International Nuclear Risk Assessment Group: Nuclear Safety during a pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted not just human health worldwide but also operations at many nuclear facilities. This could pose a challenge to safe and secure operations at these facilities and increase the risk of severe accidents. Should there be a severe accident, such as those at Chernobyl and Fukushima, the impact would be doubly devastating. In addition to the radiological contamination that would result from the accident, there would also be difficult challenges involved in evacuating large populations from the most contaminated zones, which is the usual way by which radiation doses have been lowered in the aftermath of previous accidents.
INRAG 24th April 2020 read more »
Policy makers around the world are hearing a lot of advice on how to design their stimulus packages. This comes from the IEA where Fatih Birol lays out five fundamental lessons we can learn from the stimulus packages that came out of the 2008 global financial crisis. His main headings are: Build on what you already have – and think big (e.g. feed-in tariffs, production tax credits); Choose technologies that are ready for the big time (e.g. wind, solar, offshore wind, Li-ion batteries, hydrogen electrolysers); Be wary of large, highly complex projects (e.g. go for standardised efficiency projects like building retrofits); Make sure your industrial policy plays to your strengths (e.g. mechanical engineering for Europe, mass manufacture for China); Consider the bigger picture (e.g. energy security, bailouts with clean energy conditions). Birol notes the mistakes made last time, including solar bubbles, too much or too early stimuli, and backing “shovel-ready” projects that would have happened anyway. He concludes that although this crisis will be more severe than 2008’s, some vital clean energy components are now more mature and ready to scale up. The rewards for backing them will be far greater this time.
Energy Post 23rd April 2020 read more »
The Nuclear Industry first developed pandemic response plans in 2006. But they were revised in March by the Nuclear Energy Institute to better align with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended actions for COVID-19 as well as those from the World Health Organization (WHO). The response plans include actions for the entire course of a pandemic, from monitoring of the global and local situations to internal preparations and communications. All nuclear plant pandemic plans emphasize ensuring the availability of reactor operating crews and include various action levels, from monitoring to possible sequestration of crew staff.
Forbes 21st April 2020 read more »
Nuclear energy needs to reinvent itself so that its benefits, risks and deeds are understood in terms of the values guiding us through this pandemic, says Jeremy Gordon.
Nuclear Engineering International 23rd April 2020 read more »
Experts have voiced growing frustration over the UK government’s claim that it is “following the science”, saying the refrain is being used to abdicate responsibility for political decisions. They also raised concerns that the views of public health experts were being overlooked, with disproportionate weight given to the views of modellers. “As a scientist, I hope I never again hear the phrase ‘based on the best science and evidence’ spoken by a politician,” Prof Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, told the Guardian. “This phrase has become basically meaningless and used to explain anything and everything.”
Guardian 23rd April 2020 read more »