Talk:Nuclear safety/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2


if a nuclear power plant exploded how would if affect the water, soil, plants, and how much animal damage would it do to them?

Please see your user page's Discussion page for a simple discussion. Simesa 03:20, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
The article on Radioactive contamination is probably what you are looking for. 21:47, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

Unreferenced tag

Actually, there doesn't seem to be a single statement of fact anywhere in the article to be unreferenced. Simesa 04:35, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree and I have removed the tag. As it now stands, the article is hardly more than a list of articles in Category:Nuclear safety. I do not think we need a reference here to prove that the linked articles are related to nuclear safety. -- Petri Krohn 06:08, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Revert of April 23, 3 am EST

The first issue is the use of "defense in depth". Googling "defense in depth" +"nuclear power plant" I got 26,200 hits. Scanning the summaries of the first 99 of these, it was apparent that the term "defense in depth" is being used by a wide variety of people.

Second, we have the assertion that Chernobyl was caused by a common mode failure initiated by sabotage. While I have heard the sabotage theory, it's definitely held by a small minority. Most of us go with an incompetent test engineer, under pressure from Moscow, stupidly bulling through an experiment. Common mode may be somewhat applicable - the same steam explosion that shattered the fuel cladding also blew the reactor vessel head off. But in any event, this should be discussed in Chernobyl disaster, not in a diagram.

So I'm reverting. Simesa 07:04, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Simsea's 23 April revert

The lead sentence is "This diagram demonstrates the defense in depth quality of nuclear power plants." I Googled on "defense in depth" and found it described as a "strategy" and not as a "quality." To describe it as a "quality" of nuclear power plants implies that it is a fact about nuclear power plants rather than a strategy of reactor designers. This garbles the meaning and makes the sentence read like a piece of proj-nuclear power propaganda. If the purpose is not propagandistic, I recommend that that "strategy" replace "quality" and "reactor designers" replace "nuclear power plants."

Unlike facts, strategies can be wrong. Thus, if we can get the semantics right, this would be an appropriate place to present an exploration of how well "defense in depth" has worked in the past and is likely to work in the future. The discussion of the past should report situations such as the one at Chernobyl, where a single technician was able to defeat the "defense in depth" strategy of the Soviet Union's reactor designers. The discussion of the future should report the fact that a statistical fallacy is embedded in the engineering of nuclear power plant safety inspection systems. When I tried to report this in the nuclear power article in the past, someone reverted the content I'd supplied without justification.

--T oldberg 15:51, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm okay with "This diagram demonstrates the defense in depth strategy of nuclear designers." Based on my experience with other editors, I'm going to assume they'll concur also, so I'll make the change. Simesa 16:03, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
If you want to criticise the defense in depth concept, please do not do it in the image caption. Add your text to the article body itself.
The text used as the image caption comes directly from the image description Commons:Image:Nuclear power defense in depth.png. This again is written by a Finnish expert on nuclear safety, who is the author of the corresponding article on Finnisdh Wikipedia. If you want to illustrate common mode failure, you are free to use the existing free image as the basis of your derivative work. Please do not try to read something into the image, that was not included by the original creator. -- Petri Krohn 20:31, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Propsed observation

It's been proposed that observation "In France, which gets 80% of its electricity from nuclear power, more people have been killed from protesting against nuclear power, than from nuclear power itself. See Sébastien Briat." be added. Any comments? How many of the probably Chernobyl casualties will be French? (Even though Chernobyl was a Soviet military screwup, it was a civilian plant and still counts as nuclear power.) Simesa 21:49, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Proposed addition

Long ago, the authors of U.S. policy on reactor safety made the assumption that rupture of a reactor pressure vessel with consequent breach of the containment was "incredible." Later, the Rasmussen study of reactor safety theorized that the probability was 1 in 10 million per vessel-year. The study concluded that reactors were adequately safe at this level of probability. However, we have only about 1/1000 of the years' worth of evidence that would be necessary to test the Rasmussen theory empirically.

