Nuclear Energy and Security in the Former Soviet Union

Nuclear Energy and Security in the Former Soviet Union

Nuclear Energy and Security in the Former Soviet Union

Nuclear Energy and Security in the Former Soviet Union

Synopsis

Only several years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, nuclear security issues are again at the forefront of international concern. This timely collection addresses issues of cleanup at Chernobyl and other sites of nuclear disasters, nuclear smuggling, safety concerns in the Ukrainian and Russian nuclear industries, and Ukraine's negotiations with Russia and the West regarding the transference of its nuclear weapons to Russia. Preeminent scholars in their fields, the contributors provide up-to-the-minute information and fresh insights into questions critical to the future of the former Soviet Union and to Russian and Ukrainian relations with the West.

Excerpt

The purpose of this paper is to describe the general level of safety exhibited in the civilian nuclear power industry of Russia and Ukraine, to examine the various factors--both technological and institutional--that impinge upon safety improvements, and to provide an assessment of prospects for the future. In contradistinction to the off-expressed opinion that operational safety in the nuclear industry is primarily dependent upon technical excellence of the equipment itself, together with the level of training achieved by operations and maintenance personnel this paper shall argue that such factors are derivative. We believe, in fact, that public safety in any potentially dangerous technological industry derives from the organization of management and support services and, further, that the relative level of safety is societally determined: in other words, it is primarily dependent upon economic and political factors. Moreover, the linchpin that unites or impedes safety efforts at all levels-- operational, managerial, and governmental--is the presence or absence of a strong safety culture instilled from above. On the most abstract level indeed, the cardinal consideration may be the social contract existing between any government and the people it governs.

Many argue that nuclear power is inherently unsafe, hence that it cannot be made safe, so the technology should be abandoned and all existing facilities throughout the world dosed. Critics point to the accidents at the Three Mile Island nuclear station (near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in the U.S.) and at the Chornobyl nuclear station (located some 100 kilometers north of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine) as ample proof . . .

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