Severe nuclear reactor accidents likely every 10 to 20 years, European study suggests

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 14:30 in Physics & Chemistry

Western Europe has the worldwide highest risk of radioactive contamination caused by major reactor accidents. Catastrophic nuclear accidents such as the core meltdowns in Chernobyl and Fukushima are more likely to happen than previously assumed. Based on the operating hours of all civil nuclear reactors and the number of nuclear meltdowns that have occurred, scientists have calculated that such events may occur once every 10 to 20 years (based on the current number of reactors) -- some 200 times more often than estimated in the past.

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