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Liangjian Wen | IHEP | China

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Nuclear Safety

Following former Quantum Diaries bloggers Zhizhong Xing and Jun Cao, I became the third person from IHEP (Institute of High Energy Physics, China) to blogging Quantum Diaries. I was quite happy, since it’s like a sign that I’m becoming a real physicist, ^_^. 

Last week we have our collaboration workshops at Daya Bay experimental site. The security check is more restrict than before due to the accident at Fukushima, where the world’s eyes are now focusing on. Right after the news about radioactive leakage, I received a few calls from friends, asking how serious it is and what is the influence. They thought I studies nuclear power related things, obviously they were cheated by my major’s name.

The accident causes international reactions. China has also suspended approval for new nuclear power stations following the accident at Fukushima Daiichi plant. It is not strange, because if there is an accident, it would be worse since many of the new proposed plants are near high-population areas. Our State Council states that the safety is our top priority in developing nuclear power plants. I’m happy with this.

Recently I get to know a concept, Safety Culture. Though in the Daya Bay experiment we follow a lot of safety requirements and procedures for onsite work, I never thought safety could be a culture. The concept originated after Chernobyl disaster. This concept was introduced to explain how the lack of knowledge and understanding of risk and safety by the employees and organization contribute to the outcome of the disaster. In near future, the nuclear power might be the most important power source since the coal will be exhausted soon. Nuclear safety indeed should be well known and be taken seriously by the whole society. There was a kind of joke. Last month,   shoppers have been buying up lots of salt in many parts of our country, partly believing that it could protect them against radiation, and partly thinking future salt could be contaminated by radiation leakage. It’s unbelievable some guy bought tons of salt.

Another issue is nuclear spent fuel. Currently deep burying is the only way to deal with it. This is risky. High precision reactor neutrino experiments like Daya Bay also don’t like it, and we need consider its contribution to the observed neutrino oscillation. ADS (Accelerator Driven Sub-critical System), is very promising to resolve the spent fuel issue. IHEP is starting the R&D of ADS project.

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