A new study has been released that sheds light on the risk associated with nuclear fuel fires, and apparently, the risk is quite severe. Obviously, as we have learned from Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, nuclear plants have the potential to cause catastrophic situations. But nuclear fuel fires could potentially dwarf the magnitude of these “traditional” nuclear emergencies. In fact, according to the study, just one such fire could “lead to a disaster much greater than Fukushima.”
Why Nuclear Fuel Fires are Scary
The study – Nuclear Safety Regulation in the Post-Fukushima Era – developed by researchers from Princeton University and published in Science Magazine, basically scolded the NRC for ignoring this potential danger. The researchers said a nuclear fire event could contaminate an area larger than the state of New Jersey, leading to a mass evacuation and possibly costing in the neighborhood of two trillion dollars.
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know where I am going with this. This is yet another disaster risk that requires emergency preparedness excellence to efficiently mitigate. Throw it on the pile along with climate change, fracking, system hacking, terrorism, and everything else that has served to increase the frequency and severity of service outages over time.
In terms of nuclear fuel fires, even if you are not located near a nuclear plant, the study found that a single fire event in PA or NJ could ultimately contaminate the entire East Coast. Just one more thing to prepare for!