Scenarios of the release of radioactive ions if high precision missiles were to strike Middle East nuclear reactors.

Report: Missile strike risks to Middle East nuclear reactors,  A new study explores potential radiological fallout and evacuations from a missile strike on commercial nuclear power plants.  Aljazeera,   By Patricia Sabga, 8 Dec 21   ” ………………Scenarios and reactors

To illustrate the potential vulnerability of a nuclear power facility to a high precision missile strike, NPEC analysed four current and planned nuclear power plants in the region for three scenarios involving the radiological release of caesium-137 (Cs-137) into the atmosphere.

“Caesium-137 is one isotope that is particularly concerning for several reasons and it’s one of the most common isotopes looked at when evaluating the danger of a nuclear accident or some kind of radioactive release,” the report’s lead researcher Eva Lisowski told Al Jazeera. “It’s dangerous enough and lasts long enough that it can cause a significant increase in the chances of developing cancer.”

Significant contamination with Cs-137 can result in hundreds of thousands of people being evacuated from their homes, the report warns, and they may not be able to return for decades, given it has a 30-year half-life.

The first scenario Lisowski modelled examined what would happen if a nuclear reactor containment building is breached by an air strike, resulting in the core being released. The second scenario mapped what would happen if a spent fuel pond were hit and a fire broke out. The third scenario assessed what would happen if a spent fuel pond that is densely packed with radioactive rods were targeted and caught fire.

The four facilities chosen for the scenarios include the UAE’s Barakah power plant, Iran’s Bushehr, the plant under construction at Akkuyu in Turkey, and the site of Egypt’s planned commercial nuclear power station at El Dabaa.

The study focused only on select commercial nuclear power reactors. Research reactors, such as the one Israel maintains at the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center near the city of Dimona, Iran’s Tehran Research Reactor, Egypt’s research reactor at Inshas, or Algeria’s research reactor at Es-Salam were not included in the study.

Sokolski also notes that containment buildings and spent fuel ponds are not the only targets for potential sabotage.

“You can go after the electricity lines that go into the plant that are necessary to keep the cooling system operating. You can go after the emergency generators, you can calibrate any number of effects with precision against that kind of sympathetic target,” he said.

The findings

The amounts of Cs-137 released in each scenario, as well as the estimated number of evacuees in each contamination zone, were simulated for four different months of the year based on 2020 weather patterns: March, June, September and December.

The simulations all include neighbouring countries that could be affected by mandatory evacuations.

The report examined scenarios for both a large release of Cs-137 (75 percent) and a smaller release (10 percent or 5 percent) to illustrate the potential differences between a densely-packed spent fuel pool catching fire, versus one that is not full.

The three scenarios involving a missile or drone attack on the Barakah nuclear power plant predicted average population displacements ranging from 800 mandatory and 40,000 voluntary evacuations in a low-radiological release simulation involving a core breach, to 4 million mandatory and 8 million voluntary evacuations if a densely packed spent fuel pond is hit resulting in a high release of Cs-137.

The three scenarios involving a missile or drone attack on the Bushehr nuclear power plant predicted average population displacements ranging from 53,000 mandatory and 120,000 voluntary evacuations in low-radiological release simulation involving a core breach, to 6.7 million mandatory and 4.8 million voluntary evacuations if a densely packed spent fuel pond is hit resulting in a high release of Cs-137.

The three scenarios involving a missile or drone attack on the Akkuyu nuclear power plant predicted average population displacements ranging from 1,000 mandatory and 28,000 voluntary evacuations in low-radiological release simulation involving a reactor core breach, to 4.6 million mandatory and 10 million voluntary evacuations if a densely packed spent fuel pond is hit resulting in a high release of Cs-137. https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/12/8/report-missile-strike-risks-to-middle-east-nuclear-reactors

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