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EU Energy Ministers to Discuss Stress Tests for Nuclear Plants

March 15 (Bloomberg) -- European Union energy ministers will discuss a proposal for stress tests on nuclear-power plants today as engineers in Japan battle to prevent a meltdown at a nuclear facility following the recent earthquake and tsunami.

“This is an idea that needs to be considered and should be debated,” Marlene Holzner, spokeswoman for Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, told reporters in Brussels today.

Energy ministers, power companies and regulators are meeting to discuss nuclear-plant safety in Europe after the Japanese disaster and will explore what measures might need to be taken to prevent such an incident happening in the EU. The purpose of the meeting will be take stock and gather information, Holzner said.

Japan is facing its worst nuclear disaster since World War II with radiation leaks and the prospect of a meltdown at reactors at its Fukushima plant following a record 8.9-magnitude temblor and a tsunami. Austrian Environment Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich yesterday called for stress tests on European nuclear plants.

“It’s necessary to give security to the European people,” Berlakovich said in Brussels. “We need stress tests for our nuclear power plants. That is absolutely necessary.”

Holzner today called the prospect of a similar earthquake in Europe “highly unlikely.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Clapham in Brussels at aclapham@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net

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