The Soviet Union said yesterday that it has perfected safety systems at its nuclear generating plants to prevent any radiation leaks like those at the Three Mile Island reactor.
"We have successfully established norms and rules for plant operation. We have perfected protective systems," said Igor Morokhov, deputy chairman of the Soviet Commitee on Peaceful Use of Atomic Energy.
"Soviet safety norms simply rule out any escape of radiation. They are set up at several echelons and are fully automated and reliable," he said in an Englis-language broadcast aimed at the United States and Canada.
Morokhov gave no details of the safety systems but said that "when operated according to strict procedure, atomic power causes far less danger to the environment than coal-fired power plants."
In domestic and overseas broadcasts, the Soviets have been blaming the accident in Pennsylvania on carelessness and what one commentator described as the greed of U.S. "energy monopolies."
The French government, meanwhile, reaffirmed its decision to accelerate its nuclear power program despite mounting criticism from ecologists.
"The need for a nuclear program is in no way changed by this event" at Three Mile Island, said Industry Minister Nadre Giraud after a Cabinet meeting. "But we will continue to take the utmost care regarding security."
President Valery Giscard d'Estaing's Cabinet had decided in February to accelerate construction of two plants and begin nine or ten more.
France, along with West Germany, is a major investor in nuclear power, with 14 plants in service and 27 under construction.
Socialist Party leader Francois Miterrand has been among those urging a full investigation of security procedures.
In West Germany, the Cabinet ordered a detailed review yesterday of that country's safety regulations for nuclear power plants.Spokesman Armin Gruenewald said that if additional safety measures are found necessary, the authorities are empowered to undertake them.