Report to the American Physical Society by the study group on light-water reactor safety

Rev. Mod. Phys. 47, S1 – Published 1 January 1975
H. W. Lewis, R. J. Budnitz, A. W. Castleman, D. E. Dorfan, F. C. Finlayson, R. L. Garwin, L. C. Hebel, S. M. Keeny, Jr., R. A. Muller, T. B. Taylor, G. F. Smoot, F. von Hippel, Hans Bethe, W. K. H. Panofsky, and V. F. Weisskopf (APS Study Group Participants, APS Council Review Committee)


The issue of light-water reactor (LWR) safety has been the subject of a part-time, year-long study sponsored by the American Physical Society. The goal of the study was the assessment of some of the technical aspects of the safety of large light-water nuclear power reactors typical of present commercial practice in the Unted States. The report examines issues related to safe operation of LWRs; the research and development program responsible for establishing and enhancing safety; and the consequences of accidents for public health and welfare. The report in no way deals with the need for nuclear power or its benefits, and should not be considered as a net assessment of the risks versus the benefits of nuclear reactors. Since the risks of ecological impacts of other energy technologies are not addressed, no recommendations are made concerning the specific reactor program which should be followed in the immediate future. Among the areas covered in the report are primary pressure-vessel integrity; quality assurance; accident initiation from operator error, transients, and sabotage; the adequacy of present emergency core-cooling system designs; the calculation of long-term consequences to health of one particular low-probability accidental release of radioactivity; and the experimental and calculational (computer-code-development) aspects of the present reactor safety research program. A number of recommendations are contained with the report, mainly addressed to ways in which the safety of the present LWRs can be improved or better understood.


  • Published in the issue dated January - March 1975
  • Received 28 April 1975

© 1975 American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

(APS Study Group Participants)

H. W. Lewis

  • University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106

R. J. Budnitz

  • Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720

A. W. Castleman

  • Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, Long Island 11973

D. E. Dorfan

  • University of California, Santa Cruz, California 95064

F. C. Finlayson

  • Aerospace Corporation, Los Angeles, California 90009

R. L. Garwin

  • IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York 10598

L. C. Hebel

  • Xerox Corporation, Rochester, New York 14644

S. M. Keeny, Jr.

  • The Mitre Corporation, McLean, Virginia 22101

R. A. Muller

  • University of California, Berkeley, California 94720

T. B. Taylor

  • International Research and Technology Corporation, Arlington, Virginia 22209

G. F. Smoot

  • University of California, Berkeley, California 94720

F. von Hippel

  • Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08540

(APS Council Review Committee)

Hans Bethe

  • Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14850

W. K. H. Panofsky

  • Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305

V. F. Weisskopf

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139

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