Virginia US Earthquake - Nuclear Plant

mheslep

Gold Member
255
727
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

And your point is?

Has this sort of expenditure been applied to other industries? Has parking been moved back from sports stadii by 100 yards? Are bridges and tunnels being fortifird? Does the security force at chemical plants outnumber their operating staff?

The point is that nuclear plants are frequently subjected to costly modifications and that is what you asked for examples. ...
No, I made my point clear above in 44; cost imposed on NPs and not other industries was not it; small costs were not it.
https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=3493268&postcount=44
 

QuantumPion

Science Advisor
Gold Member
901
41
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

The case I'm looking for is one where the NRC has mandated that all US reactors make an in place plant change costing on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars or more, which a seismic withstand upgrade, or a fuel storage upgrade is likely to require.
Look up GSI-191. NRC study claimed that insulation in the containment would clog sump strainers in event of a LBLOCA. Subsequently most plants had to redesign their containment and construct new sump strainers. It was a multi-year project costing tens of millions per reactor.
 

NUCENG

Science Advisor
914
0
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

No, I made my point clear above in 44; cost imposed on NPs and not other industries was not it; small costs were not it.
https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=3493268&postcount=44
No, you established a threshold value of "hundreds of millions" I have given you several examples of large expenditures mandated by NRC, some justified, others overblown, and at least one totally unjustified. Every one who has worked in the nuclear industry can probably add to tahat list. If you add these post-construction and post licensing up your threshold has probably been exceeded for individual plants.

So what was your point? You claim that "hundreds of millions" iwill be needed to comply with seismic upgrades. That is probably about 10% or more of the value of an operating nuclear plant. I agree if that is what it takes some plants nearing end of life which haven't received lcense renewals would probably end up being shutdown. There just would be no way to amortize that cost over the remaining life withould pricing themselves out of business.

My take is that if any plant requires that level of expense to comply with justifiable seismic standards, then they already should be shutdown under existing standards. North Anna proved that the existing standards actually may need to be clarified, but actually were still less than the design margins of the plant.

NRC was already working through a Generic Issue (199) process for seismic qualification upgrades prior to the Mineral Virginia earthquake. The result will be new standards for evaluating earthquake risk and ground motion spectra for design analysis. The safety/risk assessment is here:

http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1002/ML100270582.html

The conclusion was that existing plants are have no significant risk but some minor increases in risk goals. I interpret that to mean that most plants will be able to demonstrate adequate margin in existing structures systems and components. This leads me to conclude that your threshold of "hundreds of millions of dollars" is unfounded. North Anna does not bring that conclusion into doubt.

Does this help your concern. Would you like to reconsider the threshold you have set?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

mheslep

Gold Member
255
727
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

No, you established a threshold value of "hundreds of millions"
Per plant, as in what North Anna may face for seismic hardening.
 

NUCENG

Science Advisor
914
0
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

Per plant, as in what North Anna may face for seismic hardening.
And based on the fact that North Anna did not experience significant damage in the earthquake, what is the basis for your WAG that even they will have to expend "hundreds of millions?" Your threshold is so far beyond reality that it is difficult to believe you are trying to discuss realistic consequences from the earthquake.
 

mheslep

Gold Member
255
727
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

And based on the fact that North Anna did not experience significant damage in the earthquake, what is the basis for your WAG that even they will have to expend "hundreds of millions?" Your threshold is so far beyond reality that it is difficult to believe you are trying to discuss realistic consequences from the earthquake.
??? I agree, from reports so far, that N. Anna had no significant damage. I'm reacting to your earlier post that none the less the NRC is holding N. Anna for "ransom" to "resolve" the seismic issue.
 

NUCENG

Science Advisor
914
0
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

??? I agree, from reports so far, that N. Anna had no significant damage. I'm reacting to your earlier post that none the less the NRC is holding N. Anna for "ransom" to "resolve" the seismic issue.
Maybe I misunderstood your point then. I said there was a potential for NRC to hold North Anna hostage based on previous experience. I have no idea how that morphed into "hundreds of millions."

