Nuclear plant aid `has been wasted.’

Much of the Western effort to improve the safety of the world’s most dangerous nuclear plants in Russia and the Ukraine has been misdirected, a leading industry figure said on Tuesday. Remy Carle, chairman of the World Association of Nuclear Operators, said the economic difficulties of the two countries meant such assistance was critical, but […]

Much of the Western effort to improve the safety of the world’s most dangerous nuclear plants in Russia and the Ukraine has been misdirected, a leading industry figure said on Tuesday.

Remy Carle, chairman of the World Association of Nuclear Operators, said the economic difficulties of the two countries meant such assistance was critical, but that a great deal of the money committed so far had been spent `in a not very efficient way’.

He criticised the international bodies involved, such as the European Union, for spending large amounts on consultants’ reports rather than the hardware – such as valves and sensors – which the nuclear plants needed urgently to make their operation safer.

`The improvement of those plants has not been as it should have been,’ Carle concluded.

But he said there was evidence that safety standards had improved in Russia, the Ukraine and elsewhere in the world since WANO was set up in the wake of 1986 Chernobyl disaster to facilitate the international exchange of information between operators.

Unplanned reactor scrams (emergency shutdowns) had decreased, along with worker radiation doses and industrial accidents on nuclear sites.