Wheatley Sovacool & Sornette: We summarize the results of a recent statistical analysis of 216 nuclear energy accidents and incidents (events). The dataset is twice as large as the previous best available. We employ cost in US dollars as a severity measure to facilitate the comparison of different types and sizes of events, a method more complete and consistent that the industry-standard approach. Despite significant reforms following past disasters, we estimate that, with 388 reactors in operation, there is a 50% chance that a Fukushima event (or more costly) occurs every 60–150 years. We also find that the average cost of events per year is around the cost of the construction of a new plant. This dire outlook necessitates post-Fukushima reforms that will truly minimize extreme nuclear power risks. Nuclear power accidents are decreasing in frequency, but increasing in severity.
Energy Research & Social Science May 2016 read more »