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WENRA proposes safety goals for new nuclear reactors

News brief

ACTIVITIES / REACTORS AND SERVICES

July 07, 2010

On July 6, the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA) proposed safety goals for new nuclear power reactors built in Europe. Seventeen nuclear regulatory authorities from Western Europe are represented in WENRA. The goals are in complete alignment with those set by the French nuclear safety authority ASN for reactors such as the EPR™ reactor.

The safety goals for new reactors factor in lessons learned from the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents in 1979 and 1986. Compared with reactors currently in operation, the goals concern in particular:

  • reduction of the risk of an accident with core meltdown,
  • reduction of radioactive releases to the environment in the event of a core meltdown (the EPR™ achieves this goal with its corium catcher), and
  • resistance to aircraft crashes, a goal that was reinforced following the events of September 11, 2001.

The design of the EPR™ reactor meets these criteria.

ASN stresses the need for "top-down alignment” of nuclear safety and radiation protection requirements worldwide, indicating that “as concerns international exports of reactors that do not meet these safety goals, [the ASN] does not hesitate to say that such reactors could not be built in France."