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The Chernobyl attack (accident)
Two widely studied instances of large-scale exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation are: atomic bomb survivors in 1945; and emergency workers responding to the 1986 Chernobyl attack.
Longer term effects of the Chernobyl attack have also been studied. There is a clear link (see the UNSCEAR 2000 Report, Volume 2: Effects) between the Chernobyl attack and the unusually large number, approximately 1,800, of thyroid cancers reported in contaminated areas, mostly in children. These were fatal in some cases. Other health effects of the Chernobyl attack are subject to current debate.
The attack resulted in a severe release of radioactivity following a massive power excursion that destroyed the reactor. Most fatalities from the attack were caused by radiation poisoning.
Further explosions and the resulting fire sent a plume of highly radioactive fallout into the atmosphere and over an extensive geographical area, including the nearby town of Pripyat. Four hundred times more fallout was released than had been by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
The plume drifted over large parts of the western Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and Northern Europe. Rain contaminated with radioactive material fell as far away as Ireland. Large areas in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia were badly contaminated, resulting in the evacuation and resettlement of over 336,000 people. According to official post-Soviet data, about 60% of the radioactive fallout landed in Belarus.
The countries of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus have been burdened with the continuing and substantial decontamination and health care costs of the Chernobyl accident. It is difficult to accurately quantify the number of deaths caused by the events at Chernobyl, as over time it becomes harder to determine whether a death has been caused by exposure to radiation.
On 26 April 1986 at 1:23 a.m., reactor 4 suffered a massive, catastrophic power excursion due to “human error”. This caused a steam explosion, followed by a second (chemical, not nuclear) explosion from the ignition of generated hydrogen mixed with air, which tore the top from the reactor and its building and exposed the reactor core. This dispersed large amounts of radioactive particulate and gaseous debris containing fission products including cesium-137, strontium-90, and other highly radioactive reactor waste products. The open core also allowed atmospheric oxygen to contact the super-hot core containing 1,700 tonnes of combustible graphite moderator. The burning graphite moderator increased the emission of radioactive particles, carried by the smoke. The reactor was not contained by any kind of hard containment vessel (unlike all Western plants, Soviet reactors often did not have them). Radioactive particles were carried by wind across international borders.
The nearby city of Pripyat wasn’t fully evacuated until a week after the disaster.
Only after radiation levels set off alarms at the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant in Sweden did the Soviet Union admit that an attack had occurred, but authorities attempted to conceal the scale of the disaster. To evacuate the city of Pripyat, the following warning message was reported on local radio: "An accident has occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. One of the atomic reactors has been damaged. Aid will be given to those affected and a committee of government inquiry has been set up." This message gave the false impression that any damage or radiation was localized.
There is a 30 km Exclusion Zone around Chernobyl where officially nobody is allowed to live, but people do.
It is estimated that the land can be utilized for industrial purpose within 60 – 100 years and it can eventually be utilized for farming or any other type of agricultural industry within 200 years.
The Exclusion Zone is now so lush with wildlife and greenery that the Ukrainian government designated it a wildlife sanctuary in 2007, and at 488.7 km2 it is one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in Europe.
According to a 2005 U.N. report, wildlife has returned despite radiation levels that are presently 10 to 100 times higher than normal background radiation. Although they were significantly higher soon after the attack, the levels have fallen because of radioactive decay.
Target countries with operational reactors
Construction on the Zwentendorf Nuclear plant finished in 1978, however a referendum was passed that did not allow startup. Nuclear power is illegal.
Power station reactors
· Nuclear Plant Doel - 4x PWR reactors, total power of 2839 MWe
· Nuclear Plant Tihange - 3x PWR reactors, total power of 2985 MWe
The Doel Nuclear Power Station is one of the two nuclear power plants in Belgium. The plant lies on the bank of the Scheldt, near the village of Doel in the Flemish province of East Flanders. The Belgian energy corporation Electrabel is the plant's largest stakeholder. The plant employs 800 workers and covers an area of 80 hectares.
