The nuclear industry loves to brag about its supposedly lovely safety record. The chances of that happening are one in a gazillion! The nuclear industry has a safety record of tens of thousands of reactor years of operations!! And many other extremely comforting statistics are common in nuclear propaganda.
The nuclear industry would prefer you not know this statistic:
Two of every hundred commercial nuclear reactors ever built have had meltdowns.
That’s right. Of the 582 commercial nuclear reactors ever built, 12 had meltdowns.
What?! That can’t be right. There have been only 3 major disasters! Right? Wrong.
The good people at About.com have an excellent post on the twelve meltdowns that have occurred at commercial nuclear reactors around the world. A number of them were kept secret for years or decades.
And the story get’s worse – serious nuclear accidents occur every two years!
Cochran, who taught nuclear physics as the U.S. Naval Academy, explained that 582 commercial nuclear reactors have been built and operated worldwide. Of those, 137 have shut down permanently for various reasons. Twelve have suffered meltdown incidents.
With commercial reactors operating on average just under 26 years each, Cochran calculated that a serious nuclear accident occurs approximately every two years.
Here is a quick list of the twelve meltdowns:
- Santa Susana’s SRE, 1959, USA
– just miles from Los Angeles, California
– first nuclear plant to send electricity to the grid!
– was kept secret for two decades
- Idaho National Labs’ SL-1, 1964, USA
– killed three operators instantly
- Detroit’s Fermi 1, 1966, USA
– just miles from both Detroit and Toledo
– kept secret for about a decade
- Scotland’s Chapelcross Unit 2, 1967, UK
- St. Laurent A-1, 1969, France
- St. Laurent A-2, 1980, France
– this is generally considered the worst ‘accident’ in France
– years later, plutonium was found in the river nearby
- Three Mile Island Unit 2, 1978, USA
- Chernobyl Unit 4, 1986, Ukraine (formerly USSR)
- Greifswald Unit 5, 1989, Germany
- Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1, 2011, Japan
- Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2, 2011, Japan
- Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3, 2011, Japan
There is lots more information at the About.com article on these meltdowns. Please take the time to learn about them. Next time someone tells you, “there have only been three meltdowns” or some other safety myth, you can correct them and say, “No. There have been 12, and 2% of commercial reactors meltdown!”
You’ll be able to impress friends and relatives with your broad knowledge on nuclear catastrophes. How wonderful!