Swiss Axpo dismisses nuclear safety report
London, 19 October (Argus) — Swiss utility Axpo today dismissed the results of a study commissioned by German federal state Baden-Wurttemberg that declared the country's Beznau reactors unsafe.
The state commissioned German research institute Oko-Institut to test the safety of Switzerland's Beznau reactors, which have a combined capacity of 730MW, and France's 1.7GW Fessenheim nuclear plant. The study used the same assessment criteria as when Germany's nuclear watchdog evaluated the safety of German reactors following the March 2011 nuclear accident at Japan's Fukushima-Daiichi plant.
“Fessenheim and Beznau are far from meeting basic safety standards for nuclear reactors,” Baden-Wurttemberg environment minister Franz Untersteller said today.
But Swiss utility Axpo dismissed this conclusion, saying “the Beznau nuclear plant (KKB) has recently passed the EU stress test with flying colours and it performed better than the nuclear reactors in Baden-Wurttemberg”. The utility will now review the study in depth.
Baden-Wurttemberg, where Germany's anti-nuclear Green Party is the senior coalition partner in the state government, also harshly criticised the Fessenheim reactor.
Closing the plant by the end of 2016, as envisaged by French president Francois Hollande, would be “too late”, Untersteller said.
The study concluded that Beznau and Fesseheim have “significant security-related weaknesses” in terms of their fuel storage tanks, electric power supply, cooling water supply and protection against earthquakes and floods.
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