Abstract

Nuclear energy is one of the most efficient types of electricity production. However, it is one of the biggest fears of people due to the potential radiation effects on human health. Despite the major developments in the nuclear sector, some gaps need to be studied for the higher safety scrutiny of nuclear power plants (NPPs). Besides technical advances for the safer management of an NPP, another important part is having a well-constructed and planned probabilistic risk assessment and management. Realistic probabilistic risk assessment and management provide proper emergency response in case of an accident or hazardous situation to human health. On the other hand, aside from the radiation emitted directly from radioactive sources inside the NPP, there may be indirect radiation emission from dispersions outside the plant’s protected area. For example, we can look at forest fires occurring in radioactively contaminated areas surrounding NPPs that suffered accidents with releases, such as Chernobyl or Fukushima Daiichi. Radioactive particles produced by burning contaminated forests could spread in the air and threaten public health. It has already been observed that fires in forests around Chernobyl can increase the level of radiation in the air. Such events have the possibility to occur in all areas where nuclear facilities are located. The forests contaminated after the Fukushima Daiichi NPP accident, resemble the ones at Chernobyl. This study aims to develop the knowledge for an early sensing and emergency response by doing an atmospheric dispersion modeling and supporting a probabilistic risk assessment for a wildfire scenario in radioactively contaminated areas, such as Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi. Also, this study provides a pathway to assessing the risk of nuclear contamination caused by wildfires around nuclear facilities.

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