Accidents and Risks

Nuclear Safety Equipment Has “no impact on public health and safety”?

I recently saw a report that failure of a piece of safety equipment had “no impact on public health and safety”. If  so why is it there? I was going to write this post several months ago. However, a recent comment on one of my posts has prompted me to write it now. What originally […]

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The Problem of Complex Systems

This post is a bit abstract but I hope it will help people understand the problems involved with dealing with complex systems. The reason it is abstract is because I want to make the ‘complex systems’ as simple as possible. We are told that nuclear is ‘certainly’ safe, that there is ‘no possibility’ of an […]

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The Problems Of Fail-safes and Redundancy

When discussing nuclear safety we are often told by the nuclear industry that they have ‘fail-safes’ , ‘built in redundancy’ etc that make their reactors ‘safe’. In this post I shall explore some of these claims. It will, hopefully, not bring up any surprises for people involved in nuclear safety but will hopefully be useful […]

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The ‘unscientific’ approach to Radiation Risk

This post was going to be about the ICRP’s (International Committee on Radiological Protection) risk model. However, Dr Chris Busby has recently written1 an article for The Ecologist which covers some of what I was going to say. However, there are a few additional points I would like to make. It is important to note […]

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A is for Atom

Here is a link to a 1992 programme by Adam Curtis called ‘A is for Atom’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/legacy/adamcurtis/2011/03/a_is_for_atom.html What I found interesting was the interviews with some of the people involved in the very early days of the nuclear power industry including: Alvin Weinberg, inventor of the PWR and BWR reactor Glenn Seaborg, Chairman of the […]

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Learning The Lessons Of The Titanic

In a recent news article1 about the evacuation zone around Sizewell nuclear power plant Jeremy Western, director of special projects and nuclear new build for EDF, said that the zone was so small because the likelihood of an accident was “exceedingly unlikely”. This is rather like saying that an ocean liner does not need a […]

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Sellafield Leak

It is being reported on the news today1 that elevated radiation levels have lead to the partial evacuation of the Sellafield site. This reminded me of a Norwegian study2 of the affects of a leak from the Highly Active Liquor tanks at Sellafield – hopefully this is not what has happened today. Note that the […]

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Problems with risk calculations

While we are often told that severe nuclear accidents are ‘impossible’ (which itself is impossible – maybe a subject of a future post) a more reasonable response is sometimes an ‘expert’ from the nuclear industry will quote probabilities and risk factors. Here is a quick post about why those risk assessments are wrong or misleading. […]

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Emergency Planning – lessons not learnt from Fukushima

As a consequence of the events in Fukushima, the plans for protecting communities around Sizewell power station in the event of an emergency are being revised. Responsibility for the drafting of the emergency plan falls to the Suffolk Resilience Forum (SRF), a multi-agency group that provides strategic and operational guidance on the planning for the response to a […]

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Dragons, Meteors and Nuclear Power

In a previous post I wrote about how far back we need to look to have a reasonable chance of seeing rare events such as large floods and why it is much longer than the 150 years of data for Sizewell if we want to know the size of a 1 in 10,000 year event. […]

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