The European 'stress tests' exercise arose out of European Council conclusions on 24 and 25 March that, two weeks after the Fukushima accident was triggered, wanted to submit European nuclear power plants to a complementary safety assessment.
In accordance with the mandate given by the European Council, the final agreement dated 25 May 2011 between the Safety Authorities and the Commission on the specifications for 'stress tests' of these power plants sets the major steps of the process:
- 1 June 2011 at the latest: formal launch of stress tests for European nuclear power reactors in European countries;
- 15 September 2011: each Member State sends ENSREG and the Commission an interim 'national report';
- 31 December 2011: each Member State sends its final national report.
Besides these time-line items, the ENSREG (European Nuclear Safety Regulators' Group) specifications also state that the final national reports will be subject to peer review, from January 2012.
It is added that the European Commission will send an 'interim report' for the European Council meeting on 9 December 2011, and a final report for the European Council meeting in June 2012.