top of page

Wars are dangerous, reactors much less so

Nuclear Newswire

March 30, 2022

By Jacopo Buongiorno, Steven Nesbit, Malcolm Grimston, Lake Barrett, Matthew L. Wald, and Andrew Whittaker

The authors of this article, experts in nuclear engineering, set the record straight and explain the risks of nuclear power plants in war zones, which is surprisingly small. "Nuclear reactors cannot 'explode' like a nuclear weapon, because of their fundamental differences in materials and designs."

Furthermore, "nuclear power plants must, by law, be able to withstand a broad range of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, and floods, as well as terrorist attacks. Ukraine’s nuclear power plants have multiple layers of protection."

It is important to note that while "Civilian infrastructure isn’t built to withstand military assault. Nuclear power plants, however, are exceptionally hardened facilities, as we have seen. By comparison, other power plants, dams, ports, chemical plants, the food supply chain, long-span bridges, the electric grid, oil and gas pipelines, and the internet, just to mention a few, are much softer targets. An attack on these targets could inflict considerably greater suffering and disruption to the civilian population and the environment."

Note that two of this article's authors are advisors to LucidCatalyst: Jacopo Buongiorno (Director of Nuclear Engineering at MIT) and Andrew Whittaker (U Buffalo-expert in nuclear seismic isolation).

About the authors

Jacopo Buongiorno, Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Steven Nesbit, President, American Nuclear Society

Malcolm Grimston, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Imperial College Centre for Environmental Policy and Technology, London

Lake Barrett, Nuclear Engineer and Independent Energy Consultant

Matthew L. Wald, Energy Analyst and Consultant

Andrew Whittaker, Professor of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo


bottom of page