Environment Systems and Decisions

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 249–258 | Cite as

Calculating nuclear accident probabilities from empirical frequencies



Since there is no authoritative, comprehensive and public historical record of nuclear power plant accidents, we reconstructed a nuclear accident data set from peer-reviewed and other literature. We found that, in a sample of five random years, the worldwide historical frequency of a nuclear major accident, defined as an INES level 7 event, is 14 %. The probability of at least one nuclear accident rated at level ≥4 on the INES scale is 67 %. These numbers are subject to uncertainties because of the fuzziness of the definition of a nuclear accident.


Nuclear accidents Frequencies Nuclear power Industrial history Bootstrap INES scale 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CIRED, Campus du Jardin tropicalCNRSNogent sur MarneFrance

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