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EU proposes tougher nuclear rules

BRUSSELS — The European Commission proposed tougher nuclear safety rules Thursday, amid international debate about the future of nuclear energy and how to secure aging plants.

Stress tests on European nuclear plants prompted by the 2011 disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant showed that almost all of them needed safety improvements. A report on those tests called for more consistency across the 27-nation EU in assessing and managing nuclear safety threats.

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EU nuclear plants already undergo regular tests, but the proposed rules would strengthen that. They include EU-wide safety reviews every six years, and the threat that the EU would send in inspectors if countries don’t do enough to ensure nuclear safety. It would also include a system of peer reviews, allowing national governments to verify their neighbors’ atomic plants.

The rules would need approval by the individual member states before coming into effect, not before next year.

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