Leak at Slovenian Nuclear Plant Triggers European Warning System

Krsko NPPOn June 4, 2008 at 17:38 local time, an unspecified amount of coolant spilled out of the primary cooling system at Slovenia's Krsko Nuclear Power Plant. The reactor was immediately shut down and no elevated levels of radioactiivity were detected in the immediate environment. Austrian authorities conducted tests at their border and verified no increase in the area's radiation levels. The International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) classified the incident in the least dangerous category.

Immediately after discovering the problem, Krsko plant personnel notified the European Community Urgent Radiological Information Exchange (ECURIE), an early warning system created in 1987 in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine. This is the first time an alarm has been sent out to ECURIE member states. Some European countries are complaining that the early warning system should not have been activated in this case because there really was no emergency.

Slovenia has been criticized over their handling of the incident. Initial reports from the Krsko authorities indicated Austria was conducting a drill. The report was quickly corrected and the error attributed to the use of an incorrect form for reporting the incident. Austria's Environment Minister Josef Proll noted that even though there was apparently no radiation leak at Krsko, their faith in Slovenia's early warning system has been damaged.

The Krsko facility has been operating for 31 years and provides 20% of Slovenia's electrical needs and 15% of Croatia's. The ECURIE member states include all 27 European Union nations and Switzerland. Turkey has also been invited to join.

Photo: © 2005 Nuklearna elektrarna Krško – All Rights Reserved

2 Comments

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