As many nuclear experts predicted at the time of the accident, the defense-in-depth strategy worked well. The end results have been far better than were predicted using some of the fantasy-inspired “worst case scenarios” propagated by antinuclear activists and by researchers working several decades ago – before much data had been gathered and digested.
The total quantity of long-lived radioactive isotopes released from all three of the melted cores was approximately 11 kilograms. None of the material stored in the spent fuel pools was released. There has not been, and never will be, any injuries more serious than a mild sunburn to two workers, from the radiation released into the environment from the melted nuclear fuel inside the plant pressure vessels and containment structures.
The antinuclear opposition also spreads fear by describing effects using unfamiliar, frightening units. Instead of saying that a total of 11 kilograms of material (out of approximately 60,000 kilograms of fuel per unit) escaped from the reactor pressure vessels, people who discourage the beneficial use of nuclear energy say that the plants “spewed” 36,000 terabecquerels of radioactivity. (A terabecquerel of Cs-137 has a mass of 3.2 grams.)
Atomic Insights by Rod Adams- The lesson that the world needs to take away from Fukushima is that it is okay to build hundreds or thousands of new nuclear power stations and to place them quite close to the backyards of millions of people. Sure, the plants are not absolutely safe and may be subject to damage from various events. They will not be manned by perfectly competent individuals who know exactly what to do at all times. However the layers of defense enabled by an incredibly dense energy source are sufficiently robust to ensure that the public will be protected from physical harm no matter what happens to the plant. People living close to the plants have nothing to worry about.
Nextbigfuture – Hyperion Power Generation Inc. (HPG), the Department of Energy – Savannah River (DOE-SR), and Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) have announced their commitment to deploy a privately-funded first-of-a-kind Hyperion reactor at the DOE Savannah River Site.
Nextbigfuture – The United Arab Emirates is expected to place orders for four more nuclear power plants next year beside the four units currently being built by a Korean consortium. China, the world’s biggest energy user, is “very likely” to resume approval of new nuclear projects in 2012 as the government completes a safety review prompted by the Fukushima disaster last year.