A new study carried out by German scientists warn that nuclear accidents similar to Chernobyl and Fukushima are likely to occur at least once in every two decades and pose the risk of radioactive contamination in Europe.
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry at Mainz in Germany have made the calculation based on the operating hours of all civil nuclear reactors and the number of nuclear meltdowns that have occurred.
Fukushima has fuelled discussion about nuclear energy and triggered Germany's exit from its nuclear power programme.
It appears that the global risk of such a catastrophe is more than previously thought.
Jos lelieveld of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry who led the study said: "After Fukushima, the prospect of such an incident occurring again came into question."
The researchers also determined that in the event of such a major accident, half of the radioactive caesium-137 would be spread over an area of more than 1,000 km away from the nuclear reactor.
Their results show that Western Europe is likely to be contaminated about once in 50 years.
Currently, there are 440 nuclear reactors in operation, and 60 more are planned worldwide.