Business, Economics and Jobs

France orders major nuclear site upgrades – to prevent Fukushima-style disaster


This file photo taken on February 28, 2012 shows a journalist looking at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the town of Okuma, Fukushima prefecture.

PARIS, France — The French nuclear safety authority has ordered 10 billion euros worth of upgrades to the country's nuclear power stations, warning that a Fukushima-style disaster lies ahead, Les Echos reported.

The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) also proposed the urgent creation of a rapid reaction force capable of sending specialized teams and equipment to the scene of an accident anywhere in the country within 24 hours. It wants the force to be up and running by the end of the year.

More from GlobalPost: Japan looks set to power up nuclear reactors despite protest

Presenting nearly 1,000 recommendations aimed at securing French reactors, ASN chief Jean-Christophe Niel – referred to as the "French nuclear gendarme" said: “A lot of people think that Fukushima is behind us, in fact it’s ahead of us.”

The ASN ordered major works to be carried out on France’s 32 nuclear reactors, which Radio France Internationale reported was likely to last several years.

Work will be carried out on 19 stations operated by EDF, eight sites by French nuclear giant Areva and 5 by the Atomic Energy Commission, the CEA – with EDF estimating the total bill running to about 10 billion euros, Le Figaro reported.

More from GlobalPost: Banking on Africa's poor

Each reactor will also be equipped with a bunker command post that will allow the site to remain functional in the event of an earthquake or flood.

EDF said it had "already initiated a plan of action" to comply with the requirements of the ASN.