US Scientists from Princeton University warned that a global nuclear disaster might occur at any time in the near future However, this time not North Korea, but the US authorities would be to blame.
(Sputnik) The experts accused the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission of having made an incorrect assessment of possible critical accidents at national nuclear power plants (NPPs) located in the US, Science News reported.
In particular, they noted that the commission ignored the fact that most nuclear power plants in the country have nuclear fuel in the immediate vicinity of nuclear waste.
According to scientists, nuclear waste-fires can lead to the release of radioactive material into the atmosphere and have catastrophic consequences, exceeding by several times the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
The fires of that kind could be caused by various events, including an earthquake or a terrorist attack.
Scientists are confident that the catastrophe can be avoided if the commission applies necessary regulatory measures to nuclear power plants. However, the agency apparently faces difficulties in doing so, in particular because of the pressure from representatives of the nuclear industry, experts noted.
‘The NRC has been pressured by the nuclear industry, directly and through Congress, to low-ball the potential consequences of a fire because of concerns that increased costs could result in shutting down more nuclear power plants,’ nuclear expert and co-author of the paper Frank von Hippel was quoted as saying.
‘Unfortunately, if there is no public outcry about this dangerous situation, the NRC will continue to bend to the industry’s wishes,’ he concluded.
According to experts, a fire at one of the nuclear power plants is capable of releasing enough radioactive material to destroy a territory over twice the size of the state of New Jersey. In this case, more than eight million people would be evacuated, while the economic damage from the fire would each two trillion dollars