|Sep8-03, 09:58 AM||#1|
Nuclear Power Safety Problems
September 8, 2003
Safety Problem at Nuclear Plants Is Cited
By MATTHEW L. WALD
ASHINGTON, Sept. 7 — The emergency cooling systems that are meant to protect nuclear reactors from melting down in case of a ruptured water pipe could fail after a few minutes of use at most reactors, according to a nuclear watchdog group that is citing a government study to argue that the problem makes a catastrophe at one power plant in New York 100 times more likely.
The group, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and a New York environmental organization, Riverkeeper, plan to petition the Nuclear Regulatory Commission this week to ask that the two Indian Point reactors in Buchanan, N.Y., on the east bank of the Hudson River, should be shut until corrections are made. The problem, they argue, is that leaking water or steam would scour off pipe insulation, paint and other materials, forming debris that would clog the coolant pumps.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recognized the possibility years ago, and in September 1996 classified it as a serious problem, but does not anticipate that corrective action will be completed until early 2007. A commission official said, however, that the problem is complicated to solve and need not be fixed immediately because the accident that would require use of the safety system was unlikely in the first place.
David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer with the Union of Concerned Scientists, contended that the emergency core cooling system "is virtually certain to fail at some plants."
"Right now you're relying on a pipe not breaking," he said.
According to Mr. Lochbaum and to data from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the problem involves 69 plants of a design called pressurized water reactors, in which the water that is used to carry off the useful heat, and to keep the fuel from over-heating, is kept at a pressure of about 2,200 pounds per square inch. If a pipe breaks and the pressure is released, the water would boil into steam because it is heated to more than 500 degrees. The steam could not cool the fuel, and the fuel would melt.
So the plants are equipped with an automatic emergency core cooling system. Drawing water from a tank outside the reactor dome, the system can dump thousands of gallons a minute into the reactor, making up for even a large leak.
In this design, water from a broken pipe would flow into the reactor basement. The outdoor tank typically holds 125,000 to 300,000 gallons, and when it was nearly empty, the system would start drawing water from the basement instead. The problem is that if the water picks up debris along the way, that debris could clog the screens over the pipes that lead back to the emergency pumps.
At the request of the commission, the Los Alamos National Laboratory studied the 69 plants, and found that for some, the risk of core damage was multiplied 100 times because of the debris problem. It ranked the plants but did not name them; Mr. Lochbaum's group used various detailed characteristics included in the report to determine which plant was which, and discovered that the Indian Point reactors were both in the worst five.
Nuclear Safety Engineer
Union of Concerned Scientists
1707 H Street NW Suite 600
Washington, DC 20006-3962
(202) 223-6133 x113
(202) 223-6162 fax
From the UCS fact sheet:
Who is exposed to undue risk?
Anyone living near any one of the following PWRs is at unnecessarily
high risk as long as NRC allows the reactors to operate seriously
impaired by the containment sump problem:
PWR Name Location
Farley 1 Dothan, AL
Farley 2 Dothan, AL
Arkansas Nuclear One 1 Russellville, AR
Arkansas Nuclear One 2 Russellville, AR
Palo Verde 1 Wintersburg, AZ
Palo Verde 2 Wintersburg, AZ
Palo Verde 3 Wintersburg, AZ
Diablo Canyon 1 Avila Beach, CA
Diablo Canyon 2 Avila Beach, CA
San Onofre 2 San Clemente, CA
San Onofre 3 San Clemente, CA
Millstone 2 Waterford, CT
Millstone 3 Waterford, CT
Crystal River 3 Red Level, FL
St. Lucie 1 Hutchinson Island, FL
St. Lucie 2 Hutchinson Island, FL
Turkey Point 3 Florida City, FL
Turkey Point 4 Florida City, FL
Vogtle 1 Waynesboro, GA
Vogtle 2 Waynesboro, GA
Braidwood 1 Braidwood, IL
Braidwood 2 Braidwood, IL
Byron 1 Rockford, IL
Byron 2 Rockford, IL
Wolf Creek Burlington, KS
Waterford 3 Taft, LA
Calvert Cliffs 1 Lusby, MD
Calvert Cliffs 2 Lusby, MD
DC Cook 1 Bridgman, MI
DC Cook 2 Bridgman, MI
Palisades South Haven, MI
Prairie Island 1 Red Wing, MN
Prairie Island 2 Red Wing, MN
Callaway Fulton, MO
McGuire 1 Cornelius, NC
McGuire 2 Cornelius, NC
Shearon Harris New Hill, NC
Fort Calhoun Fort Calhoun, NE
Seabrook Seabrook, NH
Salem 1 Salem, NJ
Salem 2 Salem, NJ
Indian Point 2 Buchanan, NY
Indian Point 3 Buchanan, NY
R. E. Ginna Ontario, NY
Beaver Valley 1 Shippingport, PA
Beaver Valley 2 Shippingport, PA
Three Mile Island 1 Londonderry Township, PA
Catawba 1 Clover, SC
Catawba 2 Clover, SC
H. B. Robinson 2 Hartsville, SC
Oconee 1 Seneca, SC
Oconee 2 Seneca, SC
Oconee 3 Seneca, SC
Virgil C. Summer Parr, SC
Sequoyah 1 Soddy-Daisy, TN
Sequoyah 2 Soddy-Daisy, TN
Comanche Peak 1 Glen Rose, TX
Comanche Peak 2 Glen Rose, TX
South Texas Project 1 Palacios, TX
South Texas Project 2 Palacios, TX
North Anna 1 Mineral , VA
North Anna 2 Mineral, VA
Surry 1 Gravel Neck, VA
Surry 2 Gravel Neck, VA
Kewaunee Carlton, WI
Point Beach 1 Two Rivers, WI
Point Beach 2 Two Rivers, WI
What can you do?
If you work at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant, pat yourself on the back
for voluntarily fixing a serious
safety problem and being the first PWR in the United States to have done so.
If you work for the NRC, put aside the license renewal applications and
power uprate amendment
requests until this PWR containment sump problem is fixed.
If you are a member of the US Congress, ask the NRC why it is putting
the financial safety of the nuclear industry ahead of public safety.
If you live near one of the 68 PWRs, tell the NRC (email@example.com) or your
US Senators and/or
Representative that you want the NRC to fix the PWR containment sump
problem THIS year.
What will UCS do?
UCS will interface with the NRC trying to get the PWR containment sump
problem fixed sooner rather than later. And we will interface with the
US Congress, the media, and people living around the unnecessarily
dangerous reactors to try to pressure the NRC to fix this problem THIS year.
Prepared by: David Lochbaum
Nuclear Safety Engineer
Union of Concerned Scientists
|Sep8-03, 02:22 PM||#2|
As serious a problem as that is, much more serious ones exist which would not merely create a large mess effecting people in the immediate area, but could easily lead to another Chernoble. General Electric has been selling cheap nuclear reactors without even a containment dome in countries such as mexico. As occured with Chernoble, if one achieves meltdown the damage to the environment would be catastrophic and cross international boarders.
This is similar to most of the really serious problems threatening people worldwide today. Countries like the US ban the use of such technology within their own boarders, but become the major exporters of the technology. They ban certain unsafe working conditions and environmental practices, then promptly export those jobs to third world countries. Americans may feel safe or that they can only take of their own back yard, but this is an illusion. A huge percentage of the air pollution on the west coast, for example, comes from asia. Likewise, a huge percentage of the air pollution in europe comes from the east coast of the US, and the US receives a significant amount from Canada as well.
Bottom line, the world is getting smaller by the minute and the biggest threat to US citizens and nuclear power industry today is the nearsightedness of the american public and the greed of multi-national corporations.
|Sep8-03, 05:53 PM||#3|
- - - A D V I S O R Y - - -
For Immediate Release: Contact: Brendan Hoffman (202) 454-5130
Sept. 8, 2003 Erica Hartman (202) 454-5174
Blackout Demonstrates Vulnerability of Nuclear Plants and Failure
of Electricity Deregulation
Public Citizen Urges Congress to Make Amends in Energy Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The August electricity blackout, which shut down 21
nuclear reactors in the United States and Canada, was a spectacular
demonstration of the heightened vulnerability of nuclear power plants in
a deregulated electricity market, according to a report released by
Public Citizen today.
Nonetheless, powerful members of Congress are disingenuously exploiting
the blackout to promote more reliance on nuclear power and further
electricity deregulation, says the report, The Big Blackout and Amnesia
in Congress: Lawmakers Turn a Blind Eye to the Danger of Nuclear Power
and the Failure of Deregulation.
"The intrinsic dangers and vulnerabilities of nuclear power are only
exacerbated by power outages caused by the chaos of deregulated
electricity markets," said Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen's
Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program. "Meanwhile, Congress is
shamefully considering legislation that would actually promote nuclear
power and further deregulation, making nuclear power even more dangerous
to the public."
The report details the dilapidated state of the country's 103 nuclear
reactors and their heightened vulnerability during power outages,
debunking nuclear proponents' claims of reliability. Despite a detailed
history of leaks, maintenance problems, weak security and overall
deteriorating conditions of U.S. nuclear plants, the U.S. Nuclear
Regulatory Commission (NRC) has granted operating license renewals to
all 16 reactors that have submitted applications.
§ When a plant loses offsite electrical supply, it automatically shuts
down. It must then connect to a generator to keep coolant circulating
and prevent the reactor core from overheating and causing a meltdown.
All nuclear power plants maintain several diesel-powered backup
generators on-site to be used in the event of power loss, but they don't
always automatically start when needed. In the past 12 months, there
were 15 reported cases in which emergency diesel generators were
§ In case of an emergency, many sirens in place to alert officials and
the public may not operate because of a lack of power. In reports
submitted to the NRC after the blackout, both the Indian Point and Ginna
nuclear stations (both in New York) noted that many of their emergency
sirens malfunctioned. In the case of Indian Point, if the sirens in
four surrounding counties - including the densely populated Westchester
County, with nearly 1 million people - were to fail in the event of a
meltdown, the region would be left in a tragic state of ignorance.
§ Local emergency personnel, who would be risking their lives in the
event of an accident or attack, are not confident that they would be
able to handle the overwhelming problems that would come with a
disaster. In May, 175 Indian Point-area first responders signed a
petition to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the NRC
expressing their concerns that "even [their] best efforts may not be
enough to adequately protect the public health and safety of the
citizens of this region."
By next summer, the United States will have a 34 percent reserve margin
for electricity generation capacity, according to Goldman Sachs & Co.'s
managing director, Larry Kellerman.
"This glut of power plants weakens the Bush administration's claims
that the recent electricity blackouts give us a reason to build more
nuclear power plants or at least keep the current, dilapidated nuclear
fleet running," said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook. "The same
is true for transmission capacity; at the time of the blackout, the grid
was only at 75 percent capacity. We don't need to relicense or build
more nuclear plants."
The blackout demonstrated the current bottlenecks and strains on the
nation's electric grid. The transmission system was designed to
accommodate local electricity markets, not the large, free-wheeling
trading of electricity and movement of power over long distances under
deregulation, in which energy companies seek to supply power to the
highest bidder. Sending power over a much wider area decreases
efficiency and burdens a transmission system designed to serve local
The House-Senate energy conference committee will meet shortly to
consider energy legislation that piles on subsidies for nuclear power,
including incentives for research and development and tax breaks for
nuclear operators. Both bills authorize the U.S. Department of Energy's
Nuclear Power 2010 program to promote the construction of new nuclear
reactors and the Generation IV program to develop new reactor designs.
Further, both bills reauthorize the Price-Anderson Act to extend federal
insurance protection to potential new reactors.
To read the report, please go to
|Sep14-03, 11:34 AM||#4|
Nuclear Power Safety Problems
Two Bullet Roulette: THE NATION
1 in 3 chance of a nuclear plant accident by 2007.
|Sep17-03, 05:02 AM||#5|
What do you guys think of the Gen-IV designs the DOE has called for? These would encase the materials in graphite rather than zerconium, making Threemile Island-type events impossible.
Unfortunately, none of these designs addresses the problem of the disposal of waste. That seems to me to be a major concern.
|Oct26-03, 06:01 PM||#6|
Is nuclear powere safe.
DUh, this is a no brainer for anyone with any educational background on the subject.
Humanity can probably survive --no gurrantees-- global warming green house effects, genetic engering, lessoning fresh water supplys etc, but, we cannot survive effects ionizing radiation beyond the natural and accepted lower background levels unless it is de-activated or returned to the sun.
|Oct29-03, 04:12 PM||#7|
So why do you personally support the Linear-No Threshold Hypothesis for radiation exposure?
The answer to this question is the crux of your argument. If you have the educational backgroud that you claim, you should have no trouble pointing out the reasons for using this method.
|Nov3-03, 08:20 AM||#8|
Nuclear watchdog raises safety questions over French reactor design
PARIS (AFP) Oct 30, 2003
France's nuclear watchdog said Thursday it had questioned the safety
standards of a cooling system used across the country's nuclear power
industry, saying that a design flaw could theoretically unleash a major
The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), a state agency that vets safety
standards in France's nuclear energy sector, said it had told operator
Electricite de France (EDF) to give "priority to examining this
question" and wanted a reply by the end of the year.
