Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sweden: “We're living dangerously" Says Expert as Radiation Leaks Are Discovered

The radiation leaks at a nuclear reactor north of Stockholm went undetected for three years, and the leaks were only the latest in a series of mishaps. Some analysts argue that the outcome was a matter of luck and that a serious accident — even a meltdown — could have happened.

A highly critical internal report from Forsmark plant criticized what it called an "extensive and profound degradation" of the safety culture, describing, among other things, how an alcohol test of 25 workers at the plant resulted in three being sent home for drunkenness.

"It's a bit like a lottery," said Lars-Olov Hoglund, an engineer who was involved in the construction of the plant. More nuclear power plants have since been shut down over the serious safety problems encountered. "These reactors are old," said Lennart Daleus, the secretary general of Swedish Greenpeace. "We're living dangerously."

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