Vermont’s thirty eight year old Yankee Nuclear Reaction is scheduled to be shut down in 2012. The main cause of concern is the leaking of tritium which is linked to cancer.
The life expectancy of nuclear power plants is forty years. Seventy five percent of all current nuclear power plants are in the second half of their expected life span.
After a plant is decommissioned there are a series of steps that must be taken including “removal and disposal of all radioactive components and materials, and cleanups of any radioactivity that may remain in the buildings and on the site.”
Machinery breakdown in the differing reactor designs is the major cause of nuclear insurance losses. Loses due to fire most frequently occur around six years of age.
The Convention on Nuclear Safety was adopted in 1994. “Its aim is to legally commit participating States operating land-based nuclear power plants to maintain a high level of safety by setting international benchmarks to which States would subscribe.”
Beyond the design of nuclear power plants and their landscape surrounds is the question of the disposal of nuclear waste.
How confident are designers, engineers and geologists of the long term safety of nuclear waste storage strategies?