Los datos inconfesables sobre la energía nuclear

SINGAPUR – La crisis nuclear del Japón es una pesadilla, pero no una anomalía. De hecho, sólo es la última en una larga serie de accidentes nucleares con fusiones de reactores, explosiones, incendios y pérdida de refrigerante: accidentes que han ocurrido tanto con funcionamiento normal como en situaciones de emergencia, como, por ejemplo, sequías y terremotos.

La seguridad nuclear requiere claridad sobre los términos. La Comisión Reguladora Nuclear de los Estados Unidos divide en general los “sucesos” nucleares no planificados en dos clases: “incidentes” y “accidentes”. Los incidentes son sucesos imprevistos y fallos técnicos que se producen durante el funcionamiento normal de una central y no tienen como consecuencia fugas de radiación fuera de su emplazamiento o daños graves a su equipo. Los accidentes se refieren a fugas de radiación fuera de su emplazamiento o a daños graves en el equipo de la central.

La Escala Internacional de Sucesos Nucleares y Radiológicos utiliza un método de clasificación de siete niveles para calibrar la importancia de los sucesos nucleares y radiológicos: los niveles 1-3 son “incidentes” y los 4-7 son “accidentes”, y el “accidente muy grave de nivel 7” consiste en “una fuga en gran escala de material radioactivo con efectos generalizados en la salud y el medio ambiente que requieren la aplicación de amplias medidas planificadas para contrarrestarlos”.

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