Reactor Safety

 

In all commercial nuclear power plants which are being planned, under construction or operating today, severe accidents with significant radioactive releases are possible. In case of such an accident, large areas can be contaminated for long periods of time. As a result, damages to people's health as well as fatalities have to be expected with a high likelihood.

 

To reduce these hazards, there have been world-wide, continuous efforts to improve nuclear safety in the past decades. Stepping-up of international discussion, enhanced cooperation between states and further development of safety features and equipment were aimed at. Safety requirements became stricter and more comprehensive.

On the other hand, the growing economic pressure in a globalized and liberalized economy can have a negative impact on safety - in the planning and construction stage of nuclear power plants, but also regarding operation, maintenance and backfitting.

The Fukushima accident on March 11, 2011 as well as several near-accidents that have occurred in recent years show that in this conflict, the factors which enhance safety are not necessarily dominating...
 
As long as nuclear power plants are operated, a continuous and consistent improvement of the level of nuclear safety is required. This must be accompanied with the harmonization of safety requirements as well as the practice of nuclear regulation across state boundaries. Borders cannot stop radioactive releases - different safety standards in different countries cannot be justified.

Within the European Union, this harmonization is already underway and there has been progress, though much remains to be done. The development world-wide is still much less pronounced.

Current activities of cervus nuclear consulting:

 

  • Contribution to the harmonization of requirements and practices regarding reactor safety at EU level
  • Evaluation of new nuclear power plant projects in the framework of trans boundary EIA procedures, but also beyond that in in-depth expert consultations
  • Assessment of specific technical aspects of nuclear power plants (design of safety systems, aging issues etc.)


Particularly relevant:

 

  • H. Hirsch is leading a European working group on the expectations for the safety demonstration of nuclear power plants. The avoidance of accidents with large or early radioactive releases is the main focus of this work which is expected to continue until 2018.
  • Coordination of the Austrian experts in the Safety Dialogue with Slovakia, concerning the completion of units 3 and 4 of Mochovce nuclear power plant. The Safety Dialogue is to be concluded in 2017, with the compilation of a comprehensive documentation.