Environmental hazards of decommissioned nuclear power plants

Other Names:
Lack of practical experience on decommissioning nuclear power stations
Waste of resources in obsolete nuclear power plants
Excessive cost of decommissioning nuclear reactors

The ultimate waste from a nuclear power plant is the plant itself. A commercial reactor can only operate for thirty to forty years. When it stops operating, 15 to 20% of its contents remain radioactive. A closed-down reactor could be even more dangerous than one that is operating, because many of the security devices may have been removed. Dismantling a reactor is the only way to guarantee safety, but no one is certain if dismantling is feasible.


By the turn of the century, one hundred reactors around the world may have shut down, and by 2020 all 233 commercial reactors in operation in 1979 may be ready for the graveyard.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 15: Life on Land
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST