10 Nuclear Power Stations

10.1 Introduction

10.1.1 General

There are four aspects concerning the public acceptance of nuclear energy: severe accident risk, proliferation, vulnerability to sabotage, and nuclear waste disposal. Severe accident risk in nuclear power stations is treated in this chapter. The reason for this choice is that, until now, only reactor accidents have had serious consequences.

In 2013, approximately 16% of the electricity production worldwide and one third in the European Union was obtained from nuclear fission [1]. In 2010, 62% of the nuclear reactors in power stations worldwide were pressurized water reactors (PWRs) and 19% were boiling water reactors (BWRs) [2]. Both reactor types belong to the category of light water reactors (LWRs). These reactor types will be described in some detail in Section 10.2 as serious accidents occurred with these reactor types. Still, they are often considered to be options for the future. Nuclear power stations were introduced in the 1950s. Until now, three major accidents occurred in large nuclear power stations. First, in 1979, there was the TMI‐2 accident at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. It concerned a PWR. The consequences were modest. The accident is discussed in Section 10.3. Second, in 1986, an accident occurred at Chernobyl in Russia. The consequences of the accident at Chernobyl were very serious. The reactor type was different from either a PWR or a BWR, and the accident is not discussed in this book. ...

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