- Title: BELGIUM: EU energy chief warns of futher catastrophe at Japan's nuclear site
- Date: 17th March 2011
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (FILE) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF EU PARLIAMENT WITH EU FLAG FLOATING
- Embargoed: 1st April 2011 13:00
- Location: Belgium, Belgium
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes,European Union
- Reuters ID: LVA3HQPK84YDO9KCC290NRVDWUGK
- Story Text: Europe's energy chief warned on Wednesday (March 16) of a further catastrophe at Japan's nuclear site "in the coming hours" but his spokeswoman said he had no specific or privileged information on the situation.
''One can say the plant is beyond any professional control,'' EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told a Committee of the European Parliament.
The world was ''between a disaster and a major disaster'', Oettinger also said.
"One has to be basically concerned that the whole thing is in God's hand and therefore there can be in the next hours catastrophical developments and there is certainly danger for the health and lives of the people on the island."
When asked, his spokeswoman said his prediction of a catastrophe in the hours ahead was not based on any specific privileged information.
Financial markets dived after Oettinger's comments.
Oettinger's experts are relying largely on a mixture of reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the international media to monitoring Japan's nuclear crisis.
Since the crisis emerged, Oettinger has moved quickly to try to forge a pan-European response in an area where the European Commission has rarely intervened in the past.
Oettinger said on Tuesday (March 15) that all 148 nuclear power plants in Europe should go through ''stress tests''. He said not all may pass the test.
The European Union and Switzerland have 148 nuclear reactors between them, 19 of which are boiling water reactors as used at Fukushima in Japan, but only two of those are of a similar design, industry body Foratom says.
Oettinger, previously the governor of Germany's Baden-Wuerttenberg, was appointed commissioner for energy in January 2010.
His main focus has so far been on overhauling Europe's energy infrastructure to accept more renewable energy sources.
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