Borssele nuclear power plant passes stress test

Operator EPZ has carried out complementary safety analysis on the Borssele nuclear plant for unlikely risks such as extreme weather, floods, earthquakes, power failure and attacks. This stress test is being carried out on all 143 nuclear power stations in the European Union.

According to EPZ the plant is well able to withstand the investigated risks. For example, it can withstand floods up to 8.55 m. The design requirement is 7.3 m. During the North Sea Flood disaster of 1953 the water reached a maximum height of 4.7 m.

“The initial results give absolutely no reason to question the safety of the Borssele plant,” said Maxime Verhagen, Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (EL&I). “The performance and results of the test will be audited before I draw any definitive conclusion. When it comes to safety we do not take decisions lightly.”

The Kernfysische Dienst (KFD), the independent regulator of nuclear installations in the Netherlands, will carry out the checks on the stress test. Minister Verhagen will present the final results to the Dutch Parliament and the European Commission at the end of December.

EPZ indicates in its stress test report that there are ways to make the plant even safer: over and above the safety requirements set by the Government. For this reason EPZ intends shortly to take some actions, for example to review operational procedures and invest in extra pumps.

Minister Verhagen welcomes EPZ’s intentions. “When it comes to safety we can never sit back and relax. It’s good to have had the stress test carried out.” The operator of the nuclear plant has a statutory duty to take measures in the light of any new insight or developments concerning safety.

The European Commission will publish its definitive report in June 2012. The EU Member States will then decide whether there are nuclear power stations that need to be closed or where measures need to be taken.