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Title: Nuclear power plant safety - the risk of accidents.
Authors: Higson, DJ
Crancher, DW
Issue Date: Aug-1975
Publisher: Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
Abstract: Although it is physically impossible for any nuclear power plant to explode like an atom bomb, an accidental release of radioactive material into the environment is conceivable. Three factors reduce the probability of such releases, in dangerous quantities, to an extremely low level. Firstly, there are many safety features built into the plant including a leaktight containment building to prevent the escape of such material. Secondly, the quality of engineering and standards used are far more demanding than in conventional power engineering. Thirdly, strict government licensing and regulatory control is enforced at all phases from design through construction to operation. No member of the general public is known to have been injured or died as a result of any accident to a commercial nuclear power plant. Ten workers have died as a result of over-exposure to radiation from experimental reactors and laboratory work connected with the development of nuclear power plant since 1945. Because of this excellent safety record the risk of serious accidents can only be estimated. On the basis of such estimates, the chance of an accident in a nuclear power reactor which could cause a detectable increase in the incidence of radiation-induced illnesses would be less that once chance in a million per year. In a typical highly industrialised society, such as the USA, the estimated risk of an individual being killed by such accidents, from one hundred operating reactors, is no greater than once chance in sixteen million per year. There are undoubtedly risks from nuclear accidents but estimates of these risks show that they are considerably less than from other activities which are accepted by society.
ISBN: 0642997063
Appears in Collections:Scientific and Technical Reports

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