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Sweden’s Forsmark nuclear plant fails safety standards – internal report

Sweden’s Forsmark nuclear plant fails safety standards – internal report

STOCKHOLM (AFX) – Sweden’s Forsmark nuclear power plant fails to meet standard safety requirements, according to a critical internal report made public six months after a serious incident at the plant.

The internal report, written by Forsmark technicians and released late on Monday, cites ‘a degradation of the company’s security culture over a long period of time’.

An electricity failure at the plant on July 25, 2006, led to the immediate shutdown of the Forsmark 1 reactor after two of four backup generators, which supply power to the reactor’s cooling system, malfunctioned for about 20 minutes.

Some experts have suggested that a potentially catastrophic reactor meltdown was narrowly avoided at the plant, located on Sweden’s east coast. But Swedish authorities have classed it a level-two incident on a scale from zero to seven.

The internal report said lax security has led to ‘potentially fatal accidents’. It cited among other things a nitrogen gas leak, employees handling live electrical wires, falls in the workplace and employees sent home for failing sobriety tests.

The Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate said it has asked prosecutors to investigate whether the Forsmark operator, FKA, broke the law in its response to the malfunction.

When the power supply failed, the reactor was kept warm until the next day. Under regulations, the reactor is supposed to be cooled down as soon as possible.

Green Party spokeswoman Maria Wetterstrand called for an international independent inquiry into Swedish nuclear safety and said Forsmark’s chief executive ought to be replaced.

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