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# This article is part of the antinuclear project of the Center for Freedom of Information which is intended to share the information on the nuclear event scale published at Operational Performance Information System For Nuclear Power Plant.

 

The Fukushima nuclear accident is not merely a national issue of Japan but a global issue. Of course the residents of the surrounding area would suffer the most from the accident but the fear of radioactivity leads to an irretrievable disaster for everything alive including humans and the environment. There are scales for accidents and malfunctions of nuclear power plants and the accidents of Fukushima and Chernobyl received “7” which is classified as a major accident.

 

  The Operational Performance Information System For Nuclear Power Plant discloses the current state of the nuclear event scale. The IAEA and the OECD/NEA introduced the international nuclear event scale (INES) to help the public and the press to understand easily and consistently the safety significance of events occurring at nuclear installations. The INES has been in full use since 1992. At present, approximately 60 countries around the world are using this system for nuclear events. Korea has been operating the INES system since 1993.

 

INES classifies the scale at seven levels according to the safety significance of the accidents happened at nuclear related facilities defining Levels 1–3 “incidents” and Levels 4–7 “accidents”. In general the classification criteria of the accidents occurred in nuclear related facilities is based on whether the accidents provide radiological impacts to people and the accidents that do not provide such impacts are classified as malfunctions. The INES calls the events without safety significance “Below Scale/Level 0” and classifies it “deviations”. Events irrelevant to safety are defined as out of scale.

 

< Operational Performance Information System For Nuclear Power Plant>

 

 


INES / Classification System


< Operational Performance Information System For Nuclear Power Plant>

 

 Examples of Scale Evaluation



< Operational Performance Information System For Nuclear Power Plant>


Example of scale evaluation

When accidents occur in nuclear related facilities, the level of the scale is given considering the exposure to radiation& environmental effects, damage to reactor core/radiological barriers and the impact on defense in depth.

Exposure to radiation and environmental effect

The exposure to radiation and environmental effects are related to the incidents in which the public or workers are exposed to radiation or radiation is released to outside, and the level of the scale is given between 2 and 7 based on the significance.

Damage to reactor core/radiological barriers

Damage to reactor core/radiological barriers is applied to the incidents occurred in nuclear facilities such as damage on nuclear fuel/radiological barriers and the spread of contamination, and the scale is given between 2 and 5.

Impact on defense in depth

Impact on defense in depth is related to the breakdown of facilities which is applicable to the incidents that have no visible consequences, and the level of the scale is given between 1 and 3.

 

 < Operational Performance Information System for Nuclear Power Plant>

 

  Following is the statistics per country. The U.S. has the largest number of nuclear power plants followed by France, Japan and Russia, and the accidents and breakdown occurred most frequently in India followed by Sweden and Korea.

 

  Looking at the issue based on the levels, these three countries that have large numbers of accidents and breakdown are mostly classified as anomaly or no safety significance. The cases with safety significance (higher than level 3) occurred in Russia, Japan and Ukraine.




 

Country Statistics from News

Country/Level

Operating Unit Name

Out of Level

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Total

USA

103

9

15

6

6

1

 

 

 

 

37

FRANCE

58

 

1

1

37

 

 

 

 

 

39

JAPAN

50

7

6

3

2

4

 

 

 

1

23

RUSSIA

33

 

11

12

8

4

 

 

 

 

35

KOREA

23

 

44

2

2

 

 

 

 

 

48

INDIA

20

 

46

28

4

1

 

 

 

 

79

CANADA

19

 

3

7

6

 

 

 

 

 

16

CHINA

18

1

4

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

UNITED KINGDOM

16

 

1

1

11

 

 

 

 

 

13

UKRAINE

15

5

12

13

14

3

 

 

 

 

47

SWEDEN

10

2

11

31

7

 

 

 

 

 

51

GERMANY

9

 

3

2

5

 

 

 

 

 

10

SPAIN

8

 

2

7

3

 

 

 

 

 

12

BELGIUM

7

 

2

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

7

TAIWAN

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

CZECH REPUBLIC

6

5

5

8

1

 

 

 

 

 

19

SWITZERLAND

5

 

3

4

3

 

 

 

 

 

10

SLOVAKIA

4

 

2

9

1

1

 

 

 

 

13

HUNGRAY

4

 

2

9

3

1

 

 

 

 

15

FINLAND

4

 

 

4

2

 

 

 

 

 

6

PAKISTAN

3

2

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

SOUTH AFRICA

2

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

3

ROMANIA

2

2

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

BRAZIL

2

1

1

2

1

 

 

 

 

 

5

BULGARIA

2

 

3

18

2

 

 

 

 

 

23

ARGENTINA

2

1

6

2

2

 

 

 

 

 

11

MEXICO

2

 

2

7

3

 

 

 

 

 

12

ARMENIA

1

 

2

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

4

NETHERLANDS

1

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

1

IRAN

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

SLOVENIA

1

1

18

2

1

 

 

 

 

 

22

LITHUANIA

0

 

12

6

2

1

 

 

 

 

21

KAZAKHSTAN

0

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

ITALY

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

Total

437

36

223

186

137

16

 

 

 

1

599

<Shows the INES results for worldwide NPP events provided by the IAEA's NEWS (Nuclear Event Web-based System)>

 

  Can we say that it is safe since there weren’t any severe accidents as it was in Russia, Japan and Ukraine? It is impossible to understand that they classified “0” and defined it as not significant for safety. The frequent occurrence of malfunctions has potential to become a bigger accident. The concealment of malfunctions and incidents make it more dangerous.

 

  The reason behind nuclear accidents can be various including the mistake of laborers, defective parts and natural disasters but the previous cases mostly occurred when there are high number of nuclear power plant (U.S.: Three mile Island, Japan: Fukushima, Soviet Union: Chernobyl) and when nuclear power plants are old (Among the 10 plants in Fukushima, four plants exploded in order from the oldest.).

 

 Perhaps, the nuclear power plants in Korea are not applicable to above cases. However, it is also not possible to say that the frequent breakdown, life expansion and constructing extra nuclear power plants are safe or irrelevant with nuclear accidents. Aren’t the nuclear power plants and the government that admires nuclear energy putting the citizen in the danger of nuclear accidents?

 

*You can find information on the accidents and breakdown of Korean nuclear power plants and the nuclear event scale at Operational Performance Information System For Nuclear Power Plant.

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