If a defect of sufficient size were to escape detection in the periodic inspections that are required for the reactor pressure vessel, the result would surely be a melt-down of the core, breach of the containment and scattering of the fission products in the core over a wide area. In the middle of the 1980s, while managing the R&D program of a group of 30 nuclear electric utilities, I made a disturbing discovery. The discovery was that defect detection tests failed to define statistical populations, with the result that the reliability of the tests could not be measured. At the same time, a statistical fallacy that was prevalent in the engineering literature made it sound as though the reliability could be measured.

I've published three peer reviewed articles on this topic. As none of the claims made in these articles have been refuted in the peer reviewed literature, the situation is one-sided from the standpoint of the rules of evidence which Wikipedia requires in its articles. There is an opposition, which includes the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but the opposition has published nothing in the peer reviewed literature that refutes or limits in any way the claims made in my articles.

The appearance of safety for nuclear reactors hangs, to a disturbing degree, upon a statistical fallacy. It seems to me that this is a worthy topic for the Nuclear safety article. Any comments? --Terry Oldberg (talk) 18:16, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

If your work has been published, you may use it here. Wikipedia does not permit original work in articles, however, if your paper already discusses various issues, you may take conclusions from it, as long as they are properly cited. In other words, you must put into Wikipedia just what any person reading your published articles would learn from it. Naturally, it would be best to also mention that the US NRC does not agree with your findings (not refuting your claims directly is not required of them, it can be assumed that their lack of any public statements on the issue means they don't consider it a problem). Fanra (talk) 01:22, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Narrative Form

I reworked two sections into narrative form instead of the lists of topics as they were presented. i did my best to preserve all of the information as it was presented, just making it more encyclopedic. HatlessAtless (talk) 16:16, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Good job! Thanks so much!!! Daniel.Cardenas (talk) 14:12, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Removed Opinion

I removed: "All American nuclear power plants are required to have a containment vessel outside the reactor vessel, capable of containing this event without releasing radioactivity." Whether or not a containment vessel is capable of containing a meltdown is an opinion, not a fact. Quite a few people feel that containment vessels are not capable of containing all possible meltdowns. Such a discussion belongs in the Containment building article. Although, there is no reason it can't be mentioned here, as long as it is put as an opinion, not a fact. Also, all American plants are not required to have one, all commercial power plants are, however, naval vessels for obvious reasons do not have huge concrete containment vessels around them. Also research and weapons reactors are different and might not have containment vessels. Just to mention, if someone has some facts about containment buildings, ie, can prove that all American military and research reactors have them, they are welcome to put that in. Although I have found several past ones did not, they seem to be shut down. However, the military does not like to talk about their reactors and someone would have to see if there is public information about them or if it is classified. Fanra (talk) 05:26, 17 July 2008 (UTC)


I'm merging the criticisms portion of the Complexity section over into Nuclear power#Debate on nuclear power as we're going to do with at least three other articles. I've added a Seealso to that at the top of Nuclear Safety. It doesn't make sense to debate nuclear power inadequately in multiple articles. Please see Discussion in Nuclear Power. Simesa (talk) 23:19, 5 September 2008 (UTC)


This article is entirely qualitative, with no attempt to put numbers on how dangerous it is. Surely a comparison between it and (for example) coal would be useful to readers? (talk) 03:10, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Comparative radiation levels and number of deaths are already covered elsewhere. See Environmental impact of nuclear power#Comparison to coal-fired generation, Nuclear debate (several sections), Environmental impact of coal mining and burning#Radiation exposure, Nuclear and radiation accidents#History. Johnfos (talk) 03:50, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Negative void coefficient?