I was explaining that in the past NRC has held a licensee hostage to apply leverage to the industry. That may be a useful tactic, but it can be pretty expensive for the hostage and can rise to regulatory abuse. (Cost of replacement power can be much greater than the cost of resolving the issue depending on how long the issue is unresolved. NRC has not issued their final regulatory analysis on GI-199 so if the hold North Anna's two units in shutdown until the issue is resolved it becomes completely unfair to North Anna, and potentially, any other plant that needs a license amendment or restart permission in the meantime. I say unfair, because first. the NRC is already on record saying that GI-199 does not rise to the level where they could order plants to shutdown to resolve the issue, and second, North Anna design worked during the earthquake.

The politics of restarting North Anna may become more deterministic that the engineering and safety issue. What I heard in the public meeting sounded like a bunch of staffers setting up to do exactly that. North Anna needs to complete their inspections and surveillances and issue the root cause report. NRC needs to issue guidance on what documentation from North Anna for restart. Then NRC needs to prevent piling on issues not related to the earthquake, including final resolution of GI-199 and the Fukushima Task Force recommendations. Those side issues should not be used to delay restart.

Unfortunately, "should" and "shall" are not the same. NRC management at the public meeting weakly agreed that revision of design basis seismic design spectra for North Anna was not a prerequisite for restart. We'll see.

Again, if I misunderstood your point, hopefully we are closer to mutual understanding each other now, even if not in agreement
 
103
0
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

The industry still produces competitive power.
Not in the UK it doesn't. 2010 taxpayers subsidy amounted to £3 billion for the nuclear power providers ,and that's without any provision for waste management/storage.
How does this compare with other states?
 
D

DoggerDan

Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

Not in the UK it doesn't. 2010 taxpayers subsidy amounted to £3 billion for the nuclear power providers ,and that's without any provision for waste management/storage.
How does this compare with other states?
So that's £48 per capita?
 

NUCENG

Science Advisor
914
0
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

Hah that's awesome.
zz and QP

Before the onslaught of inane one-liner comments gets too obnoxious, isn't it reassuring that in spite of the state of the art THIRTY SIX YEARS AGO being a little weak on forecasting the earthquake, they still managed to build a plant that produced power without undo risk to the public? Perhaps we should take an unintended lesson from Arnie Gundersen and go back to using slide rules, because what they designed, seems to have worked rather well.

Thank you zz, for finding this evidence of successful design, construction, operation, and maintenance of a nuclear power plant.
 
1,045
2
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

zz and QP

Before the onslaught of inane one-liner comments gets too obnoxious, isn't it reassuring that in spite of the state of the art THIRTY SIX YEARS AGO being a little weak on forecasting the earthquake, they still managed to build a plant that produced power without undo risk to the public? Perhaps we should take an unintended lesson from Arnie Gundersen and go back to using slide rules, because what they designed, seems to have worked rather well.

Thank you zz, for finding this evidence of successful design, construction, operation, and maintenance of a nuclear power plant.
Hey. Sorry for not providing a summary. I know it's an obnoxious habit, I was on the run.

You may have a very good point wrt slide rules.

An engineer friend of mine once told me that Roman buildings that have survived to this day did not survive because the Romans were engineering gods. Quite to the contrary, they survived because they are grossly overbuilt - Romans pretty much sucked at materials science, knew very little about static loads and nothing about dynamics so they just built'em as thick as they could afford, left ample room for the many unknown unknowns they were dealing with.

He also told me that safety standards evolve. The more you know, the finer you can cut it.
 

NUCENG

Science Advisor
914
0
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

News item from 1977 showing typical HUFPO bias:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/06/north-anna-nuclear-earthquake_n_1078870.html

The original story is perhaps a little more balanced because they actually included the NRC response:

http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/news/2011/nov/06/tdmain01-utility-and-federal-regulators-covered-up-ar-1438362/ [Broken]

Please, read the following 1977 DOJ memo carefully:

http://www2.timesdispatch.com/mgmedia/file/408/110511-nuke/ [Broken]

Note that the issue was reviewed and resolved before the Units 1 and 2 operating licesnses were issued and operation began in 1978 and 1980, respectfully. (Units 3 and 4 were cancelled after TMI2.) Another excellent example of why coverup is stupid.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

swl

111
0
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

http://www.dailypress.com/business/dp-nws-dominion-north-anna-20111114,0,7317172.story" [Broken]

