Talk #68, 12/16/11

Nuclear Reactor Safety and the Accident at Fukushima

Alfred Torri
President, Risk Management Associates, Inc.


The accident at Fukushima on March 11, 2011 has changed the perception of nuclear power safety because a major core meltdown and radionuclide release occurred from a group of reactors in an advanced nuclear country that were designed and built according to “western” standards. Earlier meltdown accidents in commercial nuclear power plants involved the accidents at Three Mile Island in the USA and at Chernobyl in the Ukraine. At Three Mile Island the accident was fully contained and no significant release or consequences to the environment occurred. At Chernobyl a significant release and consequences to the environment occurred because the reactor had no Containment to retain the meltdown release. The discussion will review the safety philosophy and requirements for nuclear power plants, discuss what happened and what went wrong at Fukushima and what the lessons learned and possible consequences of the accident are. The possible implications on future nuclear power plant developments will also be addressed. The presentation will conclude with a computer simulation of an accident in a nuclear power plant.


The following is a link to the presentation (docx file extension).