Nuclear accidents - and how they're ranked
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ABCDEF
1
LevelDefinitionPeople and environmentRadiological barriers & controlDefence in depthExample
2
7Major accidentMajor release of radio active material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasuresChernobyl, Ukraine, 1986
3
6Serious accidentSignificant release of radioactive material likely to require implementation of planned countermeasures.Kyshtym, Russia, 1957
4
5Accident with wider consequencesLimited release of radioactive material likely to require implementation of
some planned countermeasures • Several deaths from radiation
• Severe damage to reactor core.
• Release of large quantities of radioactive material within an installation
with a high probability of
significant public exposure. This
could arise from a major criticality accident or fire
Windscale, UK, 1957; Three Mile Island, 1979
5
4Accident with local consequences• Minor release of radioactive material unlikely to result in implementation of planned countermeasures other than
local food controls.
• At least one death from radiation.
• Fuel melt or damage to fuel resulting in more than 0.1% release of core inventory.
• Release of significant quantities of radioactive
material within an installation with a high probability of significant
public exposure.
FUKUSHIMA 1, 2011
6
3Serious incident• Exposure in excess of ten times the statutory annual limit for workers.
• Non-lethal deterministic health effect (e.g., burns) from radiation.
• Exposure rates of more than 1 Sv/h in an operating area.
• Severe contamination in an area not expected by design, with a
low probability
of significant public exposure.
• Near accident at a nuclear power plant
with no safety provisions remaining.
• Lost or stolen highly radioactive sealed source.
• Misdelivered highly radioactive sealed source without adequate procedures in place to handle it.
Sellafield, UK, 2005
7
2Incident• Exposure of a member of the public
in excess of 10 mSv.
• Exposure of a worker in excess of the
statutory annual limits
• Radiation levels in an operating area
of more than 50 mSv/h.
• Significant contamination within the
facility into an area not expected by
design
• Significant failures in safety provisions
but with no actual consequences.
• Found highly radioactive sealed
orphan source, device or transport
package with safety provisions intact.
• Inadequate packaging of a highly
radioactive sealed source.
Atucha, Argentina, 2005
8
1Anomaly• Overexposure of a member of the
public in excess of statutory annual
limits.
• Minor problems with safety
components with significant
defence-in-depth remaining.
• Low activity lost or stolen radioactive
source, device or transport package
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RANKINGS
ACCIDENTS