The article currently contains the statement "All reactors built outside the former Soviet Union have had negative void coefficients, a passively safe design." This is untrue--the conventional CANDU reactor design has a small but positive void coefficient; see for details. According to the author of that page (an expert but not a neutral source), this small coefficient is not a safety risk. (Still, that has been changed in the Advanced CANDU Reactor.) Basically, the statement as written is untrue, but the idea behind it is accurate. I am changing it to say that "most" reactors have negative void coefficients, and editing the line before to mention the magnitude of the positive void coefficient. Vykk (talk) 18:19, 26 March 2011 (UTC)


I don't think the section dedicated to Fukushima's problems is necessary on this page. The page is about Nuclear Safety, not a short description of another article. It should simply be linked like all the other accident articles below it. Phenie (talk) 10:48, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

This is not a short description of another article. As far as I know, most of the material here does not appear in another WP article and is entirely relevant here. The section provides a concrete example of safety issues which arose due to overconfidence in plant engineering, cascading interactions unfolding very rapidly, and a failure which was predicted but not acted upon. Johnfos (talk) 16:49, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
I think that if this article is to contain 5-10 lines about Fukushima, then Chernobyl and Three Miles Island also deserves 5-10 lines. tobixen (talk) 22:00, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

"engineers vented radioactive steam into the atmosphere to release pressure, leading to a series of explosions that blew out concrete walls around the reactors." - yes, I can see that it's a quote from, but as far as I've heard, it's just plain wrong! The reason for the explosions was failure to vent radioactive steam into the atmosphere. They didn't want to do that, so they vented it into the containment building instead. The steam contained hydrogen and oxygen - as far as I can tell, the resulting explosions was both foreseeable and easily avoidable. tobixen (talk) 22:00, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Need to expand Nuclear Safety on medical and industrial (non-power) uses

The first paragraph of the article clearly states that nuclear safety is a concern for medical and industrial uses as well. Currently, almost the entire article is devoted to concerns from nuclear power generation.

The Hazards of nuclear material section touches on one of the issue. However, there are other safety concerns for medical uses, such as exposure to medical operators, errors in dose calculation, failures in radiotherapy equipments, and inadvertent loss of the radiation source (including the risk of the containment being opened by salvage or being melted in a scrap metal plant). For example see Goiânia accident, which is INES-rated because of its impact.

Finally, there should also be a brief overview of the regulations that are typically enacted by most governments to protect the public from nuclear accidents. This could be added to the "Agencies" section. (talk) 19:58, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Goiânia and other serious radiation accidents are mentioned at Nuclear safety#Other accidents, but yes more could be said about the issues you raise. Johnfos (talk) 19:31, 4 April 2011 (UTC)


This entire article appears to have a severe anti-nuclear slant. There are numerous quotes from well-known anti-nuclear advocates (e.g. Stephanie Cooke, Mark Jacobson, Benjamin K. Sovacool) without balance even from non-biased peer-reviewed sources (e.g. the UNSCEAR report on Chernobyl's health effects). In particular, the article lacks actual context (e.g. comparing the safety of nuclear to other sources of energy). There is essentially one sentence dedicated to such context ("In spite of accidents like Chernobyl, studies have shown that nuclear deaths are mostly in uranium mining and that nuclear energy has generated far less deaths than the high pollution levels that result from the use of conventional fossil fuels"). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:52, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

I agree. Bernard Cohen (physicist) has done execellent work on estimating nuclear risks vs other risks. We should incorporate some of his findings. Paul Studier (talk) 17:32, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Have added some links, which I think help, see [1]. Johnfos (talk) 19:15, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Actual Mortality rates vs Other industries, natural radiation etc.

I'd like to see some statistics about actual deaths due to Nuclear Accidents, and contrast them with other activities. The bar of zero accidents seems to high to me. Eg. Even if Fukushima goes bad, the mortality will be several orders of magnitude less than the actual Tsumi itself. Likewise, I understand that it is esteimated some 20,000 Americans die of Fission induced lung cancer from natural Radon Gas, while it would be interesting to know how many have died as a result of the nuclear industry over the last 50 years, say. Tuntable (talk) 07:50, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Introduction paragraph POV

To add on to the statement above, the introduction paragraphs of this article use a lot of nuclear-negative language. They are specifically referencing the Fukushima crisis, and the use of scare quotes around "inherently" really calls the article's slant into question. Flanger001 (talk) 23:00, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Have removed “inherently”. Fukushima is very relevant here. Johnfos (talk) 23:27, 12 April 2011 (UTC)