After analyzing 216 accidents and other incidents recorded in the history of nuclear energy development, experts at the University of Sussex in the UK and ETH Zurich have come to the conclusion that the probability of such incidents is much higher than is commonly believed. Scientists fear that a disaster similar in scope to what happened at Chernobyl or at Fukushima-1, with considerable likely to occur in the foreseeable future.
Scientists say that, according to earlier similar studies, the number of accidents at nuclear power plants in the world over time, in General decreasing. However, the results of the new and largest conducted to date of the statistical analysis indicate that this trend concerns only medium and relatively large incident, while the likelihood of really significant accidents still remains very high. As experts say, accidents like Chernobyl or Fukushima are likely to occur once or twice in a century, and the accident is able to “fight” for third place after them — once in a decade or two.
The accident in Chernobyl in 1986 and at Fukushima-1 in 2011, as shown by the analysis on the scale is almost incomparable with the other incidents of this kind — the material damage from each of them greatly exceeds damage from all other accidents put together, amounting to 259 thousand and $ 166 thousand dollars, respectively.
The researchers collected data from various reports, previously written research papers, press releases, newspaper and magazine articles as well as various other sources. As a result, the number of accidents, the information on which the experts managed to compile, was two times higher than in the largest of the other similar studies. According to experts, in itself this fact is very important — it shows that statistics relating to accidents in nuclear power plants are “frighteningly incomplete.”
According to the results of their study, the researchers made two researches subsequently published in the journal Energy Research & Social Science and Risk Analysis.