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Climate change risks could cause an American “Fukushima”

Climate change risks could cause an American “Fukushima”

Preface. Nuclear power plants need a constant supply of electric power to pump cool water into a reactor’s core.

Ninety percent of them, 54 plants, have at least one flood risk exceeding their design.

If flooding stops the power supply long enough, as happened in Fukushima, the core can overheat, melting through its container, as well as the nearby spent nuclear fuel pools which unlike the core, are in the open air, releasing deadly levels of radiation.

*** Some excerpts from:

Flavelle, C., et al. 2019. U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Weren’t Built for Climate Change. Bloomberg.

The NRC directed the operators of the 60 or so working U.S. nuclear power plants to evaluate their current flood risk, using the latest weather modeling technology and accounting for the effects of climate change. Companies were told to compare those risks with what their plants, many almost 50 years old, were built to withstand, and, where there was a gap, to explain how they would close it.

That process has revealed a lot of gaps. But Gregory Jaczko, former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and others say that the commission’s new leadership, appointed by President Donald Trump, hasn’t done enough to require owners of nuclear power plants to take preventative measures—and that the risks are increasing as climate change worsens.

Ninety percent of plants, 54 of them, have at least one flood risk exceeding their design. Fifty-three weren’t built to withstand their current risk from intense precipitation; 25 didn’t account for current flood projections from streams and rivers; 19 weren’t designed for their expected maximum storm surge; 19 face three or more threats that they weren’t designed to handle.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What’s Behind the US-Saudi Nuclear Mega-Deal?

What’s Behind the US-Saudi Nuclear Mega-Deal?

Up to 16 nuclear power plants for civilian purposes? Really?

Last week, the NY Times ran a front-page story on Saudi Arabia’s efforts to purchase nuclear fuel enrichment capabilities and as many as 16 nuclear power generating plants from the US. The principal concern expressed here was the Saudi’s insistence on ownership of nuclear fuel-enrichment technologies.

Typically, when the US has exported its reactor technology, it is accompanied by a fuel purchase agreement. We sell the fuel more or less as finished product. In the past, reluctance to export fuel-processing technology stemmed from concerns regarding proliferation of nuclear weapons. Saudi Arabia does have domestic sources of uranium they could mine but they have also expressed the need to respond to a potential nuclear arms rivalry with Iran.

But this article omitted the most important point. The key question is what are the Saudi’s motives regarding construction of a vast number of nuclear power plants for supposedly civilian purposes? The answer is obvious. There is no earthly commercial or economic reason for them to produce those quantities of electricity in the proposed nuclear fashion.

We should also point out that the seemingly large number cited for these nuclear power plants, $80 billion, is understated by a factor of almost five. Sixteen Westinghouse-designed nuclear stations with two reactors apiece would cost roughly $30 billion apiece! And 16 such plants would cost $480 billion – not $80 billion.

This sounds to us more like a bribe. Sell us nuclear fuel-processing technology (which it appears they really want), and we promise to purchase a large number of extremely expensive power plants from the US (the need for which is presently unclear).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Nuclear Power Plants At Risk Of Direct Hit By Hurricane Florence

North and South Carolina nuclear power plants are in line for a possible direct hit from Hurricane Florence.

According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), there are twelve operating nuclear power plants in the Carolinas that make electricity by the continuous splitting of uranium atoms (i.e., a nuclear reaction). These plants generally reside near a body of water—a river, lake, estuary or ocean—because they require a constant source of water for cooling purposes. Without cooling water, a nuclear reactor will overheat, leading to core damage, containment failure, and release of harmful radiation into the environment.

“Florence will approach the Carolina coast Thursday night into Friday with winds in excess of 100mph along with flooding rains. This system will approach the Brunswick Nuclear Plant as well as the Duke-Sutton Steam Plant,” said Ed Vallee, a meteorologist at Vallee Wx Consulting.

“Dangerous wind gusts and flooding will be the largest threats to these operations with inland plants being susceptible to inland flooding,” said Vallee.

He tweeted a few weather models Tuesday morning that forecasts rainfall amounts 15-40″ range in some regions along the coast.

One of those models is the ECMWF Total Precipitation, which shows the most torrential rain could be situated around the two nuclear power plants in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Also, there is a significant risk of “a life-threatening storm surge” of up to 20 feet or higher along the coast where the nuclear power plants sit.

