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There is wide public acceptance that the risks associated with these industries are an acceptable trade-off for our dependence on their products and services.

With nuclear power, the high energy density makes the potential hazard obvious, and this has always been factored into the design of nuclear power plants.

Its role has been strengthened since 1996 (see later section).

Every country which operates nuclear power plants has a nuclear safety inspectorate and all of these work closely with the IAEA.

The lessons from nearly one hundred years’ experience mean that reputable airlines are extremely safe.

In the chemical industry and oil-gas industry, major accidents also lead to improved safety.

It should be emphasised that a commercial-type power reactor simply cannot under any circumstances explode like a nuclear bomb – the fuel is not enriched beyond about 5%, and much higher enrichment is needed for explosives.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was set up by the United Nations in 1957.

Every year several thousand people die in coal mines to provide this widely used fuel for electricity.

A particular nuclear scenario was loss of cooling which resulted in melting of the nuclear reactor core, and this motivated studies on both the physical and chemical possibilities as well as the biological effects of any dispersed radioactivity.

Those responsible for nuclear power technology in the West devoted extraordinary effort to ensuring that a meltdown of the reactor core would not take place, since it was assumed that a meltdown of the core would create a major public hazard, and if uncontained, a tragic accident with likely multiple fatalities.

Other incidents (and one 'accident') have been completely confined to the plant.

Apart from Chernobyl, no nuclear workers or members of the public have ever died as a result of exposure to radiation due to a commercial nuclear reactor incident.

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