Dutch safety watchdog urges improved nuclear cooperation

AP News
Posted: Jan 31, 2018 6:44 AM

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Dutch safety watchdog said Wednesday that cross-border cooperation with neighboring Germany and Belgium needs to be improved to ensure the nations are properly prepared to deal with a nuclear accident that could impact all three countries.

The Dutch Safety Board issued a report amid public concern over the safety of Belgian nuclear plants Doel and Tihange, but also looked at the Borselle and Emsland nuclear power plants in the Netherlands and Germany.

The board assessed that the chance of a serious accident at one of the plants is small, but that if it were to happen the countries need to coordinate crisis management.

"The Dutch Safety Board has concluded that cooperation has partly been arranged on paper, but that it probably will not run smoothly if a nuclear accident were to occur in reality," the board said.

In addition to improving crisis planning, the countries need to conduct more joint exercises and arrange coordination of measures they would take in the event of an accident, the board said, adding that it "takes a positive view" of cooperation between the three countries aimed at preventing a nuclear accident.

Preparations to protect residents against radiation in the event of a nuclear accident, differ between the three countries, "creating a risk of residents on one side of the border receiving instructions that differ from those received on the other side of the border. This could lead to confusion and unrest," the board concluded.