"It is a potential anomaly. It has not been confirmed 100 percent, but
we have doubts in the present circumstances," ASN's deputy
director-general, Alain Schmitt, told AFP.
The suspected problem lies in part of the cooling system. The system,
which draws heat away from the reactor vessel by bathing it in cold
water, is vital for controlling the nuclear process.
The water has to circulate all the time; if it stops, an operational
reactor can explode or melt down.
Under the French system, there is a primary and backup coolant system,
both of which are supplied by tanks that, in turn, are fed from a
central reservoir of water drawn from the sea or a nearby river.
If the primary coolant system ruptures, the backup is automatically
The potential problem, said ASN, is in the filters in the tanks.
If these filters are blocked by debris, that could cripple the backup
system, it said.
"If the points we raise turn out to be true, safety standards would be
affected, because there would not be a reliable long-term cooling of the
reactor if the primary coolant system breaks down," it said.
A spokesman for EDF confirmed that "questions had been raised" about the
"We attach importance to this problem, which does not mean however that
there is any risk to reactor operations," it said.
French nuclear experts said the filter issue was common to the design of
pressurised water reactors around the world.
France derives nearly three-quarters of its electricity needs from the atom.
EDF, a state-owned giant that is the de-facto monopoly supplier of
electricity in France, has 19 power stations, with 58 reactors.
Posted for educational and research purposes only,
~ in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 ~
See also http://nucnews.net - NucNews Links and Archives
|Nov21-03, 07:28 AM||#9|
So a blackout that was caused (in part) by lack of generation capacity is evidence that we should reduce generation capacity even further? Frankly, theroyprocess, thats idiotic.
Also, 4 posts and you didn't write a single word of it - do you think for yourself or not?
|Nov21-03, 12:20 PM||#10|
New York Times article on the origins of the recent blackout:
|Nov21-03, 02:44 PM||#11|
So that would be a "no, russ, I do not think for myself"?
edit: to be fair, since virtually everything you post is flawed, it is understandable that you do not wish to discuss/defend your posts.
|Dec2-03, 10:57 AM||#12|
Atomic age legacy:
It is not surprising that pro-nuke industry spin
doctors and apologists are claiming the plutonium
and other isotopes found in baby teeth from the
Sellafield contamination cited in the news stories
allegedly pose little threat to health. Cancer rates
are nearly 1 in 2 today from the chemical and
radioactive cess pool we live in.
On other web sites, it has been argued that there
is no difference between death from man made
radioactive environmental contamination...and
being killed in a car crash or any other lethality.
This is a confabulated argument used to distract
and confuse the very real health threat from
radiation. It is an ancient psy-ops technique to cause
doubt and befuddle the publics mind, also known
as 'divide and conquer'.....by creating doubt.
If the nuclear juggernaut is allowed to carry on
as they have, the future is bleak indeed. Gort...
klaatu, barada, nickto.....kapish!
Eminent nuclear chemist and cardiologist Dr. John Gofman
wrote the following letter, May 11, 1999:
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY
BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA 94720
LETTER OF CONCERN
To Whom It May Concern,
During 1942, I led "The Plutonium Group" at the University of California, Berkeley, which managed to isolate the first milligram of plutonium from irradiated uranium. [Plutonium-239 had previously been discovered by Glenn Seaborg and Edwin McMillan]. During subsequent decades, I have studied the biological effects of ionizing radiation---- including the alpha particles emitted by the decay of plutonium.
By any reasonable standard of biomedical proof, there is no safe dose, which means that just one decaying radioactive atom can produce permanent mutation in a cell's genetic molecules [Gofman 1990: "Radiation Induced Cancer from Low-Dose Exposure"]. For alpha particles, the logic of no safe dose was confirmed experimentally in 1997 by Tom K. Hei and co-workers at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York [Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [USA] Vol. 94, pp. 3765-3770, April 1997, "Mutagenic Effects of A Single and an Exact Number of Alpha Particles in Mammilian Cells."]
It follows from such evidence that citizens worldwide have a strong biological basis for opposing activities which produce an appreciable risk of exposing humans and others to plutonium and other radioactive pollution at any level. The fact that humans cannot escape exposure to ionizing radiation from various natural sources ---which may well account for a large share of humanity's inherited afflictions- is no reason to let human activities INCREASE exposure to ionizing radiation. The fact that ionizing radiation is a mutagen was first demonstrated in 1927 by Herman Joseph Muller, and subsequent evidence has shown it to be a mutagen of unique potency. Mutation is the basis not only for inherited afflictions, but also for cancer.
Very truly yours,
John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph D
Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology
|Dec4-03, 03:22 PM||#13|
I'm sorry, theroyprocess, but there isn't anything more I can do to help you. You simply don't understand what you are reading and saying and refuse to listen to people who try to explain it to you. So I'll just post my usual question:
Are you terrified of the SUN?
|Dec18-03, 03:44 PM||#14|
I am terrified that the public remains unaware of the
true realites of the nuclear industry:
Nuclear whistleblowers still retaliated against which
was dramatized in the Silkwood movie.
|Dec28-03, 10:50 AM||#15|
Plutonium can be neutralized and totally
eliminated forever via the Roy Process.
Sunday Herald - 28 December 2003
Enough plutonium for five bombs ‘missing’ at Sellafield
By Liam McDougall
ENOUGH plutonium to make five nuclear bombs has gone missing from Sellafield in Cumbria in the past 12 months, it has been revealed. The official report which lists “materials unaccounted for” at the UK’s nuclear sites found that 19.1kg of the highly toxic substance was apparently missing from the reprocessing plant.
At the Dounreay plant in Caithness, meanwhile, the annual audit recorded a surplus 1.16kg of highly enriched uranium, which can also be used to make nuclear weapons.
Spokesmen for each plant were quick to play down the figures, saying they were estimates and “gave rise to no concern over either the safety or security” of the sites. But independent nuclear experts have expressed concern.
A look back at Sellafield’s records reveals that auditors have found large quantities of plutonium regularly unaccounted for. Although the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority does not have a complete record of its annual nuclear materials balance on its website, Sellafield was found to have 5.6kg of plutonium unaccounted for in 2001 and as much as 24.9kg in 1999.
After the latest figures were revealed, Dr Frank Barnaby, a nuclear consultant who used to work at the Aldermaston atomic weapons factory in Berkshire, said: “In reprocessing, a small amount of material is bound to be lost in the process, but 19kg is a very sig nificant amount of plutonium. The company might say this is not a cause for concern, but if they cannot be sure where the plutonium is, how can they say it has not been stolen?
“If a terrorist group were to claim it had stolen 5kg of plutonium from Sellafield, the authorities could not say with any certainty that they had not taken it. It’s a very unsatisfactory situation indeed. This amount of material could be made into five or six nuclear weapons.”
John Large, a nuclear engineer who advised the Soviet Union following the Kursk submarine disaster, described Sellafield’s figure as “a very serious shortfall”.
“ If it’s an accounting lapse, then maybe it never existed in the first place, but it’s worrying. The inventory controls for plutonium are extremely tight.
“British Nuclear Fuels [the company that runs Sellafield] needs to be more accountable. It cannot simply record that it has a 19kg deficit and simply say there is no cause for concern. ”
Dr Dan Barlow, head of research at Friends of the Earth Scotland, also said he believed the situation was unsatisfactory.
“The fact that material such as this is unaccounted for, whether lost or in surplus, is of deep concern. No other industry would be allowed to get away with such poor industrial practices. For bomb-grade material to go missing in such large quantities has to be a cause for concern. The question of where this material has gone is one that demands an answer.”
The latest criticisms of the nuclear industry come after scientists found the teeth of children in Northern Ireland were con taminated with plutonium from the Sellafield nuclear plant. The research, published earlier this month, found traces of the radio active material in every single milk tooth of 3000 children studied.
Scientists believe leaks and discharges into the sea have put the material into the food chain over recent decades. The day after the research was published, British Nuclear Fuels admitted that “lightly radioactively contaminated” pipes from Sellafield had been washing up on beaches in Northern Ireland.
Spokesman Alan Hughes said the figures for “unaccounted for” plutonium were normal.
“It is impossible to measure absolutely exactly that amount of material going into the plant and the amount coming out because of the changes material undergoes in the process.
“There is also a degree of uncertainty in the measuring process and some material may remain in the internal pipe system. We would expect to see a slightly larger figure at Sellafield than for other reprocessing plants because of the huge amount of material that is put through it each year.”
When asked how he could be sure no substances had been taken away from the plant, Hughes said the strict security measures employed at Sellafield would make it “virtually impossible” for radioactive material to be stolen.
|Dec28-03, 10:57 AM||#16|
|Dec28-03, 10:04 PM||#17|
Russ....are you afraid of water? The earth is something like 4/5ths
oceans. Better warn the Navy...they could drown!
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