Krsko coolant concern

5 July 2008

A coolant leak at Slovenia’s Krsko nuclear plant sparked diplomatic concern after the European Commission initially told European Union (EU) member states about the incident, but added the message was just a drill.

The European Community Urgent Radiological Information Exchange (ECURIE) nuclear alert system was informed the same day the accident happened. Unfortunately, when this EU body issued a general warning to all EU governments, some were told the message was a training exercise. Slovene environment minister Janez Podobnik later said: “It was genuine human error. The nuclear safety agency has already apologised it used the wrong form.” But the environment minister of next-door Austria Josef Proelle was not happy. “It must be immediately clarified. Why were the directly affected neighbours confronted with a test announcement? This should not happen,” he said.

In any case, following the incident, the Krsko reactor was shut down and “the relatively small leakage remained within the containment building. Slovenian authorities have confirmed that there has been no discharge to the environment,” said the European Commission later. Podobnik added: “There was no need for any protective measures for people and the environment. And only a very minor repair is needed.”

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