5 May 2011

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Background

Practical Information

 

EU Sustainable Energy Week: Commission announces action on smart meters for more savings

Between 11 and 15 April 2011, more than 30 000 participants in 43 countries discussed energy efficiency and renewable energy during the 2011 edition of the EU Sustainable Week.

The European Commission organised this core event in Brussels in order to debate on the best use of energy efficiency and renewable energy across Europe and show concrete examples how to increase both. It  announced the next steps to deploy smart grids throughout Europe and give consumers more possibilities to control their consumption and save more energy.

EU Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger said: "When it comes to energy production and consumption, Europe needs more than ever to be on a sustainable path. It is time to invest in higher energy efficiencies and a wider use of renewable sources: this is the best way forward to ensuring safe and competitive energy for us and children. The smart grids and the use of smart meters are key for a better use of energy."

 

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Background

Nuclear energy: Objectives of the proposed WENRA 'Stress tests' specifications

 

The accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan triggered the need for an immediate and coordinated response from the EU, aiming to identify potential further improvements, in line with the fundamental principle of the continuous improvement of nuclear safety.

 

On 25 March 2011, the Heads of States and Governments of the EU Member States, reunited in the European Council, concluded that the safety of all EU nuclear plants should be reviewed, on the basis of comprehensive and transparent risk and safety assessments ('stress tests')

 

What is WENRA?

 

WENRA is a network of Chief Regulators of 16 EU Member States and Switzerland, as well as of other interested European countries which have been granted observer status. During their plenary meeting of 23-23 March 2011, WENRA developed a technical definition of the 'stress tests', as well as an initial approach on how they should be applied to nuclear facilities across Europe in terms of methodology and timeframe.

 

Main elements of the WENRA proposal:

 

  • The "stress tests" are defined as a targeted reassessment of the safety margins of nuclear power plants in the light of the events which occurred at Fukushima: extreme events challenging the plant safety functions and leading to a severe accident. 

  • This reassessment will consist in a verification of the preventive measures and in an evaluation of the response of a nuclear power plant when facing a set of extreme situations, chosen following a defence-in-depth logic (initiating events, consequential loss of safety functions, severe accident management issues).

  • For a given plant, the reassessment will report on the effectiveness of the preventive measures and on the response of the plant, noting any potential weak point and cliff-edge effect, for each of the considered extreme situations.

  • The licensees have the prime responsibility for safety. Hence, it is up to the licensees to perform the reassessments, and to the regulatory bodies to independently review them.

  • During the regulatory reviews, interactions between European regulators will be necessary and will be managed through WENRA or ENSREG as needed. 

 

[WENRA proposal – 'Stress tests' specifications]

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More information: Nuclear energy on DG ENER Website

 

 

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