74c9f20346f86f380e14c41e_pa3772c.jpg

The Dirt on Nuclear Power

Japan’s nuclear crisis is a nightmare, but it is not an anomaly. In fact, it is only the latest in a long line of nuclear accidents involving meltdowns, explosions, fires, and loss of coolant – accidents that have occurred during both normal operation and emergency conditions, such as droughts and earthquakes.

SINGAPORE – Japan’s nuclear crisis is a nightmare, but it is not an anomaly. In fact, it is only the latest in a long line of nuclear accidents involving meltdowns, explosions, fires, and loss of coolant – accidents that have occurred during both normal operation and emergency conditions, such as droughts and earthquakes.

Nuclear safety demands clarity about terms. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the United States generally separates unplanned nuclear “events” into two classes, “incidents” and “accidents.” Incidents are unforeseen events and technical failures that occur during normal plant operation and result in no off-site releases of radiation or severe damage to equipment. Accidents refer to either off-site releases of radiation or severe damage to plant equipment.

The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale uses a seven-level ranking scheme to rate the significance of nuclear and radiological events: levels 1-3 are “incidents,” and 4-7 are “accidents,” with a “Level 7 Major Accident” consisting of “a major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures.”

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

http://prosyn.org/4OeFFaA;
  1. bildt64_NorbertKamilKowaczekEyeEmGettyImages_EUballoonsboy Norbert Kamil Kowaczek/EyeEm/Getty Images

    Europe’s Only Decision

    Carl Bildt

    After months of polling, speculation, and hand-wringing over the European Parliament election this month, one might think that nothing else matters. But there is a far more important question than who will lead the European Union for the next five years: What is the overarching strategic agenda that will guide their decisions?

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.