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Extra safety recommended for nuclear sites

None of France’s nuclear facilities need be shut down but investments should be made to make them more secure, a report submitted to the government has recommended.

The report was submitted to Prime Minister François Fillon on 3 January by the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN). It is based on inspections of every nuclear facility in the country in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan last March.

It concludes that the 150 installations in France—including 58 pressurised water reactors—are sufficiently secure to be allowed to continue operating under current conditions. However, work should be done to improve security in the event of extreme conditions such as earthquakes, floods and industrial accidents.

The ASN has therefore decided to set tougher regulations on nuclear security. It also plans to establish a national “rapid action force” to respond to nuclear accidents within 24 hours.

The national audit office, the Cour des Comptes, is due to publish a report at the end of January on the cost of nuclear power, which the government has said will provide a clearer picture on how to proceed. Nevertheless, Fillon has instructed ministers to implement all recommendations in the ASN report.