This paper aims to investigate the major causes of the nuclear power plant (NPP) disasters since 1950, elucidates the commonalities between them and recommends strategies to minimize the risk of NPP disasters.
This paper analyzes facts from five case studies: Chernobyl disaster, USSR 1986; Fukushima Daiichi disaster, Japan 2011; Three Mile Island incident, USA 1979; Chalk River Accident, Canada 1952; and SL-1 Accident, USA 1961. A qualitative approach is adopted to compare and contrast the major reasons that led to the accidents, and consequent social and technological impacts of the disasters on environment, society, economy and nuclear industry are analyzed.
Although each of the nuclear accidents is unique in terms of its occurrence and impacts, this research study found some common causes behind the accidents. Faulty system design, equipment failure, inadequate safety and warning systems, violation of safety regulations, lack of training of the nuclear operators and ignorance from the operators and regulators side were found to be the major common causes behind the accidents.
This paper recommends some of the nuclear disaster risk reduction strategies in terms of “lessons learned from the past accidents”. The findings of the research paper would serve as an information tool for the nuclear professionals for informed decision-making and planning for proper preventive measures well in advance so that the mistakes which led to the occurrence of accidents in the past are not repeated in the future.
Mukhopadhyay, S., Halligan, J. and Hastak, M. (2016), "Assessment of major causes: nuclear power plant disasters since 1950", International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, Vol. 7 No. 5, pp. 521-543. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJDRBE-11-2015-0056Download as .RIS
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