Talk:Nuclear safety and security

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Lead tags and Sovacool's credentials[edit]

Intro is way too long, and should be less than half its current length, summarising main points in article. Intro is unbalanced because it has too much on Japan; needs to be globalised. See WP:Lead. Johnfos (talk) 11:22, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

The lead should summarize the salient points about civil nuclear power safety. Can you point out specifically where the information in the lead strays from summarizing the main points? Moreover Fukushima was the most serious accident in recent times, therefore it and Chernobyl are obviously mentioned in the lead, with a Chernobyl type disaster(in terms of reactor inventory release) not being possible in the most common worldwide(vis a vis 'globalised') western designed reactors- as unfortunately proven in practice at Fukushima with 4 reactors combined approaching approximately 20% of a chernobyl. Therefore Japan, the reactors that were damaged, and the reactors that shut down safely as designed should obviously get the weight of the lead, as they're the most important from a 'globalised' perspective.
As for the neutrality tag, agreed, Benjamin K. Sovacool shouldn't, by right, even be in the lead(since when are lawyers nuclear safety experts?) and he should be moved down the page, although the reason why I kept him in the lead, is that the MIT report that he cherry picks from does segue into discussing protection from plane crashes and modern Gen III safety in general, so that's why I kept him in the lead- consistency with the MIT report, in the interest of keeping it - Modern safety, plane crashes, and their expert approval assessment of modern safety technology, all in one place.
Anywhere else you can specifically point out where the material in the lead strays from being neutral?
Notify me on my talk page if there any responses.
Boundarylayer (talk) 19:18, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
What are you talking about? Sovacool is not a lawyer by any forms or means. He has a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, and his graduate work was on Electric Power Networks Efficiency and Security Program for the U.S. National Science Foundation. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 23:56, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Benjamin K. Sovacool is perfectly entitled to his views, but he is working in the law department of Vermont, and has done a fair degree of legal advocacy against nuclear power/ he is a lawyer - and clearly anti-nuclear at that, having spent his time in India lawyering it up against nuclear power, and writing an anti-nuclear book with many unsubstantiated claims contained within, such as selectively quoting what MIT actually said. Science and Technology Studies is a social science, not a hard science.
I take issue with this idea that Sovacool (myself) is an "anti-nuclear advocate." I do not receive money nor do I work for any "anti-nuclear" groups. I produce independent research and scholarship, not tilted advocacy, and have no vested interest or stake in the energy sector. Basically, I call things as I see them. Moreover, while I am balanced and critical of nuclear power, some of my work has argued that nuclear power makes sense as an alternative to coal and fossil fuels, and that it has its own political economy of sorts. These arguments are neither "for" nor "against" nuclear power. See, for a start, these two peer-reviewed books,, and and for more. Bksovacool (talk) 17:50, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
I thought it was time to weigh in. First, BL, I am in no way, nor have ever been, a lawyer. Get your facts right. What you are describing is invited expert testimony I have done around the world as an academic, not an attorney. Also, the Vermont Law School has many research programs and degrees that do NOT involve lawyers. They involve students getting their Masters of Environmental Law and Policy or Masters of Energy Regulation and Law. Third, all of the research you describe has been peer-reviewed and fact-checked, and it is often critical of nuclear energy, but that's what the facts tell us. Fourth, as to my qualifications about nuclear energy specifically, I'm a former Eugene Wigner fellow from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, review articles for the Annals of Nuclear Energy and Science (among others), have written two academic books, and have now spent 6 years researching the topic. What, exactly, are your qualifications? You're calling me out publicly, so let's put our cards on the table. Do you have any professional experience with the nuclear power industry? Fifth, I think you're cherry-picking the MIT study. Here are quotes straight from the study: "both the historical and the PRA [probabilistic risk assessment] data show an unacceptable accident frequency" and "“[t]he potential impact on the public from safety or waste management failure . . . make it impossible today to make a credible case for the im¬mediate expanded use of nuclear power." Bksovacool (talk) 15:19, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Fundamentally, I ask, what are his science qualifications that would lead anyone to assume his opinion matters in respect to the field of Safety engineering? or even nuclear engineering - Safety code (nuclear reactor), that warranted the previous editors pushing him into the lede of a safety article?