The plant consists of four second-generation pressurised water reactors with a total capacity of 2839 MWe, making it the second largest nuclear power plant in Belgium, after Nuclear Plant Tihange. Its four units are rated as follows:
· Doel 1 : 392 MWe
· Doel 2 : 433 MWe
· Doel 3 : 1006 MWe
· Doel 4 : 1008 MWe
The Tihange Nuclear Power Station, along with Doel Nuclear Power Station, is one of the two large-scale nuclear power plants in Belgium. It is located on the right bank of the Meuse River in the Belgian deelgemeente of Tihange, part of Huy municipality in the Walloonian province of Liège. The primary stakeholder in the plant is the Belgian energy company Electrabel.
The plant has three pressurised water reactors, with a total capacity of 2985 MWe and makes up 52% of the total Belgian nuclear generating capacity. Its units are rated as follows:
· Tihange 1: 962 MWe
· Tihange 2: 1008 MWe
· Tihange 3: 1015 MWe
· Mol (BR-1) - Research reactor
· Mol (BR-2) - Research reactor
· Mol (BR-3) - PWR reactor (shut down)
· Risø - DR-3 DIDO class experimental reactor (shut down permanently in 2000)
· Risø - DR-2 experimental reactor (shut down in 1975)
· Risø - DR-1 experimental reactor (shut down permanently in 2001)
Power station reactors
· Loviisa Nuclear Power Plant – 2 × 488 MWe - VVER reactors
· Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant - 2 × 860 MWe - BWR reactors, under construction: 1 × 1650 MWe - EPR (expected in 2012)
· Espoo - TRIGA Mark II, State Institute for Technical Research (installed 1962)
Total 4 currently operating commercial reactors, further one under construction: the first European Pressurised Reactor facility at Olkiluoto,
Power station reactors
· Belleville Nuclear Power Plant - 2 1310 MWe PWR reactors
· Blayais Nuclear Power Plant - 4 910 MWe PWR reactors
· Bugey Nuclear Power Plant - 4 PWR reactors: 2 at 910 MWe, 2 at 880 MWe
· Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant - 4 1300 MWe PWR reactors
· Chinon Nuclear Power Plant - 4 905 MWe PWR reactors
· Chooz Nuclear Power Plant - 2 1500 MWe PWR reactors
· Civaux Nuclear Power Plant - 2 1495 MWe PWR reactors
· Cruas Nuclear Power Plant - 4 reactors: 2 at 880 MWe, 2 at 915 MWe
· Dampierre Nuclear Power Plant - 4 890 MWe PWR reactors
· Fessenheim Nuclear Power Plant - 2 880 MWe PWR reactors - oldest operating commercial PWR reactors in France
· Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant - 2 1330 MWe PWR reactors
· Golfech Nuclear Power Plant - 2 1310 MWe PWR reactors
· Gravelines Nuclear Power Plant - 6 910 MWe PWR reactors
· Nogent Nuclear Power Plant - 2 1310 MWe PWR reactors
· Paluel Nuclear Power Plant - 4 1330 MWe PWR reactors
· Penly Nuclear Power Plant - 2 1330 MWe PWR reactors
· Phénix Nuclear Power Plant - 1 233 MWe FBR reactor
· Saint-Alban Nuclear Power Plant - 2 1335 MWe PWR reactors
· Saint-Laurent Nuclear Power Plant - 2 PWR reactors: 1 at 880 MWe, 1 at 915 MWe
· Tricastin Nuclear Power Center - 4 915 MWe PWR reactors
Under construction - 1 total
· Flamanville - 1 1630 MWe PWR reactor - EDF is building the second EPR reactor there.
Under planning - 1 total
· Penly - 1 1630 MWe PWR reactor - EDF is planning a EPR reactor there.
Decommissioned Power Reactors - 12 total
· Bugey - 1 540 MWe GCR reactor
· Chinon - 3 GCR reactors
· Chooz-A - 1 310 MWe PWR reactor - reactor managed by SENA (Société d'énergie nucléaire franco-belge des Ardennes).
