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Sweden launches review of nuclear security

TT/The Local/pvs · 30 Mar 2011, 14:47

Published: 30 Mar 2011 14:47 GMT+02:00

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The review, announced in response to the incidents at the Fukushima plant in Japan, will include stress tests on contingency plans to cope with a total loss of electricity supply.

"We will also look at what would happen in the instance of extreme weather events, such as ice storms," said SSM director-general Ann-Louise Eksborg.

The launch of the stress tests are in part a result of an EU decision to open a similar initiative. Further instructions on how the tests are to be conducted will be presented closer to the summer, according to SSM.

"But we don't want to wait. We have already decided on most of the details we will look at, partly based on what we know about the events in Japan," Eksborg said.

Key issues under consideration will include how the cooling of the reactors can cope with an extreme event, as well as how safe the pools for spent fuel are.

"We can't rule out a situation with a long term power outage. We already have mobile devices that use diesel generators, but we will look at all this again," said SSM security expert Lennart Carlsson.

In a separate statement on Wednesday, the Radiation Safety Authority, confirmed that there is no reason for concern over levels of radioactivity in Sweden.

Levels of iodine and cesium were found to be too low to pose any risk to humans or the environment.

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SSM has tasked the Defence Research Agency (Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut - FOI) with measuring radioactivity in the Swedish air.

Following the nuclear accident in Japan, measurements are carried out on a more regular basis. As expected the latest analysis indicates very low levels of iodine 131, cesium 134 and cesium 137.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

20:25 March 30, 2011 by Luke35711
As far as I am concerned, all who supported nuclear power in the past, or want to support it now, should be taking a chartered flight to Japan to help with the clean-up. It's heartbreaking to see this tragedy develop into the worst-case scenario.
21:56 March 30, 2011 by RobinHood
Why haven't they looked into these issues before? It's not as negligent as building nuclear power stations in earthquake and tsunami zones, but seems pretty basic to me.

Building one opposite Copenhagen wasn't exactly neighbourly either. Sweden has huge areas of scarcely populated land untouched for millennia by earthquakes or tsunamis or anything else. Build the next ones way up there please.
00:49 March 31, 2011 by Sebastian_R
It's about time. Quite funny that we "got out of nuclear power" and are still having these old monsters around.

And if you compare Vattenfalls track record in terms of inspection accuracy with that of Tepco, I'm starting to get scared...
01:20 March 31, 2011 by Luke35711

Precisely! Many of my friends claim that Sweden is Japan of Europe. After many years in Sweden, and several business trips to Japan, i am inclined to agree. And I am also beginning to be scarred. "Couldn't happen here" is an old arrogant slogan. Sure there are no earthquakes and Tsunamis in Sweden, but over-confidence is present in vast quantities.
04:30 March 31, 2011 by Sebastian_R
Completely agree - "Couldn't happen here" is pretty short sighted. Also, we're dealing with hopeless bureaucracies. Of course nobody foresees a Tsunami in Sweden (well - nobody thought that it would happen like it happened in Japan either) but the bitter lesson learned is that nuclear power stations are extremely dependent on power for weeks after they have been "switched off". So no everybody is rushing to "fix" this issue.

And while we fix that, we ignore that none of these monsters can withstand a bigger plane crash (guess that nobody could "foresee" 9/11 either but we have been good at ignoring this kind of threat ever since).

Oh what irony that we can't even bring a bottle of water onto our planes but then we have nuclear power stations that can render entire countries uninhabitable for centuries conveniently located right next to our biggest cities. How stupid are we as a society?
07:17 March 31, 2011 by hjoian
"how stupid are we as a society?"

Where do you want to start? The fact is electric consumption by the population seems to be growing,perhaps you need to curb the amount of electrical devices in the home,and the peoples dependence on them. Im no energy expert,but Denmarks wind farms did not work out as hoped,to supply power without emmissions, nuclear was deemed the only sensible way to go for a lot of countries. Foresight is a beautifull thing, but as always,to be human is to make mistakes and not learn by them......so shall be the eventual downfall of the majority of the human race. Cheers
13:22 March 31, 2011 by Sebastian_R
Well, that's where I don't quite agree: Wind, water and sun work - if you want them to work. Sure you have to invest into your grid and the big energy suppliers will never want them (it threatens their monopoly) but they work. And countries like Norway have more than enough water power to export to other countries.

The big issue with nuclear power is that it is "seemingly cheap" but has huge potential externalities: If something goes wrong it's never the Vattenfalls of this world that pay, it's every single one of us. And who dares to say cheap if we don't even know where to place the nuclear waste?
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