“The latest forecast is projecting that Hurricane Florence willstrengthen “to near category 5 strength” before it makes landfall in the Carolinas, and it is being called “a serious threat to lives and property”. It is extremely rare for a hurricane of this intensity to come this far north, and one expert is claiming that Florence “has the potential to be the most destructive hurricane we’ve had in modern history for this region.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Nuclear Power Plants At Risk Of Direct Hit By Hurricane Florence

North and South Carolina nuclear power plants are in line for a possible direct hit from Hurricane Florence.

According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), there are twelve operating nuclear power plants in the Carolinas that make electricity by the continuous splitting of uranium atoms (i.e., a nuclear reaction). These plants generally reside near a body of water—a river, lake, estuary or ocean—because they require a constant source of water for cooling purposes. Without cooling water, a nuclear reactor will overheat, leading to core damage, containment failure, and release of harmful radiation into the environment.

“Florence will approach the Carolina coast Thursday night into Friday with winds in excess of 100mph along with flooding rains. This system will approach the Brunswick Nuclear Plant as well as the Duke-Sutton Steam Plant,” said Ed Vallee, a meteorologist at Vallee Wx Consulting.

“Dangerous wind gusts and flooding will be the largest threats to these operations with inland plants being susceptible to inland flooding,” said Vallee.

He tweeted a few weather models Tuesday morning that forecasts rainfall amounts 15-40″ range in some regions along the coast.

One of those models is the ECMWF Total Precipitation, which shows the most torrential rain could be situated around the two nuclear power plants in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Also, there is a significant risk of “a life-threatening storm surge” of up to 20 feet or higher along the coast where the nuclear power plants sit.

“The latest forecast is projecting that Hurricane Florence willstrengthen “to near category 5 strength” before it makes landfall in the Carolinas, and it is being called “a serious threat to lives and property”. It is extremely rare for a hurricane of this intensity to come this far north, and one expert is claiming that Florence “has the potential to be the most destructive hurricane we’ve had in modern history for this region.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Visualizing The World’s Other ‘Aging’ Problem

While the world is becoming increasingly aware of the west’s looming (and current) demographic dystopia  – solved in its globalist way via immigration and government-dependence – there is another ‘ageing’ problem that is potentially even more catastrophic…

A total of 450 nuclear reactors are producing around 11 percent of the total electricity output worldwide.According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United States is currently running 99 reactors, making it the country with the most units online, followed by France with 58 units.

But, as Statista’s Dyfed Loesche shows in the infographic below, a lot of the currently still running reactors were connected to the grid in the 1980s, now 29 to 38 years old. 

Infographic: Ageing Reactors | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

In Germany, where the government decided to shut down all nuclear plants by the end of 2022, all of the 7 still running reactors were built in the 1980s.

The oldest reactors worldwide went online some 49 years ago. One of them is the reactor 1 at Beznau power plant in Switzerland which has been delivering electricity since July 1969.

Can You Really “Shut Down” a Nuclear Power Plant before a Hurricane?

Can You Really “Shut Down” a Nuclear Power Plant before a Hurricane?

Soothing words before the storm: “Our nuclear plants are now shut down.”

There are those who believe the answers to life’s most pressing questions can be found in one of two movies: “The Godfather” (part one) or “The Princess Bride.” In the latter movie, think of the Spaniard’s vaguely taunting response: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”  Which might also be the reply to: “Our nuclear plants are now shut down.”

Right now we are thinking about the Turkey Point and St. Lucie nuclear power stations in South Florida, in the aftermath of hurricane Irma. But we could have been referring to the South Texas Nuclear Project south of Houston, just a week or two earlier.

Those Westinghouse pressurized water reactors have six modes of operation, sort of like gears in a car. The highest level of performance, mode 1 includes power operations all the way up to 100% power. Mode 6, the lowest level of operation, describes a plant in the state of being refueled.

Senior management at NextEra’s utility subsidiary, Florida Power & Light, placed their nuclear reactors in mode 4, “hot shutdown,” as the hurricane advanced towards the plants. (Mode 5 is cold shutdown with far lower internal reactor temperatures.)

