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Greenpeace has called for an independent expertise on the technical flaws at a nuclear power plant in Switzerland. It warned against downplaying the impact of the incident.

The environmental group said the weak spots in the pressure vessel - found during regular maintenance work by the operators of the Beznau 1 station and reported last week – made it necessary to examine the other four nuclear reactors in Switzerland.

“We want at least an independent panel of experts to advise the Nuclear Safety Inspectorate,” Florian Kasser of Greenpeace said on Wednesday.

The official regulatory body is under too much pressure from the operators of the Beznau reactors to carry out a reliable examination according to Kasser.

He said he hoped they would take enough time for a comprehensive check-up even beyond the October deadline for the reactor to be restarted.

Greenpeace also believes that the weak spots in the 15cm steel covering of the pressure vessel would force the operators to give up the world’s oldest nuclear power reactor soon.

Regulator

For its part, the Nuclear Safety Inspectorate has reiterated that the investigation is ongoing and it would include foreign experts for the technical analysis.

“Of course we will only give the green light for the Beznau 1 plant to resume operations if there are no safety risks,” a statement said.

Parliament in 2011 agreed in principle to phase out nuclear energy, but political wrangling over the exact date of the shutdown of the individual reactors is underway.

The House of Representative began discussions on the country’s future energy policy last December. The Senate is due to tackle the package in September.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch



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