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Preventing Nuclear Accidents

The probability of a serious nuclear accident is low—but the consequences can be catastrophic, so the risk is significant for the millions of Americans who live within 50 to 100 miles of a U.S. nuclear reactor. UCS has identified many safety and security shortcomings, of varying degrees of severity, at the nation’s nuclear power plants, and provided recommendations on how to address those shortcomings and reduce the risks.  Over the years, UCS has effectively persuaded or pressured  the NRC to rectify problems we have identified, affecting individual reactors or the entire nuclear fleet. 

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What Can Go Wrong? Nuclear Power Safety Issues

Nuclear power plants are complex systems operated by human beings who can and do make mistakes. As such, they are vulnerable to accidents and failures because of natural disasters such as flooding, earthquakes and extreme weather, fires, equipment failures, improper maintenance, and human errors. UCS experts provide analysis of some of the more serious threats—and what the NRC should be doing about them.

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What Has Gone Wrong? Nuclear Accidents and Avoidable Incidents

The disaster at Fukushima in 2011 was just the most recent of several serious accidents at nuclear power plants. And every year, multiple nuclear plants in the United States experience incidents serious enough to trigger a special inspection by the NRC; many of these incidents should have been avoided, and they expose the public to heightened and unnecessary risk.

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The Nuclear Power Information Tracker

Are you curious about what's going on at your local nuclear power plant? We are too—so we've created this interactive web tool that lets you sift through a variety of nuclear safety data. Read each plant's safety history in detail, with links to blog posts detailing some of the stories behind the incidents. Or find out which plants have elevated spent fuel pools, fire protection problems, or other safety issues.

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