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Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant: The WikiBook/Glossary

< Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant: The WikiBook

The debate over DCPP has spawned subsidiary debates about crucial terminology. Several areas of contention exist with regard to terminology.

Choosing nomenclature to characterize the incidentEdit

Incident is a technical term for classifying nuclear events which contradict plans. There is a graded system of levels of nuclear incident. Accident implies a failure of human or machine. Disaster suggests a natural catastrophic event. Yet an accident can be a disaster, in terms of its consequences. Thus, accident refers more to a specific malfunction or series of malfunctions, whereas disaster incorporates the consequences as well as the underlying incident or accident which caused it. But in effect, disaster tends to focus attention on the consequent, and it has an implication of massive scale.

One writer managed to incorporate both terms in one headline. [1]. In the move The China Syndrome, two characters argue over use of the term "accident".


  1. Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer