Brussels, 08 Dec 2003
An organisation opposed to nuclear energy in France has voiced concerns over the safety of Europe's proposed site for the international thermonuclear experimental reactor (ITER) in Cadarache, in the south of the country.
The 'network for the abolition of nuclear energy' says plans to locate ITER in Cadarache should be cancelled, as there is an active geological fault seven kilometres from the proposed site.
The organisation claims that while the average annual force of tremors is very small, historical records show that the Durance fault can produce destructive earthquakes.
The network also points to a 2001 report by the French nuclear safety authority, which concluded that the area presents a 'significant seismic risk' and recommended the closure of six nuclear facilities on the basis that they were insufficiently resistant to earthquakes.
Supporters of the Cadarache site, however, will point to the existence of safety standards that will ensure that the ITER facility can withstand an earthquake more powerful than any other the area has witnessed for 500 years.
A final decision on where ITER will be built is expected to be made in Washington on 19 or 20 December. The proposed site at Cadarache faces competition from the other favourite in the race, Rokkasho in Japan.
For further information on ITER, please consult the following web address: