Human error could cause another Chernobyl: Dutch professor
Another nuclear disaster like Chernobyl is definitely possible, especially when you take human error into account, according to nuclear expert and professor Wim Turkenburg. "There are 500 nuclear reactors around the wolrd and the chance that another nuclear disaster will happen is certain", he said to broadcaster NOS.
According to Turkenburg, nuclear reactors are very safe on paper. "The risk of a nuclear disaster is enhanced by human error. A nuclear disaster is primarily the result of interction between reactor and humans. It is not purely technical", he said to the broadcaster. He names Chernobyl and Fukushima as examples. "At Chernobyl they were performing an experiment and were not prepared well enough. At Fukushima they knew for years that the reactor was not prepared for a tsunami, but concealed it in order to avoid panic and did nothing."
Turkenburg added that this can be changed, as nuclear reactors can be built to be "fully inherently safe", but that costs money that many are not willing to spend. "There is not enough interest. It is very expensive and people here think, the reactors are safe enough, we will not spend so much money on it."
On a brighter side, the world does have a lot more knowledge about nuclear energy and reactors than they had in 1986, when the Chernobyl disaster happened. "In the Netherlands we have a contingency plan in place if a nuclear disaster happens. If you look at Chernobyl you see that many mistakes were made in handling the disaster because people were not prepared for something like that. In the Netherlands we are prepared."