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 full compliment of lifeboats because the chances of it sinking are “exceedingly unlikely�.

The accident at Fukushima has shown that the aim of emergency planning should be to be prepared for events that are not â€?reasonably foreseeableâ€?. What should be learnt from Fukushima is that we have ‘consideration of an extreme accident’ which could be caused by events that are beyond the design of the power plant. It is clear from Chernobyl and Fukushima that such events, even if they are “exceedingly unlikelyâ€? would require an evacuation zone of at least 20Km.

The nuclear industry constantly tell us that we should trust them and that they know what they are doing. How are we meant to do this if they have not learnt the lessons, not just from Fukushima but from the Titanic.


1 Sizewell: Accident evacuation zone ‘ridiculously small’, say campaigners, EADT, September 13, 2014 (http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/sizewell_accident_evacuation_zone_ridiculously_small_say_campaigners_1_3767935)

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