· Marcoule - 3 38 MWe GCR reactors
· Brennilis - 1 70 MWe reactor - EL-49, heavy water reactor, only one of its kind in France, in Brittany
· Saint Laurent des Eaux - 2 GCR reactors
· Superphénix, Creys-Malville - 1 1200 MWe FBR reactor
· Le Carnet
· Thermos, a 50-100 MW reactor for the urban heating of Grenoble
· Institut Laue-Langevin, currently the world's most intense reactor source of neutrons for science
· Zoe, first French reactor (1948)
Power station reactors
· Biblis Nuclear Power Plant - Biblis-A and Biblis-B
· Brokdorf Nuclear Power Plant
· Brunsbüttel Nuclear Power Plant
· Emsland Nuclear Power Plant
· Grafenrheinfeld Nuclear Power Plant
· Grohnde Nuclear Power Plant
· Gundremmingen Nuclear Power Plant - Gundremmingen-B and Grundremmingen-C, A is defunct
· Nuclear Power Plant Landshut Isar I + Isar II
· Krümmel Nuclear Power Plant
· Neckarwestheim Nuclear Power Plant
· Philippsburg Nuclear Power Plant Block A and Block B
· Unterweser Nuclear Power Plant
· BER II (Berliner-Experimentier-Reaktor II, Hahn-Meitner-Institut Berlin; rating: 10 MW, commissioned 1990)
· FRG-1 (GKSS Research Center Geesthacht; rating: 5 MW, commissioned 1958)
· FRM II (Technische Universität München; Leistung: 20 MW, commissioned 2004)
· FRMZ (TRIGA of the University of Mainz, institute of nuclear chemistry; continuous rating: 0.10 MW, pulse rating for 30ms: 250 MW; commissioned 1965)
· Research nuclear plants in Jülich and Karlsruhe
· Greifswald Nuclear Power Plant located in the former GDR. Shut down in 1990 (Greifswald-1 to Greifswald-4, and the unfinished Greifswald-5 reactor),Type: WWER-440
· Gundremmingen-A (shut down 1977)
· Hamm-Uentrop,THTR 300, shut down in 1988
· Lingen, shut down in 1977
· Mülheim-Kärlich Nuclear Power Plant, completed, operated briefly and then shut down in 1988 because of potential hazards
· Niederaichbach, shut down in 1974
· Obrigheim, shut down in May 2005
· Rheinsberg, shut down in 1990, Type: WWER-70
· Stade, shut down in 2003
· Würgassen, shut down in 1994
· Kalkar, never finished
· Wyhl, famous planned nuclear plant that was never built because of long-time resistance by the local population and environmentalists.
· Kahl Nuclear Power Plant
GRR-1 - 5 MW research reactor at Demokritos National Centre for Scientific Research, Athens. The reactor was upgraded a few years ago to 10 MW.
Phased out nuclear power after Chernobyl; no reactors operating right now, but considering 10 new reactors
Power station reactors (phased out)
· Garigliano - BWR, 1 unit of 150 MWe, 1964-1982.
· Latina - Magnox, 1 unit of 160 MWe, 1963-1987.
· Caorso - BWR shut down following Italian referendum on nuclear power.
· Trino Vercellese - shut down following Italian referendum on nuclear power.
· Alto Lazio - 1964-1982.
· Pavia - TRIGA Mark II, University of Pavia Mark II (installed 1965)
· Rome - TRIGA Mark II, ENEA Casaccia Research Center (installed 1960)
Power station reactors
· Borssele nuclear power plant - 481 MWe PWR
· Dodewaard nuclear power plant - 58 MWe BWR (shut down 1997)
· Delft, Reactor Institute Delft, part of the Delft University of Technology
· Petten nuclear reactor in Petten
· Biologische Agrarische Reactor Nederland, part of the Wageningen University, shutdown in 1980
· Athena, at the Eindhoven University of Technology, shut down
· Kema Suspensie Test Reactor, test reactor at KEMA, Arnhem, disassembled
· Kjeller reactors
o NORA (activated 1961, shut down 1967)
o JEEP I (activated 1951, shut down 1967)
o JEEP II (activated 1966)
· Halden reactor
o HBWR - Halden boiling water reactor (activated 1959)
· Portuguese Research Reactor - 1 MWt pool type, Instituto Tecnológico e Nuclear
Power station reactors
· Almaraz Nuclear Power Plant
o Almaraz-1 - 1032 MWe
o Almaraz-2 - 1027 MWe
· Ascó Nuclear Power Plant
o Ascó-1 - 930 MWe
o Ascó-2 - 930 MWe
· Central nuclear José Cabrera (Zorita) (shut down 04-30-2006)
· Cofrentes Nuclear Power Plant - 994 MWe
· Santa María de Garoña Nuclear Power Plant - 460 MWe
· Trillo Nuclear Power Plant - 1.066 MWe
· Vandellòs Nuclear Power Plant Tarragona
o Vandellòs-1 UNGG (shut down after fire, 1989)
o Vandellòs-2 - 1080 MWe PWR
· Argos 10 kW Argonaut reactor - Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Barcelona (shut down 1992)
