Technology Review

Causes and Radiological Consequences of the Chernobyl and Fukushima Nuclear Accidents

[+] Author and Article Information
Lembit Sihver

Technische Universit├Ąt Wien, Atominstitut, Vienna, Austria

Nakahiro Yasuda

Research Institute of Nuclear Engineering, University of Fukui, Tsuruga-shi, Japan

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4037116 History: Received December 09, 2016; Revised June 10, 2017


In this paper the causes and the radiological consequences of the Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accidents is discussed. The need for better severe accident management (SAM), and severe accident management guidelines (SAMGs), are essential in order to increase the safety of the existing and future operating Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs). In addition to that, improved radiation release barriers, including low corrosive fuel and cladding, should be developed. Stress tests should on a regular basis be performed to assess whether the NPPs can withstand the effects of natural disasters and man-made failures and actions. The differences in safety preparations at the Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi will therefore be presented, as well as recommendations concerning improvements of safety culture, nuclear fuel performance, decontamination and disaster planning. The need for a high-level national emergency response system in case of nuclear accidents will also be discussed. The emergency response system should include fast alarms, communication between nuclear power plants, nuclear power authorities and the public people, as well as well prepared and well established evacuation plans and evacuation zones. The experiences of disaster planning and the development of a new improved emergency response system in Japan will be presented together with training and education program, in order to ensure that professional rescue workers, including medical staff, fire fighters, police, etc., as well as the normal populations including patients, have sufficient knowledge about ionizing radiation and are informed about the meaning of radiation risks and safety.

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