So, despite the fact that the recent Virginia earthquake exceeded the geological estimates for the site, and despite the fact that the quake exceeded the design basis, and despite the fact that the quake damaged the plant, it has been 'determined' that the plant is safe to resume operation. Should we conclude that the recent quake was the 'new' largest possible for the region?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
18,542
1,660
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

http://www.dailypress.com/business/dp-nws-dominion-north-anna-20111114,0,7317172.story" [Broken]

So, despite the fact that the recent Virginia earthquake exceeded the geological estimates for the site, and despite the fact that the quake exceeded the design basis, and despite the fact that the quake damaged the plant, it has been 'determined' that the plant is safe to resume operation. Should we conclude that the recent quake was the 'new' largest possible for the region?
North Anna Unit 1 started up this morning.
http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/reactor-status/2011/20111114ps.html#r2

The plant staff did inspections regarding the various critical systems and determined that structural integrity was maintained. I expect they will to a relatively slow power ascension, with a few hold points.

One should not expect that the earthquake is the maximum possible. USGS and the utility will have to monitor the area.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

mheslep

Gold Member
255
727
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

..., and despite the fact that the quake damaged the plant,
I am aware there was incidental damage to support buildings. I am not aware of any damage to the reactor or its containment structure, nor to any waste storage. Do you have information to the contrary?
 

QuantumPion

Science Advisor
Gold Member
901
41
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

I am aware there was incidental damage to support buildings. I am not aware of any damage to the reactor or its containment structure, nor to any waste storage. Do you have information to the contrary?
There wasn't any damage, period. The only issue was some cracking of some dry cask horizontal storage module concrete non-structural components.

Also, I think there is some confusion as to the definition of what a design basis accident is. A design basis accident is not the the worst case scenario which the plant can withstand. A design basis accident is the MINIMUM accident the plant MUST be able to withstand without any loss of safety function. The distinction lies in the fact that there is tons of margin and conservatism in the design.

Oh, and it was the NRC that "determined" the plant could start back up again.
 

Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
18,542
1,660
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

Unit 1 was at 8% of full power, so they are taking it nice and easy.
 

tsutsuji

Gold Member
1,220
15
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

Among the points raised by the Group of Concerned Scientists and Engineers Calling for the Closure of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant after the 2007 earthquake at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, one question was whether "the force applied exceeded the elasticity limit of the materials of equipment" ( http://cnic.jp/english/topics/safety/earthquake/kkscientist21aug07.html ). Even if there is no apparent damage, if the elasticity limit has been exceeded, the metal might have become more brittle and would not resist a future earthquake as well as fresh new metal coming right down from the furnace. I guess similar questions could be asked, or rather, I hope, have already been asked and given a satisfying answer, concerning the Virginia earthquake.
 

QuantumPion

Science Advisor
Gold Member
901
41
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

Among the points raised by the Group of Concerned Scientists and Engineers Calling for the Closure of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant after the 2007 earthquake at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, one question was whether "the force applied exceeded the elasticity limit of the materials of equipment" ( http://cnic.jp/english/topics/safety/earthquake/kkscientist21aug07.html ). Even if there is no apparent damage, if the elasticity limit has been exceeded, the metal might have become more brittle and would not resist a future earthquake as well as fresh new metal coming right down from the furnace. I guess similar questions could be asked, or rather, I hope, have already been asked and given a satisfying answer, concerning the Virginia earthquake.
That sounds like 99% enriched weapons-grade-baloneyum to me.
 

tsutsuji

Gold Member
1,220
15
Re: Virginia US Earthquake -- Nuclear Plant

A few details about the margins against elasticity limits at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa are mentioned in Atsuyuki Suzuki, Chairman, Nuclear Safety Commission "Findings of and Lessons Learned from the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Quake" INRA meeting, Seoul, Korea April 28-29, 2009 http://www.nsc.go.jp/anzen/sonota/kouenroku/20090430.pdf [Broken] (9 pages)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

NUCENG

Science Advisor
914
0

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving
Top