Lifetime extension of ageing nuclear power plants:
Entering a new era of risk
|Classification||6.01.3.10/87 (NUCLEAR SAFETY - REACTORS - GENERAL)|
From the publication:
Lifetime extension of ageing nuclear power plants: Entering a new era of risk Report comissionned by Greenpeace Edited by Jan Haverkamp March 2014 Contents Introduction 1 Executive Summary 9 Chapter 1: Risks of Nuclear Ageing 15 Chapter 2: The economics of nuclear power plant lifetime extension 69 Chapter 3: Nuclear Liability Of Ageing Nuclear Reactors 99 Chapter 4: Politics, public participation and nuclear ageing 121 Ackowledgments 140 Introduction The heyday of nuclear power plant construction was the 1970s and 1980s. While most of the first generation of reactors have been closed down, the following second generation of reactors are largely still operational. By 11 March 2014, the third anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the 25 oldest reactors in Europe (excluding Russia) will be over 35 years old. Almost half of those are older than their original design lifetime. In Europe excluding Russia, 46 out of 151 operational reactors are older than their original design lifetimes or within three years of reaching that date. However, only a few of those reactors will be closed down in the near future – most have had, or are set to have, their lifetimes extended for a further 20 years or more. In the United States, meanwhile, more than two-thirds of the ageing reactor fleet have received extended licences to take them to 60 years of operation. As a result, we are entering a new era of nuclear risk. This study, commissioned by Greenpeace, consists of four chapters that address different aspects of Europe's ageing reactor fleet and issues relating to its lifetime extension. In Chapter 1, the German Öko-Institut investigates the technical aspects of nuclear ageing, building on earlier work commissioned by Greenpeace in 19861 and 2005.2 In Chapter 2, Prof. Stephen Thomas of the University of Greenwich assesses the role of economics in decisions on the lifetime extension of old nuclear reactors. In Chapter 3, Prof. Tom Vanden Borre of the University of Leuven in Belgium and Prof. Michael Faure from the University of Maastricht assess the implications of an ageing reactor fleet for nuclear liability – in particular the question of the extent to which, if an accident befalls one of these older reactors, victims can count on receiving adequate compensation. They have also produced a longer, more in-depth study that will be published on the internet together with this report.3 In Chapter 4, Ir. Jan Haverkamp assesses the public’s role in decisions to extend the lifetimes of old nuclear reactors, and considers whether there are adequate opportunities for it to influence the decision-making process. The opinions in the different chapters represent the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily coincide with those of Greenpeace.