Nice slide show, Chuck. And good news for the nuclear power industry. The Fukushima accident frightened the whole world, with Europe -- previously big proponents of nuclear -- getting shy about this energy source. Nuclear continues to be a surprisingly safe energy source.
Anyone who thinks the Fukushima Dai-chi stations passed the crisis of March 2011 has not been paying attention. While the plant no doubt performed past the design basis specification for Ground Motion and water intrusion, that speaks more to poor Specifications then any actual reality based engineering design. Japan is cited on the Pacific rim of fire and has a 10,000 year history of quakes and Tsunami. Japan has had 13 quakes above 8.2 in their recorded history. Failing to specify survival at the 1896 Meiji Sunruko quake and
resultant tsunami was failing to diligently understand the environment. The 1896 quake killed 22,000 people and produced a 38 M tsunami wave.
Failing to design for a 40 M wave was poor planning at best.
Any designer who fails to look at the 100 year environment when designing civil protection systems, is failing to meet the canons of ethics, IMHO.
The Explosion and failure of Fukushima unit 4 when it was in a cold shutdown and had been undergoing refueling for 6 months speaks to fundamental design flaws. Any reactor that can explode when powered down, lacks fundamental passive stability.
It is possible to say that Fukushima performed beyond it's best expectations, only if one means that the actual expectation was all 10 of the fukushima reactors would explode and shower radioactive plumes on Tokyo, however, that's a pretty low bar.
Competent designers should be ashamed of how the fukushima reactors performed.
I am often astounded how a person can ignore such critical facts around such a devestating disaster.
1. Design spec of fuel failure was 1%. Reality is 100% in three cores with fuel fragments ejected over a mile from the reactors.
2. 80% of the radionuclides were blown off shore. This is a huge issue and the effect on the Pacific is not known at this time.
3. Over 160,000 people will never return home. From their point of view did the reactors do well? No.
4. Economic harm was not addressed at all. It is safe to say it would bankrupt Japan.
5. TEPCO has yet to pay claims to 160,000 people who lost homes, farms, businesses, and income. They have no funds for this.
6. Containment is meant to do just that: contain. At present we have thousands of tons of fuel and corium with no containment and no tech to remove it.
7. Any medical doctor can tell you it is unreasonable to calculate the cost of health and death just two years out. It takes decates of careful research to determine the actual harm with most cancers not showing up for years. there is also many other health problems related to cesium and others that have not been studied in Japan. The facts will not be in for 50 years as the results play out statistically. This is like saying a car did well in a crash long before it has come to rest.
8. Finally, there is a long history of governments minimizing the massive costs a meltdown and melt through cause. How can this author in good conscience report almost no one was harmed when we do not have full access to the data and detailed and in depth independent studies yet to be conducted.
In closing, it is apparent this author is quite negligent in comprehending the facts of this nuclear disaster and reporting accordingly. He is reporting for the benefit of a failing industry. Plants are not designed to melt down. This is what happened and it is not acceptable.
The people we talked to were university professors, Thatmonk. One was a physics professor; two were nuclear engineering profs. The studies we cited were done by two physics professors. The Wall Street Journal article we cited was written by a physics professor. The Nuclear Energy Institute declined an offer to talk with us (but did guide us to photos used in the slideshow). The studies cited didn't simply look at the numbers today; they made projections. This article notes the projections. Again -- their point is that given the mammoth devastation, the current projections and the numbers thus far are low, much lower than the media was projecting two years ago.
Thanks for your reply Charles, I appologize for making the assuption of connections to the nuclear industry. What is appropriate is a question. I wonder if you would be willing to reveal the names and institutions of the professiors you interviewed? I am especially interested their connection to the nuclear industry and who funds their work.
Indeed, it can be said things today are far better than worst case projections two years ago. This came to pass not at all due to the design of the plants or the management of the disaster by TEPCO and the Japanese beurocracy and crippling culture preventing initiave, but fortunate weatjher patterns. Had the weather been different, Japan would have been radiologically divided with many deaths and illnesses.
