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NUCLEAR DISASTER

by H. Holloway

Nuclear plant have a very small probability of causing a major disaster. Safety advances in protective circuitry and devices have advanced since the early days. Safer designs of construction have been implemented. But the monster is still there.

Putting illustrative figures in front of one shows how probabilities of disaster change.

The startimg point is a fictitious level but changes illustrated are factual.

Suppose the chances of disaster for nuclear power stations is 100,000 to 1. Assessed as close to improbable. But it is there.

Installing ten such stations reduces the safety factor by ten. It has become 10,000 to 1.

Over the decades the plants are in service, constant familiarity tends to lessen watchfulness of aspects difficult to get at to test. Safety is reduced somewhat. 8,000 to 1? 6,000 to 1?

Outside influences come to bear. Only this year legislation was passed to re-start the Candu Reactor at a lower safety factor than had been the allowable limit. This sort of reduction could make the ilustrative figures perhaps 2,000 to 1. There is no knowing how far such unexpected things may go in the future.

Chernobyl no doubt had a dreadful safety factor maybe 5 to 1.

But as illustration the UN figures for spread of contamination, placed on Bruce Power station as the center are shown on the sketch map. 200,000 square kilometres were contaminated and had to be evacuated.



Now the Premier has stated that Ontario is the Economic Engine of Canada. That Economic Engine would be closed down!