Magazine Article - Science
Preventing the Next Fukushima
POLICYFORUM Nuclear Safety
Weak authority and largely voluntary standards limit global institutions' impact on nuclear safety and security.
While this year's disaster at Japan's Fukushima Dai'ichi plant, the worst since Chernobyl in 1986, was caused by the one-two punch of a huge earthquake followed by an immense tsunami—a disaster unlikely to occur in many locations—it revealed technical and institutional weaknesses that must be fixed around the world. If nuclear power is to grow on the scale required to be a significant part of the solution to global climate disruption or scarcity of fossil fuels, major steps are needed to rebuild confidence that nuclear facilities will be safe from accidents and secure against attacks ( 1).
It is too soon to draw all the lessons from the Fukushima disaster. But it is clear that the reactors' abilities to maintain cooling in the event of a prolonged loss of power and to vent dangerous gas buildups were insufficient, as were the operators' ability to respond to large-scale emergencies and the regulators' degree of independence from the nuclear industry ( 2). Operators and regulators around the world are reviewing their nuclear safety measures and responding to heightened public concerns. Governments' conclusions have ranged from China's plan to continue its massive nuclear construction effort to Germany's decision to phase out all nuclear energy by 2022....
Continue reading: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6049/1580.full.pdf (log in may be required)
Analysis & Opinions - The Conversation
Journal Article - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
In the Spotlight
Discussion Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School
Policy Brief - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School