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Nuclear Waste Fuel can be Lethal within a Minute!



Allan Hedin
Spent nuclear fuel – how dangerous is it? A report from the project  “Description of risk’
SKB Report – Technical Report TR-97-13 (March 1997)

On page 21 of this report at para 3.5.2: the following two figures are provided:

1) the lethal dose is given as 5,000 ‘milli-Sieverts’ [1]

2) a dose rate of one million ‘milli-Sieverts’ per hour is quoted
(one year after one tonne of waste fuel has been taken out of a  reactor – when standing at one metre distance from the waste fuel rod)

From these two figures it is then calculated [2] that:

To stand one metre from:

  • one tonne of waste fuel,
  • one year after its removal from the reactor

– would kill you in twenty seconds.

On page 23 of the NDA ‘Disposability’ report for Westinghouse ‘AP1000’ [3] type fuel [4], a weight of approximately 600 kilograms per ‘AP1000’ fuel assembly is quoted. (see Table B4)

The figure quoted for the weight of an ‘EPR’ [5] fuel assembly is also roughly 600 kilograms. [6] ( See page 29 – Table B9)


  • One fuel assembly of either ‘AP1000’ or ‘EPR’ type fuel weighs roughly half a tonne.
  • This means that standing next to one of either of these fuel assemblies could kill you in about a minute.[7]


Dr Rachel E J Western BA(Oxon) PhD MRSC

16th March 2018

[1] milli = one thousandth – (for defintion of ‘Sievert’ see ‘Technical section at the start of this document )

[2] (by reference to Figures 3-8a and b  ( See pp 22- 23 )

[3] ‘AP’ – Advanced Passive

[4]Geological Disposal Generic Design Assessment: Summary of Disposability Assessment for Wastesand Spent Fuel arising from Operation of the Westinghouse AP1000

NDA ( Oct ’09 )

[5] ‘EPR’ – European Pressurised Reactor

[6] “Geological Disposal Generic Design Assessment: Summary of Disposability Assessment for Wastes and Spent Fuel arising from Operation of the UK EPR”

NDA Technical Note no. 11261814

NDA – October 2009

[7] assuming that the waste fuel had been removed from the reactor one year earlier and that you were standing one metre away.


July 6, 2018 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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