To what extent are nuclear facilities at risk in crisis areas? Which factors are of relevance in this context? Are policy-makers, the media and society around the world aware of the threat – and do they dismiss it too easily? These are just some of the questions explored by the Oeko-Institut in a study funded by the Legacy for the Future Foundation. It concludes that the safety of nuclear reactors in crisis areas may indeed be at considerable risk, not only from targeted attacks but also from political and economic instability and its impacts, combined with the weakening or even disintegration of state structures.
As well as being vulnerable to possible military attacks and deliberate acts of sabotage, nuclear facilities may be affected by conflicts, which can cause collateral damage to the industry’s extensive infrastructure and disrupt institutional control. An accident at a nuclear plant can unleash a chain reaction whose impacts are felt far beyond national borders. Mindful of this situation, the Oeko-Institut’s nuclear experts are keen to draw attention to this underrated but very real threat. Given the vulnerability of nuclear facilities and their dependence on a stable security infrastructure, a strategy which re-examines the concept of nuclear power generation in its entirety is required.