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Cernavoda nuclear plant may have to undergo quake resistance test

During an extraordinary meeting that European Com­missioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger convened on Tuesday in Brussels, the representatives of the bodies that supervise the production of nuclear energy in the EU decided to subject their nuclear power plants to stress tests that would simulate earthquakes, tsunamis and terrorist attacks. Oettinger pointed out that the stress tests will be “conducted by independent experts throughout the year.” Attending the meeting in Brussels, Vajda Borbala, President of Romania’s National Commission for the Control of Nuclear Activities (CNCAN), stated for ‘Gandul’ daily that “the testing method hasn’t been established yet. We will have to conduct an analysis based on regional characteristics. Many nuclear power plants are located in the middle of the continent and there’s no point in testing their resistance in the face of tsunamis. On the other hand, we have to see the technical data of the disaster in Japan in order to have a better idea about the problems they faced there.”
Borbala pointed out that the proposal to stress test nuclear power plants came from Austria (a country whose nuclear units are exclusively meant for scientific experiments) and faced no objection. “Germany announced that it will shut down all nuclear power plants commissioned before 1980 and will not invest in prolonging its power plants’ lifespan,” the CNCAN President said. 6 out of 17 German nuclear reactors were commissioned before 1980 and one was commissioned that very year. In 2001 it was decided to shut them down starting in 2008.


A nuclear reactor has a lifespan of 30-40 years. That lifespan can be extended by up to another 10 years through significant investment. All six nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant were commissioned before 1980 (the first in March 1971, the last in October 1979).


According to a ranking put together by Radio Free Europe, Cernavoda is one of the five more dangerous nuclear plants, quoting research by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).


SMALL MAGNITUDE QUAKE IN VRANCEA


A 3.1 magnitude quake occurred in Vrancea yesterday morning, according to the National Earth Physics Institute, quoted by Realitatea.net. The quake happened 127 km underground and was not felt in any area of the country. The quake comes a few days after Russian seismologists warned about a possible major quake, measuring over seven degrees on the Richter scale, in Vrancea in the near future.

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