Max Planck Institute: Expect a Fukushima or Chernobyl Every Decade or So

1:24 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

A roadside nuclear power plant.

Photo by Thomas Anderson

Imagine a situation within 100 years in which Japan, the northeastern USA and most of western Europe are all but uninhabitable because of one reactor disaster or meltdown after another, every 15 years.  Researchers at the Max Planck Institute have arrived at conclusions along those lines:

Catastrophic nuclear accidents such as the core meltdowns in Chernobyl and Fukushima are more likely to happen than previously assumed. Based on the operating hours of all civil nuclear reactors and the number of nuclear meltdowns that have occurred, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz have calculated that such events may occur once every 10 to 20 years (based on the current number of reactors) — some 200 times more often than estimated in the past. The researchers also determined that, in the event of such a major accident, half of the radioactive caesium-137 would be spread over an area of more than 1,000 kilometres away from the nuclear reactor. Their results show that Western Europe is likely to be contaminated about once in 50 years by more than 40 kilobecquerel of caesium-137 per square meter. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, an area is defined as being contaminated with radiation from this amount onwards. In view of their findings, the researchers call for an in-depth analysis and reassessment of the risks associated with nuclear power plants. [emphases added]

These findings are not surprising to me.  How ironic that this assessment comes in the same pack of headlines that has one read:

Why Jaczko Leaving The NRC Is Good for America

I doubt the American MSM will reflect much upon the findings of the Planck Institute, which conclude with this:

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