What are the Odds of a Nuclear Power Plant Blowing Up?

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) works to protect the land, its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends. To this end, they created an online map that shows the location of the 104 nuclear reactors in 65 power plants in the United States and overlays the radiation effects of a serious nuclear accident at any of these sites. The map also includes increased risk factors for serious accidents at certain plants (“warning signs”) and zones of 10 and 50 miles around plants. The details of what would happen in a serious nuclear accident in the U.

S. are impossible to predict with certainty. The government's 10-mile evacuation zone is a rough estimate of the extent to which the highest and most imminently dangerous radiation levels could extend in a serious accident; however, wind and other aspects of the weather would determine the actual trajectory and distance that rain would travel in the period immediately after a crisis. NRDC's online map at each nuclear plant also shows the 10-mile evacuation zone officially defined by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), as well as the 50-mile zone, which is the distance at which the U.

recommended that Americans abroad evacuate from the Fukushima plant after last year's accident and a distance that conveys a more realistic picture of the threat. The map also counts how many schools and hospitals there are within these areas, allowing for comparison between different nuclear power plants in terms of their potential impact on nearby residents. For example, someone working on these issues in Washington, D. C., can use the map to assess the risks to their family and friends.

By writing down their parents' address, they can find out if they are in the 50-mile zones of seven reactors on four floors. Almost a year after the Fukushima accident, NRC and industry have failed to improve safety in response to Fukushima. While an NRC working group identified more than 30 safety recommendations, it has not acted on any of them to date, including the security improvements identified as the most urgent. My colleague, NRDC scientist Jordan Weaver, discusses the actions the NRC must take to better protect the American public in greater detail here.

This includes addressing concerns that arose in Fukushima, such as seismic problems and flooding, better protections against hydrogen explosions, and better ventilation to prevent containment failures while filtering radioactive contaminants. Jordan also urges that the government be more transparent with the public about the risks of an accident and the possible consequences.NRDC's online mapping tool addresses precisely this issue of transparency, providing a means for people to better visualize and understand the risk that nuclear energy presents in their communities. The study involved identifying and modeling a large atmospheric release of radionuclides from a hypothetical serious nuclear accident at the four-unit Darlington power plant; estimating doses to individuals at various distances from the plant, after taking into account protective actions such as evacuation would carry out in response to that emergency; and finally determining the consequences for human health and environment of resulting radiation exposure.The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has a Safety Guide on Seismic Risks for Nuclear Power Plants, and this topic is covered on World Nuclear Association's (WNA) page on earthquakes and nuclear power plants. The April 1986 disaster at Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine was caused by significant design deficiencies in RBMK reactor type, violation of operating procedures, and absence of safety culture.

Once fuel elements of reactor begin to melt, fuel sheath ruptures and nuclear fuel (such as uranium, plutonium or thorium) and fission products (such as cesium-137, krypton-85 or iodine-13) within fuel elements can leak into coolant.The results of stress tests indicated that European nuclear power plants offered sufficient level of safety not to require closure of any of them. Soviet-designed RBMK reactors (Reaktor Bolshoy Moshchnosti Kanalnyy), which are found only in Russia and other post-Soviet states (now closed everywhere except Russia), have no containment buildings, are naturally unstable (tend to dangerous energy fluctuations) and have cooling systems of emergency (ECCS) considered extremely inadequate by Western safety standards.The safety aspects highlighted by Fukushima accident were evaluated in nuclear reactors of EU member states as well as those of neighboring states that decided to participate. IAEA has Safety Knowledge Base for Aging and Long-Term Operation of Nuclear Power Plants (SKALTO), which aims to develop framework for sharing information on aging management and long-term operation of nuclear power plants. Use of probabilistic safety analysis makes it possible to make risk-based decisions regarding maintenance and monitoring programs so that appropriate attention is paid to health of every piece of equipment in plant.A nuclear fusion (core fusion, core fusion accident or partial core fusion) is serious nuclear reactor accident that causes damage to core by overheating.

International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) was developed by IAEA & OECD in 1990 to communicate & standardize reporting of nuclear incidents or accidents to public.For example, Indian Point nuclear reactors are less than 50 miles from New York City & some days northerly winds would bring rain to Manhattan. It wasn't until late 1970s that detailed analysis & large-scale testing followed by 1979 merger at Three Mile Island reactor began to make clear that even worst possible accident at conventional Western nuclear power plant or its fuel would not cause dramatic public harm.WENRA is network of core regulators from EU countries with nuclear power plants.

Jerald Shiiba
Jerald Shiiba

Professional tv junkie. General zombie lover. Professional pop cultureaholic. Infuriatingly humble music scholar. Freelance travel maven.

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