesco Guarascio in Brussels and
Michel Rose and Marion Douet in Paris, editing by William Hardy)