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EU funding shortfall for ex-Soviet nuclear plants clean-up
by Staff Writers
Luxembourg (AFP) Feb 8, 2012

The EU faces a shortfall of some 2.5 billion euros to complete de-commissioning of eight ex-Soviet nuclear plants in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia, the European Court of Auditors said Wednesday.

In a damning report, assessing 2.85 billion euros of European Union monies already spent on the clean-up agreed with the three states during negotiations to join the EU, the Luxembourg-based court warned that "major infrastructure projects face delays and cost-overruns."

Covering work done between 1999 and 2010, it said authorities were still in the process of identifying tasks needing completion and warned that costings were incomplete "in the absence of key information on radioactive waste."

The court's inspectors said EU authorities still did not know how safe the sites would be, the report stating that "the degree of mitigation achieved is not known."

The court told the European Commission, the EU executive, to draw up a new schedule of works.

It also suggested that funding after 2013, when the EU enters a new, tighter-than-ever budgetary cycle, should rely more on existing grants allocated on the bases of national wealth, population or land mass, as opposed to one-off finance.

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Cold snap forces Germany to restart nuclear reactors: report
Berlin (AFP) Feb 8, 2012 - The cold snap gripping Europe has forced Germany, which decided last year to abandon nuclear power, to bring several reactors back on line, the daily Handelsblatt reports in its Thursday issue.

The cold related surge in electricity demand prompted Germany's network operators to call upon nuclear power plants left in reserve as a "preventative measure", a spokeswoman for Tennet, one of the operators, told the newspaper.

In the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan last March, which prompted radiation to leak at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Germany decided to phase out nuclear power by 2022.

Eight of Germany's 17 reactors were immediately taken off line, but five of them are serving as reserve generators in case electricity demand cannot be met from other sources.

In December, Germany imported power from neighbouring Austria to stabilise its network.


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Prague to scale back nuclear ambition: minister
Prague (AFP) Feb 8, 2012
The Czech Republic is to scale back its nuclear energy ambitions, the industry minister said Wednesday in a newspaper interview. "It wouldn't be realistic to produce up to 80 percent of electricity by way of nuclear power," Martin Kuba told Hospodarske Noviny. "And there isn't enough room (in the Czech Republic) to build new nuclear power plants," he added. The pro-nuclear Czech gove ... read more

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