Europe’s Nuclear Plants: Not Very Safe
I just stumbled across this New Scientist story from a year ago (and presumably the situation hasn’t improved…)
It’s just as well earthquakes and tsunamis are comparatively rare in Europe, because the continent’s nuclear power plants are ill-equipped to cope with them, a report has revealed. Commissioned in the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan following an earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, the investigation by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group used “stress tests” to assess the readiness of Europe’s reactors for similar events.
Of 145 reactors checked, 121 had no or inadequate seismic instruments to detect earthquakes, and 32 lacked venting systems to prevent pressure build-ups in reactor vessels if the primary cooling system fails. Without these systems, reactors can explode and release radioactive pollution, as happened at Fukushima. Some 81 reactors did not have adequate equipment available for coping with severe accidents such as earthquakes or floods, and 24 didn’t have backup emergency control rooms.
Yes, earthquakes and tsunamis are rare in Europe, but rare still means they could happen at any time. This is high-level complacency that puts millions of lives at risk, just to save corporate profits. Not as rare are terrorist attacks, and possibly in the next short while there will be a solar storm that could knock out power grids. Nuclear power plants are globally under-prepared for worst-case scenarios. As a rule of thumb, try and live more than 200 miles from them. Or just move to the southern hemisphere