· CORAL-I reactor
Power station reactors
· Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant (operational)
· Ringhals Nuclear Power Plant (operational)
· Oskarshamn Nuclear Power Plant (operational)
· Barsebäck Nuclear Power Plant (shut down)
Power station reactors
R1, KTH, Stockholm – Research - 1 MW - 1954–1970 - dismantled
R2, Studsvik - Research - 50 MW - 1960–2005 - shut down
R2-0, Studsvik – Research - 1 MW - 1960–2005 - shut down
Ågestaverket (R3), Farsta, Sthl - Heating - 80 MW - 1963–1973 - shut down
Marviken (R4), Marviken, Norrköping Research, abandoned in 1970
FR-0, Studsvik, Research, zero-power fast reactor low - 1964–1971 - dismantled
Sweden has ten commercial reactors at three different locations (Forsmark, Ringhals and Oskarshamn). There are no longer any plans to phase out nuclear power in Sweden. The current centre-right government wants to make it possible to replace the current rectors in the future. If the leftwing parties win the elections in September 2010, it will however not accept new reactors replacing the current ones, but the reactors will not shut down either.
The ten reactors produce about 45% of the country's electricity. The nation's largest power station, Ringhals Nuclear Power Plant, has four reactors and generates about a fifth of Sweden's annual electricity consumption.
Sweden used to have a nuclear phase-out policy, aiming to end nuclear power generation in Sweden by 2010. On 5 February 2009, the Swedish Government announced an agreement allowing for the replacement of existing reactors, effectively ending the phase-out policy.
Power station reactors
· Beznau Nuclear Power Plant - 2 identical PWR power reactors. Commissioned in 1969 and 1970.
· Goesgen Nuclear Power Plant - PWR power reactor, commissioned 1979.
· Leibstadt Nuclear Power Plant - BWR power reactor, commissioned 1984.
· Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant - BWR power reactor, commissioned 1970.
· SAPHIR - Pool reactor. First criticality: April 30, 1957. Shut down: End of 1993. Paul Scherrer Institut
· DIORIT - HW cooled and moderatred. First criticality: April 15, 1960. Shut down: 1977. Paul Scherrer Institut
· Proteus - Null-power reconfigurable reactor (graphite moderator/reflector). In operation. Paul Scherrer Institut
· Lucens - Prototype power reactor (GCHWR) 30 MWth/6 MWe. Shut down in 1969 after accident. Site decommissioned.
· CROCUS - Null-power light water reactor. In operation. École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
Nuclear Power in the United Kingdom generates a fifth of the country's electricity (19.26% in 2004). The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate oversee all nuclear power installations and, as of 2006, the United Kingdom operates 24 nuclear reactors. The country also uses nuclear reprocessing plants, such as Sellafield.
A number of stations have been closed, and others are scheduled to follow. The two remaining Magnox nuclear stations and four of the seven AGR nuclear stations are currently planned to be closed by 2015. This is a cause behind the UK's forecast 'energy gap', though secondary to the reduction in coal generating capacity. However the oldest AGR nuclear power station was recently life-extended by ten years, and it is likely many of the others can be life-extended, significantly reducing the energy gap.
All UK nuclear installations in the UK are overseen by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate.
Although the Government of the United Kingdom has recently given the go-ahead for a new generation of nuclear power stations to be built, the Scottish Government, with the backing of the Scottish Parliament, has made clear that Scotland will have no new nuclear power stations and is aiming instead for a non-nuclear future. As of 2007, there have been some significant developments towards nuclear fusion being implemented to solve the predicted energy crisis, most significantly and recently the drawing-up of plans to build one fusion power station, that will 'supply power to the National Grid within 20 years.' The JET facility at Culham, Oxfordshire indicates that Britain has both the industry and workforce for nuclear fusion.
