The recent Fukushima Daiichi crisis has reopened the nuclear debate. Risk analysis and mapping firm Maplecroft has produced a global map of nuclear power stations, revealing the vulnerability to seismic, tsunami and storm surge risk of these facilities and the levels of energy security risks that countries face in the long-term.
The highest concentrations of seismic risk are concentrated around the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’. Japan clearly stands out as having the highest concentration of nuclear facilities in an active seismic area, however Taiwan, South Korea and mainland China also have nuclear plants in areas exposed to either seismic or tsunami and storm surge hazards.
Further risks exist in the potential destructive power of storm surges. The eastern seaboard of the United States and northern coastal Europe are exposed to storm surges from intense low pressure weather systems (either tropical cyclones or severe extra-tropical cyclones). There are nuclear power facilities located in each of these regions and construction of these facilities will need to account for the storm surge potential.