When in 100 years we actually know the combined clean-up costs for Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima, which we will all pay for in very real dollars – One trillion for my example. We can then amortize that cost over the some three hundred commercial nuclear power plants in the world (forgetting for the moment about the hundreds of military / naval nuclear power plants or the legal and medical costs from those three incidents). Therefore in addition to the extremely expensive construction and ultimate decommissioning costs for each nuclear power plant, you can then add another three billion three hundred million to the cost of each existing plant.
Think of the recent earthquakes in Nepal, then think of a Fukushima type event happening in the USA following an earthquake. Think of the emergency responders and what they will face in such an incident let alone the general population and our environment. Outside of the US many new nuclear power plants are under construction around the world today, not under the purview of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. These plants should be of great concern to the rest of the world. US companies are deeply involved in their construction making their profits while putting us at great risk.
From a basic wall-street economic perspective: is nuclear power worth its true cost? If it is than we need to spend even more money on security upgrades. The question is; will the extra expense spent on exceeding the minimums that are currently set forth in nuclear power plant construction and life safety codes ever going to provide the protections we need? I think not. Since we have seen that the current standards don’t do the job, how far do we need to, and can we go? Whatever these extra safety measures are, add this to the total cost including paying for the prior disasters. And do not forget the undisclosed permanent environmental damage done in uranium mining and processing nuclear fuel rods, and the need for better fire protection systems in all the intermediate nuclear facilities.
The ultimate challenge for a Fire Protection Engineer is protecting nuclear power plants, and the associated facilities for fuel processing and fabrication, the long term nuclear storage facilities of spent uranium fuel rods and the ultimate radioactive parts storage after the decommissioning of each nuclear power plant. We have now seen that there is no current fire protection system that can prevent a nuclear reactor incident or even worse a core melt-down and all of the associated radioactive environmental contamination under what are some very foreseeable disasters – man made or otherwise. These are the facts we need to face before another day goes by, and another nuclear power plant gets approved.
Please let me know what you think via your Comments and likes.
Felix Giannini, FPE, CPP