HKNIC - More about Nuclear Power Genernation
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More about Nuclear Power Genernation
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A nuclear power station cannot explode like an atomic bomb
Uranium is a material that can be used in an atomic bomb, but the uranium will need to contain nearly pure uranium 235 (U-235) for it to explode. In contrast, a commercial nuclear power station such as Daya Bay uses uranium with a slight U-235 enrichment of typically less than 5%. So it is impossible for a commercial nuclear reactor to explode like an atomic bomb from the perspective of physics. An analogy is comparing alcoholic spirits to beer. Alcoholic spirits, such as whisky, which typically has a 40% alcohol content, are flammable. Beer, which has an alcohol content of typically less than 5%, does not burn.
More about Nuclear Power Genernation

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station in Ukraine had four Russian RBMK generating units. This design is only used in former Soviet Union territories. On 26 April 1986, an accident at the reactor of Unit 4 led to a steam explosion at the reactor, causing the destruction of the reactor and its surrounding building structure. As a result, the radioactive contents of the reactor were spread for over 10 days over tens of kilometres, and the small amount that reached the high atmosphere was carried by prevailing winds as far as Western Europe. The accident was the result of a combination of inadequate regulatory control, a lack of operator knowledge, violation of operating procedures and a technically unsound reactor design.

There were 31 deaths among the workers and fire fighters during the accident, followed by another 19 deaths up to 2004 from various causes. In addition, 116,000 people were evacuated within a 30 kilometre radius in 1986 and finally 220,000 were permanently relocated.[1]

The most authoritative reports on the accident were those of the United Nations Scientific Committee on Atomic Radiation UNSCEAR in 2000 and of the Chernobyl Forum, comprising eight UN agencies and the three countries bordering around Chernobyl, released in 2005. According to these reports, there were 134 acute cases of radiation sickness, 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer including nine deaths up to 2004, with an ultimate death toll likely to reach 4,000. There has been no evidence of leukemia or solid cancers, and the likelihood of decreased fertility or genetic disorder was dismissed. [2]

Chernobyl has been the sole fatal nuclear accident among civil nuclear power stations, out of over 400 reactors in operation today since nuclear power was first introduced 50 years ago.

Following the Chernobyl accident, the nuclear industry established the World Association of Nuclear Operators to share experiences so as to prevent a recurrence. With its effective regulatory oversight, stringent operating procedures and an inherently safe design, Daya Bay will not experience an accident like that at Chernobyl.

Ref:

  1. 31 deaths originally from Pravda on 15/11/1986, in Mould R F, Chernobyl the real story, Pergamon, 1988 and this was broken down as 26 from acute radiation poisoning, 4 from burns or falling debris and 1 heart attack, in Chernobyl 10 years after, BNIF, 1996. 28 deaths in 1986 due to acute radiation syndrome or thermal burns and 19 in 1987-2004 of various causes: Chernobyl Forum, 2005
  2. The Chernobyl Forum

Basic differences between Chernobyl and Daya Bay