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The safety of nuclear power generation - Essay Example

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A nuclear disaster can have a profound effect on the lives of neighboring communities because the exposure to radiation has permanent effects. Consequently, the…
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The safety of nuclear power generation
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The safety of nuclear power generation

Download file to see previous pages... Fig 1 shows the few instances of nuclear accidents as compared to the cumulative years the reactors have been in operation. The report will focus on the underlying causes involved in the three disasters in order to reveal the most effective ways of ensuring that human life is not lost again due to nuclear accidents.
The accident at Three Mile Island (TMI 2) that occurred in 1979 was caused by a combination of equipment failure and the inexperience of the plant operators (World Nuclear Association 2013 p. 1). The nuclear professionals failed to understand the heat condition of the reactor at pivotal moments during the event (World Nuclear Association 2013 p.1). As a result, their response was ineffective. A gradual loss of cooling water to the heat-producing core in the reactor caused a partial melting of the fuel rod cladding. In addition, the uranium fuel was also affected. As a result, a small amount of radioactive material was released.
The Chernobyl accident was caused by a flawed reactor design. The accident occurred during a test for emergencies because operators were trying to determine what would happen to a reactor if a power outage occurred (Mara 2011, p. 15). The reactor had a large positive void coefficient. The void coefficient refers to the response of a nuclear reactor in case of increased steam formation in the water coolant.
The second flaw involved the design of the rods that were expected to slow down reactions in the rector. The lower part of the control rods was made of graphite. In addition, it was shorter than the conventional design. The design led to the increase of power output. The practice achieved unintended results, a fact that was clearly unknown to the reactor operators.
In contrast, the Fukushima power plants had an excellent design. When the authorities learned about the impending storm, they executed a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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