In so-called hot shutdown, a nuclear plant has one primary requirement for ongoing safe operation — a reliable supply of electricity (assuming competent staff of course).

Even though nuclear plants produce electricity for the grid, they also require large amounts of electricity to maintain their own operations particularly in this instance for: 1) cooling the fuel in the recently operating nuclear reactor core and 2) cooling the spent fuel pools where used fuel rods are placed after removal from the reactor. These activities are known as residual heat removal.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Two Nuclear Power Plants In Florida Are Directly In The Path Of Hurricane Irma

Two Nuclear Power Plants In Florida Are Directly In The Path Of Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma is more powerful than all of the other major Atlantic storms this year combined, and it has an eye as large as the entire Detroit metro area. It is being reported that “upwards of 90%” of Barbuda has already been destroyed by the storm, and it is being projected that some areas of Puerto Rico could be without power “for between four and six months”. You may want to view these photos and these videos to get a better idea of the immense destructiveness of this very powerful storm. The latest forecasts have Hurricane Irma making landfall in Florida, but so far the two nuclear power plants in Florida that would be directly in the path of the storm have not even started the process of shutting down

In anticipation of powerful Hurricane Irma, which projections on Wednesday showed headed straight for South Florida, Florida Power & Light’s two nuclear plants were finalizing staffing plans and cleaning up the grounds. But neither Turkey Point nor the St. Lucie plant further up the coast had made the call yet to shutting down the plants.

Peter Robbins, spokesman for FPL, said shutting down a reactor is a gradual process, and the decision will be made “well in advance” of the storm making landfall.

We all remember what happened with Fukushima, and we definitely do not want to see a repeat on U.S. soil. The Fukushima nuclear disaster changed millions of minds about the safety of nuclear power, and as a member of Congress I will do all that I can to encourage the development of our solar power, wind power and geothermal power capabilities.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Would A Long-Duration Blackout Cause Nuclear Armageddon?

Would A Long-Duration Blackout Cause Nuclear Armageddon?

nuke 2According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, there are sixty-one active commercial nuclear plants spread across the United States. A question on the minds of many is what would happen to those plants if the nation experienced a widespread, long-lasting power outage? Let me start by saying that there is a quite a bit of misinformation on the web about this subject, so my advice is to be careful about what you choose to believe.

Many of you may know that I have a background in science and engineering (Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering), so I believed that if I could talk with a knowledgeable person working in the nuclear power industry, I could get to the bottom of this question. To find answers, I consulted Jim Hopson, the Manager of Public Relations at the Tennessee Valley Authority. As readers may point out, it was in Mr. Hopson’s interest to assure me that nuclear plants are safe, but to be fair, I found him to be forthright about the industry’s safeguards and vulnerabilities.

Probably the best place to start is with a basic discussion of how a nuclear power plant operates. There are two types of reactors in the U.S., boiling water reactors (BWRs) and pressurized water reactors (PWRs). For purposes of our discussion, the differences in their operation aren’t terribly important. Nuclear reactors use an atomic process called fission to generate heat. The heat is then used to create steam that turns large turbines to generate electricity. The steam is later condensed and returned in a closed-loop process within the reactor system.

The nuclear reaction itself is beyond the scope of this brief write up (and my expertise), but the gist is that an energetic neutron is absorbed by a uranium-235 nucleus, briefly turning it into a uranium-236 nucleus.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

India to build nuclear reactors with Russia – Central & South Asia – Al Jazeera English

India to build nuclear reactors with Russia – Central & South Asia – Al Jazeera English.

India is to build at least ten more nuclear reactors with Russia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said after talks with President Vladimir Putin in New Delhi.

“We have outlined an ambitious vision for nuclear energy of at least 10 more reactors,” Modi said at a press briefing on Thursday.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin held talks with India’s new prime minister as sanctions-hit Moscow seeks to strengthen energy, defence and strategic ties in Asia.

Putin on was looking to advance nuclear power, oil and natural gas and even diamond deals with long-standing ally India, on his first visit since Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept to power in May.

The president is seeking new markets for Russia’s natural resources as its economy reels under US and EU sanctions over its backing of an uprising in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

“He [Putin] wants to show the world that he isn’t isolated and to a certain extent he’s not, he still has the BRICS countries,” Russia expert Nandan Unnikrishnan said, referring to the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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