Page last updated at 17:33 GMT, Monday, 12 March 2012

MEPs mark Fukushima anniversary

The European Commission has been urged not to bring in "rushed legislation" on nuclear power, during a debate to mark the first anniversary of the Japanese earthquake and subsequent nuclear meltdown at Fukushima.

During the debate on 12 March 2012, British Conservative MEP Sajjad Karim pointed to the forthcoming results of "stress tests" that are being undertaken on all nuclear facilities across the EU.

The results of the tests - designed to check the ability of the nuclear plants to withstand major disasters - are due in June, although Mr Karim said the response to the tests should be "sensible, proportionate and based on facts", warning that hasty reaction could lead to "negative consequences for safety and energy security".

Almost 16,000 people were killed by the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011 with thousands more made homeless.

The subsequent release of radiation at the Fukushima plant led to widespread evacuations, as well as health fears, and concerns that the food and water supply in much of the region would be contaminated.

Around 30% of all electricity in the EU is generated through nuclear power, although there are differing views over the use of nuclear.

France is a major user of nuclear power; while German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that Germany will undergo a "measured exit" from nuclear power.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz, himself a German MEP, said that even though the choice of whether to use nuclear power was a decision to be taken by national governments, he warned that "we are all interconnected and all countries have neighbours".

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.


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