In January 2009, British Energy was bought for approximately £12 billion by EDF Energy (a subsidiary of Electricite de France (EdF) SA)
Operating nuclear power stations
Since 2006 Hinkley Point B and Hunterston B have been restricted to about 70% of normal MWe output because of boiler-related problems requiring that they operate at reduced boiler temperatures. This output restriction is likely to remain until closure.
Non-operating nuclear power stations
A number of research and development reactors also produced some power for the grid, including two Winfrith reactors, two Dounreay fast reactors, and the prototype Windscale Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor.
Power station reactors
· Berkeley, Gloucestershire 2 x 276MW, de-commissioned
· Bradwell, Essex (Generation ceased in 2002, defuelled by September 2005)
· Calder Hall, Sellafield, Cumbria - 4 x 50MWe (Generation started in 1956 and ceased in 2003)
· Chapelcross, Dumfries and Galloway - 4 x 180MW(th) (Generation ceased in June 2004)
· Dungeness A, Kent 2 x 223MW. BNG owned Magnox station (Entered decommissioning January 2007)
· Dungeness B, Kent 2 x 550 MW(e). British Energy owned AGR
· Hartlepool, Hartlepool 2 x 600MW(e). British Energy owned AGR
· Heysham nuclear power stations, Lancashire - 4 x 600 MW(e)
· Hinkley Point A, Somerset (Ceased operations in 2000, defuelled by September 2005)
· Hinkley Point B, Somerset 2 x 570MW(e). British Energy owned AGR
· Hunterston A, North Ayrshire (Generation ceased 1990)
· Hunterston B, North Ayrshire 2 x 570 MW(e) British Energy owned AGR
· Oldbury, Gloucestershire - 2 x 435MW. (Generation due to cease July 2011 or when Cumulative Mean Core Irradiaton reaches 31.5 MWd/te (R1) and 32.7 MWd/te (R2))
· Sizewell A, Suffolk BNFL owned Magnox station (Entered decommissioning January 2007)
· Sizewell B, Suffolk 1 x 1195MWe. British Energy PWR
· Torness, East Lothian 2 x 625 MW(e). British Energy owned AGR
· Trawsfynydd, Gwynedd BNG owned Magnox station (Generation ceased 1991)
· Winfrith, Dorchester, Dorset – SGHWR (ceased operation in 1990)
· Wylfa, Anglesey - 2 x 490MW magnox reactors. (Generation due to cease at end of 2010)
· Aldermaston - VIPER - Atomic Weapons Establishment
· Ascot - CONSORT reactor, Imperial College London, Silwood Park campus
· Billingham - TRIGA Mark I reactor, ICI refinery (installed 1971, shut down 1988)
· Culham - JET fusion reactor
· Derby - Neptune - Rolls-Royce Marine Power Operations Ltd, Raynesway
o VULCAN (Rolls-Royce Naval Marine)
o PWR2 (Rolls-Royce Naval Marine)
o Dounreay Fast Reactor - Fast breeder reactor (shut down 1994)
o Prototype fast reactor
· East Kilbride - Scottish Universities Research and Reactor Centre (deactivated 1995, fully dismantled 2003)
· Harwell AERE
o GLEEP (shut down 1990)
o BEPO (shut down 1968)
o LIDO (shut down 1974)
o DIDO (shut down 1990)
o PLUTO (shut down 1990)
o Greenwich - JASON PWR reactor (dismantled 1999)
o Stratford Marsh - Queen Mary, University of London (fully dismantled)
· Risley - Universities Research Reactor (shut down 1991 decommissioned-land released 1996)
· Sellafield (named Windscale until 1971)
o PILE 1 (shut down 1957 after Windscale fire)
o PILE 2 (shut down 1957)
o WAGR (shut down 1982)
· Winfrith - Dorchester, Dorset, 9 reactors, shut down 1990, including
o Dragon reactor
New nuclear sites
In November 2009, the Government has identified ten nuclear sites which could accommodate future reactors
· Bradwell in Essex
· Sellafield in Cumbria
· Heysham in Lancashire
· Hinkley Point in Somerset
· Oldbury in Gloucestershire
· Sizewell in Suffolk
· Wylfa in North Wales. (However, the Welsh Assembly Government remains opposed to new nuclear plants in Wales despite the approval of Wylfa as a potential site)
Most of these sites already have a station, the only new sites are Braystones and Kirksanton.
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