France to audit nuclear park by end 2011: PM

24th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon on Thursday tasked the country's top nuclear safety body with auditing France's several dozen nuclear reactors by year's end.

"I ask you to carry out a study of safety at nuclear installations, in priority nuclear reactors, in light of the ongoing accident at the Fukushima plant" in Japan, Fillon said in a letter to Andre-Claude Lacoste, head of the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).

The government expected "preliminary conclusions" by the end of 2011, the letter said.

Four days after Japan was struck by the March 11 tsunami that devastated a large swath of coastal Japan and knocked out the six Fukushima reactors, Fillon vowed that the safety of every French reactor would be verified.

"We will not evade any of the questions raised by this catastrophe," he said before the national assembly.

France is proportionally the world's biggest user of nuclear power, with 58 reactors in 19 power plants providing around 75 percent of its electricity needs. Only the United States has more reactors.

Earlier in the week, Lacoste said the Fukushima disaster is "a problem that Japan will have to deal with for decades and decades to come."

© 2011 AFP

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