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German reactors not quake-proof, experts say

The Local · 15 Mar 2011, 11:08

Published: 15 Mar 2011 11:08 GMT+01:00

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Expecting powerful earthquakes should be part of safety planning and construction plans for the country’s nuclear power facilities, but this is not the case, geoscientist Eckhard Grimmel told daily Augsburger Allgemeine.

“German nuclear power plants would probably not withstand the historic quakes in central Europe, such as the Basel earthquake of 1356,” the expert from the University of Hamburg’s institute for geography said.

Along the Rhineland region fault line, which runs between Basel and Frankfurt, earthquakes measuring stronger than six on the Richter scale have regularly been measured in the past, said Gottfried Grünthal, earthquake expert GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences.

“Such quakes could always happen again,” he told the paper.

Meanwhile Grimmel criticized the German government for continuing to ignore the risks.

“It’s frivolous, which I’ve repeatedly decried and told the regulatory authorities,” he said.

In 1988, Grimmel served among the accident assessors who had the Mülheim-Kärlich nuclear power plant’s licence revoked for insufficient earthquake protection – a decision upheld by Germany’s courts.

But president of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), Wolfram König, told daily Passauer Neue Presse that German nuclear security standards were sufficient.

Still, a reassessment would now be conducted, he said.

Story continues below…

“In Japan everyone assumed that there would never be a 9.0-strong earthquake,” he told the paper. “But nature didn’t hold to that.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday imposed a three-month moratorium on a planned extension of Germany's nuclear power plants. Several of the country's older reactors could be shut down as a result.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:12 March 15, 2011 by tallady
How do we replace the loss of energy from these nuclear facilities? I can only come to the conclusion that our usage will have to decrease,if that is the case, then we should expect to pay a lot more for safer energy,,ok for some but for many who's family budgets are already stressed this will be a major problem.

Someone pointed out on the other nuclear article that it is the tax payer who pays in the end for nuclear power,then it will be the tax payer who will have to subsidize the people living on the edge of the income stream for electric energy.

Do we have an immediate solution for safe affordable electric energy??? I am no expert so perhaps someone out there is and can give us some knowledgeable information.
12:25 March 15, 2011 by The-ex-pat
How do we replace the lost power? Easy, build new coal/gas fired stations and then charge the car driver with a tax increase to off set the carbon trading charges......
12:38 March 15, 2011 by ron1amr
Even seismologists could not predict the strength of the last earthquake tsunami.

News articles say we cant control nature. This may be true. But I feel we are adding to the strain of events taking place. Seismologists even say there is an unusually high level of earthquake activity. The frequencies of earthquakes world wide. There was an earthquake in Christchurch which was not in the fault line. Whats going to happen next week? Or the week after that? David Suzuki said we are changing the whole chemistry of the earth. But what he says and what he has been saying 20 years ago falls on deaf ears and companies and investors keep on doing what they are doing. The same with nuclear energy. You are playing with something similar to fire. And now the time has come when it comes back and bites us in the backside. How many leaking nuclear ships lay on the ocean floor?
17:22 March 15, 2011 by Freeman
Having some very volatile scenarios to establish power marks is what I can see here. "accommodating today and tomorrows generations " Safe and clean ..

Of course should catastrophe occur (were still in clear because) we run every multinational .....bLAH, bLAH . Unforeseen., underesimated.. Oops.. never Discuss about those other factors in public
03:40 March 16, 2011 by berfel
Tokyo-like rolling blackouts in Berlin.

The Greens won't be pleased. "Their future" too soon.
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