SNP MEP Raises EU Questions on Krsko Nuclear Scare

05 June 2008

Scottish National Party Member of the European Parliament and alternate Member of the Industry, Research and Energy Committee Mr Alyn Smith has today (Thursday) questioned the workings of the EU wide nuclear alarm system after it was triggered by the Krško plant in Slovenia, though queried why a great deal of information appears still unclear.

Mr Smith said:

"Yesterday's EU-wide nuclear alarm demonstrates just how interconnected the EU is. Scotland may be a distance from Slovenia but as the Chernobyl disaster demonstrated we are not immune to the fall out, literally and politically from the policies of other countries. We can but hope that the most ardent advocates of nuclear power will look at this incident and acknowledge that nuclear power does not come without significant risk.

"While the European Commission and the ECURIE (European Community Urgent Radiological Information Exchange) may well be pleased at the way the system operated, many significant questions remain unanswered. Why was the alarm not issued after the serious incidents in the Försmark plant in Sweden or the Brunsbüttel plant in Germany? For a clearer picture it would be important to know how often ECURIE has activated this warning system in the past.

"We still do not know the exact content of the announcement from Slovenia that led to the warning system being activated. What kind of technical problem occurred in the primary cooling system?

"The Commission must also explain why an increase in radiation levels was recorded on 3 June, the night before the alarm was sounded. Up to now we have only information on radiation measurements of the air, not of sewage water.

"We also want to know whether the cooling system in the power plant is now working adequately. This is of real significance and real concern: even if a reactor is shut down, for days afterwards there must be an enormous controlled emission of heat to avoid disaster.

"While the alert system may be working this incident is very much ongoing and we must watch carefully to ensure the safety of the Slovenian and European public."