Nuclear Development

Nuclear Energy Agency

1990-066X (online)
1990-0678 (print)
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A series of publications from the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency on various aspects of nuclear development. The publications in this series provide authoritative, reliable information on nuclear technologies, economics, strategies and resources to governments for use in policy analyses and decision making.

Also available in French
Comparing Nuclear Accident Risks with Those from Other Energy Sources

Comparing Nuclear Accident Risks with Those from Other Energy Sources You do not have access to this content

Nuclear Energy Agency

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31 Aug 2010
9789264097995 (PDF)

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Nuclear accident risks are raised frequently in discussions of the acceptability of nuclear power generation, often framed in the context of the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents. In reality, the safety record of nuclear power plants, by comparison with other electricity generation sources, is very good. This report describes how safety has been enhanced in nuclear power plants over the years, as the designs have progressed from Generation I to Generation III, and why it is important that safety remain the highest priority. This is illustrated by considering core damage frequencies and large radioactive release frequencies for each generation of nuclear power plants. It also compares severe accident data (those resulting in five or more fatalities) between different energy sources, both for immediate fatalities and for delayed (latent) fatalities, recognising that the latter data are often more difficult to estimate. Finally, it uses results of opinion surveys to analyse public confidence in nuclear operations and how this is correlated with trust in legislation and regulatory systems. It has been written for a general audience.
Also available in French
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Table of Contents

Key Issues for Policy Makers
Executive Summary
1. Introduction
2. Nuclear Power Plant Safety Philosophy
-IAEA Fundmental Nucleaer Safety Principles
-Defence in depth
3. Trends in Performance Indicators
-Unplanned automatic trip rate
-Worker exposure
4. Trends in Predicted Accident Risk
-Probabilistic safety assessment
-Core damage and large release frequency reductions
5. Comparative analysis of Sever Accident Risks in the Energy Sector
-Comparative analysis of major energy chains
-Frequency-consequence curves
-Summary of severe accident risks in the energy sector
6. Public Confidence in Nuclear Operations
7. Conclusions

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