Are Nuclear Reactors Becoming Safer?

Modern nuclear reactors are becoming increasingly safer, with a range of safety features that go beyond those of older installations. These features include duplicate emergency cooling systems to prevent overheating, and core receivers that would contain the reactor core in the event of a meltdown. Although nuclear power has stagnated in the US and is being phased out in Germany and other countries, Russia and China are aggressively building new reactors. Manufacturers are also experimenting with fourth-generation models that use liquid sodium or molten salt instead of water to transfer fission heat, eliminating the possibility of hazardous hydrogen production.

In the US, legislators have proposed measures to resume licensing for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depot in Nevada, while Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski is advocating for the development of very small modular reactors at the Idaho National Laboratory. Improving fuels and growing small reactors could be an important part of the nuclear energy revival. Nuclear energy is much safer than its reputation implies, and is also clean and reliable. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has improved regulatory requirements and tools to ensure the safe operation of plants.

Precursors to accidents are analyzed to determine their risk of causing an accident that damages the reactor core. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has acted as an auditor of global nuclear safety since the Chernobyl accident, and evaluated the safety aspects of nuclear plants highlighted by the Fukushima accident in EU member states and neighboring countries. Nuclear DKM practices can enhance traditional business functions such as human resource management, training, planning, operations, maintenance, and more. Nuclear power plants are designed with sensors that automatically shut them down in the event of an earthquake.

Civil nuclear power has greatly improved its safety both in engineering and in operation throughout its 65 years of experience, with very few major accidents and incidents to drive that improvement. For different reasons, both conservatives concerned about air pollution and energy shortages, and former Green Party members concerned about climate change have come to consider it a shame that nuclear energy is being neglected. President Joe Biden's American Jobs Plan contains provisions to finance advanced nuclear reactors, which could be part of a combination of energy technologies used to control carbon in the atmosphere. During the Cold War, neither Russia nor the United States targeted the other party's nuclear power plants due to their limited potential damage.

The basic premise of an FCVS is that catastrophic failure of the containment structure can be prevented by discharging steam, air and non-condensable gases such as hydrogen to the atmosphere. In addition to renewable energy sources, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that nuclear energy could play an important role in mitigating the effects of climate change. This was demonstrated when a proposed Japanese nuclear power plant was tested to see if it could withstand the impact of a heavy aircraft. European safety authorities prefer a deterministic approach when evaluating reactor safety, focusing on actual backup hardware provision while also performing probabilistic safety analysis (PSA) for frequency of core damage.