March 14, 2011 / 4:33 PM / 8 years ago

Factbox: European states react to nuclear safety fears

LONDON (Reuters) - As Japan scrambles to prevent a nuclear catastrophe after Friday’s earthquake damaged a number of plants, European governments are stepping up efforts to assess nuclear safety in their own countries.

Below are summaries of responses to nuclear safety across Europe so far.

GERMANY

Chancellor Angela Merkel suspended on Monday her coalition government’s decision to grant operational lifetime extension to nuclear power plants.

Merkel said on Saturday that Germany’s nuclear plants were safe and that the country did not face a threat from a serious earthquake or a violent tidal wave like the one which hit Japan.

SWITZERLAND

Switzerland has suspended the approval process for three new nuclear power stations in order to revisit safety standards, Energy Minister Doris Leuthard said on Monday.

The Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) has also been requested to carry out safety checks at Switzerland’s existing nuclear power plants, the ministry of the environment, transport, energy and communications (UVEK) added.

FINLAND

Finland will review the safety of its nuclear reactors, the Minister of Economic Affairs Mauri Pekkarinen told Reuters on Monday.

BRITAIN

Britain’s Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said on Sunday he had commissioned the Chief Nuclear Inspector to compose a thorough report on the implications of the situation in Japan and the lessons to be learned.

The Health and Safety Executive said it was too early to say whether there would be any impact on the body’s work to regulate Britain’s nuclear new build programme.

EUROPEAN UNION

Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Monday that a special European Union summit on nuclear safety should look into the legal, technical, economic and political consequences of Japan’s nuclear crisis.

BULGARIA

Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov said on Monday Bulgaria will seek additional details and guaranteed on the safety of its planned new nuclear reactor at Belene.

POLAND

Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Sunday that Poland will stick to plans to build its first nuclear plant in 2020.

“Our plants will be built to provide maximum security, also in such scenarios, but let’s be honest Poland is not a seismically active country,” Tusk said.

SWEDEN

Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said late on Sunday that a 2009 decision to allow existing nuclear reactors to be replaced at the end of their lifetime “still stands.

CZECH REPUBLIC

The Czech Republic has no immediate plans to review its atomic expansion plans, the country’s nuclear safety office chief said on Monday.

FRANCE

French green groups called on Saturday for France to end its dependence on nuclear power, saying Japan’s radiation leak showed there were no safety guarantees in the industry.

Compiled by Karolin Schaps

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