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Parliamentary questions
30 July 2008
Answer given by Mr Piebalgs on behalf of the Commission

1. According to Council Decision 87/600/Euratom(1) when a Member State sends a European Community Urgent Radiological Information Exchange (ECURIE) Alert message, the Commission's responsibility is to authenticate the message and urgently forward it to all Member States. This was promptly done when the first Alert message from Slovenia was received.

2. The first ECURIE Alert message from Slovenia notified a Loss Of Coolant Accident (LOCA) in the Krško-Nuclear power plant primary system with a leak rate of 2.4 cubic metres per hour and that the plant is being shut down. The second Alert message confirmed that the leak was within the containment and there was no radioactive release to the environment.

3. All the information provided by the ECURIE Alert messages (including the leak rate) was in the ECURIE message forwarded to the Member States authorities, including the French authorities.

4. The Commission does not have precise information on the total amount of leaked water. According to information provided by the Slovenian Nuclear Safety Administration (SNSA), the leak took place in the stem seal of an isolation valve of the resistance Temperature Detectors manifold, which is located on the hot leg of the primary circuit loop 2. The exact location of the leak was identified during the evening of 4 June 2008. Repairs could start on 5 June 2008. The valve and a seal package were replaced. The plant was ready for restart on 8 June 2008 afternoon. Following a special regulatory inspection by SNSA, there were no reasons to delay the plant start up. The plant was reconnected to the grid on 9 June 2008.

5. The ECURIE system has two message types: an ECURIE Alert message, which implies an emergency notification under Council Decision 87/600/Euratom and an ECURIE Information message, which is a voluntary notification of smaller events and incidents. The possibility of sending ECURIE Information messages was introduced by the Commission in 2001. Since then, there have been more than 20 information messages.

6. The Krško-Nuclear power plant alert on 4 June 2008 was the first Alert message ever sent through the ECURIE system. It has been subsequently established that event qualifies as one of those that should have been categorised as falling within the scope of the ECURIE Information message.

7. The detectors used to collect data for the EURDEP (European Radiological Data Exchange Platform) system (more than 4 000 stations in total) are influenced not only by the background radiation present in the area of deployment, but also by electronic, cosmic and meteorological effects such as radon washout (temporary increase in level during rain fall). The data spike at the measuring station close to Krško during the night before the event is quite characteristic for such conditions. It should be noted that at no point did the level detected at this location exceed the lowest alarm level set by the authorities.

(1)Council Decision 87/600/Euratom of 14 December 1987 on Community arrangements for the early exchange of information in the event of a radiological emergency, OJ L 371, 30.12.1987.

OJ C 999, 01/01/2009
Last updated: 4 August 2008Legal notice