Think about the elitism with this statement - only engineers can now discuss nuclear power? What about the public, environmental groups, economists, political leaders, etc.? That's like saying only cooks should ever talk about food, or soldiers about war, or prostitutes about sex, when in fact we need broader discussions from people from a variety of perspectives to talk about all of those things. This is all the more so when people within the nuclear industry have such a poor record of openness, transparency, and honesty. Nuclear is a case where we desperately need people outside of the industry talking about it ... Bksovacool (talk) 15:24, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
As I've said, I don't mind leaving him in the lede of the article as it stands now, as the selective quoting that he chose to reiterate in his anti-nuclear book naturally segues into what the MIT actually said, and a discussion on safety by actual qualified hard scientists in the field - MIT - who do have a modicum of authority to discuss nuclear safety.
I am wondering just how we're supposed to trust BL's numbers and analysis when he is capable of getting simple facts - like my affiliation or training - completely wrong. BL, you even posted a link to my faculty page, so you had the correct information at your fingertips. What accounts for the error? Sheer sloppiness? Or something else? Bksovacool (talk) 19:58, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
The article, IMHO, is more than fair at including the two anti-nuclear advocates statements, who you know, don't have any nuclear engineering qualifications at all.
Wrong again, BL. If you knew my history or background you would have known that I have served in research and advisory capacities for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Semiconductor Materials and Equipment International, the Global Environment Facility, the World Bank Group, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the U.S. Department of Energy, Union of Concerned Scientists, the International Institute for Applied Systems and Analysis, the Renewable Energy Network for the Twenty-First Century (REN 21), and the International Energy Agency. You don't think that makes me qualified to talk about energy policy and security issues? Moreover, my book, which you have tried to critique, has been independently reviewed by experts three times, and every time the reviews were unequivocally positive. The review in the peer-reviewed journal Energy Policy available here said that my book is "highly recommended to all who are interested in future energy options. As a whole it successfully balances the extensive pro-nuclear literature. It is well organized, well written and, well documented." Where is your evidence to the contrary? You seem to have lots of opinions, but very little facts. Bksovacool (talk) 20:09, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Boundarylayer (talk) 23:11, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm wondering why you think that your personal opinion is relevant? --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 22:54, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
That's not very civil. I could easily retort by saying I'm wondering why you think your, or Johnfos' personal opinion is relevant?
The article needs more ink dedicated to scientific unbiased sources, and their safety analysis and opinions on the matter of nuclear safety. More information from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and safety engineers in general wouldn't go amiss. How a repeat of Chernobyl cannot happen again due to western designs being of a wholly different construction, and how the Soviets improved their RMBK reactors after the accident. We should naturally stay away from biased sources - Pro and anti-nuclear. As for the length of the Lede - WP:LEDE, the lede summarizes the salient points about nuclear safety. So correct me if I'm wrong on this, but is that not the point of the Lede in the first place?
Boundarylayer (talk) 06:01, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
The intro is definitely too long and detailed for an encyclopedia entry.
The following material is inappopriate and should be removed:

In terms of proven safety, the Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant is a power plant design that has demonstrated it is possible for a properly designed nuclear power plant to safely accommodate one of the most powerful earthquakes and tsunamis ever recorded and to shut down safely as designed without incident. Although the town of Onagawa, were [sic] the power plant is co-located, was largely destroyed by the tsunami[5] and the Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant having a closer proximity to the epicenter of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, than the Fukushima I power plant,[6] the more modern Onagawa nuclear power plant stood the test of both the magnitude 9 earthquake and ~14 meter high tsunami without incident, despite it being the closest nuclear power plant to the epicenter of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated much of the east coast of Japan in 2011 and triggered accidents at the older, and further afield, Fukushima I plant.[7] Jack B108 (talk) 03:41, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

That information is backed up by the IAEA safety assessment of the plant. “The structural elements of the NPS(nuclear power station) were remarkably undamaged given the magnitude of ground motion experienced and the duration and size of this great earthquake,” Onagawa, facing the Pacific Ocean on Japan's north-east coast, experienced very high levels of ground shaking – among the strongest of any plant affected by the earthquake – and some flooding from the tsunami that followed, but was able to shut down safely., the IAEA said. also reported in the following. -
Boundarylayer (talk) 06:04, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
On the basis of the above discussion, I have removed WP:POV material, WP:Coatrack material, errors, and duplications. See also Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/Noticeboard#Benjamin K. Sovacool -- Johnfos (talk) 07:04, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

Page move proposal[edit]

This article is quite wide-ranging, covering both technical and non-technical issues, which is as it should be. I think a better title, which reflects the broad coverage, would be Nuclear safety and security, and would welcome comments on this proposed change. Johnfos (talk) 01:12, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

In the absence of objections, I have now made the move... Johnfos (talk) 08:26, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Orphaned references in Nuclear safety and security[edit]

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of Nuclear safety and security's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "ITERorg":

  • From DEMO: "Beyond ITER". The ITER Project. Information Services, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. Archived from the original on 7 November 2006. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  • From Climate change mitigation: "Beyond ITER". The ITER Project. Information Services, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. Archived from the original on 7 November 2006. Retrieved 5 February 2011.  - Projected fusion power timeline
  • From Nuclear power: "Beyond ITER". The ITER Project. Information Services, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. Archived from the original on 7 November 2006. Retrieved 5 February 2011.  - Projected fusion power timeline

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 09:11, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Possible POV[edit]

I am a little troubled by some formulations, most notably that the lede paints an unduly negative picture of nuclear power as unsafe by focusing more on critical voices than on supporting. (And a comparison with coal and oil is missing throughout the article, despite their causing far more damage at current levels of use.)

The following is particularly unfortunate, even should it be supported in the given reference (which I have not investigated):

"To date, there have been five serious accidents (core damage) in the world since 1970 (one at Three Mile Island in 1979; one at Chernobyl in 1986; and three at Fukushima-Daiichi in 2011), corresponding to the beginning of the operation of generation II reactors. This leads to on average one serious accident happening every eight years worldwide."

In fact, the conclusion is so tendentious as to disqualify the source (should it be contained there). For instance, it would be more reasonable (if still simplistic) to note the time difference between Chernobyl and Fukushima and conclude that we could expect one serious accident every 25 years. At a minimum, even if several reactors where involved in Fukushima, it is unreasonable to speak of more than three accidents for the purposes of such calculations. This even without considering developments in safety over the years, as well as the increased awareness of the danger. (Notably, Chernobyl was caused by a combination of gross human failure and an unsecure design, which is a) rarer today, b) where still existing reactors have been considerably approved. While human failure will always be a danger, the very fact of Chernobyl has reduced the risk for similarly gross versions.)

Such issues are of great importance considering how misinformed the public tends to be on the issue of nuclear power, how the reactions tend to be mostly emotional/irrational, and how often criticism of nuclear power is used for cheap vote fishing. It is very important that this page, and the lede in particular, approaches the subject neutrally and gives a fair and unbiased evaluation. (Even discounting the standard NPOV prescription for Wikipedia articles.) (talk) 18:30, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

Since I have seen no objects, I have edited the lede (the rest of the article remains untouched) to reduce POV and to make the lede more focused. (talk) 19:49, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
i agree here, nuclear power has been represented with some serious bias against it. (talk) 22:45, 23 September 2014 (UTC)