However, death is only one indicator, and a poor one to use soley to come to the conclusion and inference than nuclear is a good idea. What about high instances of: suicide directly related to the nuclear disasters, depression and mental illness directly related to fears of radiation based on a government and company who have presented a consistent pattern of lying about the accident. What about the large number of chilrden who have cysts on their thyroid that statistically should not have them. What about the significant number of babies who were aborted due to their parents valid fear of fetal damage due to radiological poisoning and genetic damage? What about the premature deaths of the elderly who were forced to leave villages they have lived in dozens of generations due to a loss of hope, life meaning and communities ties? What about the heavy social stigma people are now experiencing because they come from Fukushima, where partners refuse to marry them due to the risk of genetic damage in their sexual organs where radionuclides concentrate? What about the radiological concentrations that are only just beginning in the food chain? What about the fact that if Japan followed Soviet Russia's exclusion zone limits for the Chernobyl disaster, Fukushima City and parts of Tokyo would have to be evacuated and abandoned?
Using radiological death as the sole measure does not work as it fails to account for the many other areas where vast harm has been done.
When we discuss the Fukushima nuclear disaster, seperating it from the other related disasters is appropriate. The scale of the earthquake and tsunami are huge. The scale of the tsunami and earthquake however in no way minimizes the scale of ongoing damage caused by these meltdowns that are decades from being resolved, if they ever are... as they continue to leak large amount of radioactivity into the ground water, oceans and atmosphere.
Stating things are good today based on old projections is disengenuous to the many people who have been hurt today and who will experience cancer and other health and financial problems over their lifetime due to the exposure they received and loss of property from the Fukushima Daiichi reactors.
Rather then rely on the reports of a few people I suggest you investigate the facts of this disaster for yourself, as I have done. I've logged over a 1,000 hours researching and following this nuclear disaster. It is incredibly complex and the science behind it is daunting for the mayman. It is far, far worse than is being reported and the costs and harm it is causing are so far from being accounted for only the most neophite could find a way to compare it to being "good;" especially when that "good" estimation is based on mere projection dependent on a huge number of variables.
I shall not appologize for my honest bluntness here. It is deserved for a poorly researched article and a terrible headline. Please do your own homework befor reporting on the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Yes Charles, but there lies the issue: they are into Physics!... most Physics Professors (PhD degree aside) tend to be "nice" toward nuclear matters. But at the same time they are quite ignorant about the real dangers and pitfalls of engineering designs. They tend to assume, for example, that a valve (or pump or whatever) will be available and ready in the critical moment, all the time.
Real life engineering shows us a very different picture. People that studied Physics and related disciplines are not as critical as is needed, simply because it is a subject that relates well with their choosen career, so that there is a natural, intangible sympathy with respect to anything that involves particle physics on the edge of the science. Think about the Physicists that collaborated with the development of nuclear weapons, even knowing those would produce massively destructive effects!
(I guess some biologists could be mesmerized by the "feat" of developing a mortal virus or powerful biological weapon...)
When assesing a technology that (as any other) has presented catastrophic failures, an ethical engineer must question itself about possible damages to others, before becoming too enchanted with the technology. Best wishes. Amclaussen.
The points you raise are valid, patb2009. There were meltdowns at three reactors and explosions at three reactors buildings. Hundreds of thousands of residents had to be evacuated from their homes. But I think the three profs we interviewed are taking a bigger picture view of this. The Great East Japan Earthquake was the worst Japan has ever seen. It left 15,000 to 20,000 dead. There were so many bodies, it exceeded the available capacity of crematoriums. There were tens of billions of dollars in damage, 129,000 buildings were collapsed and 254,000 were half-collapsed. More than 230,000 autos and trucks were destroyed. More than 100,000 children were uprooted from their homes. The earthquake was so powerful that it shifted the earth's axis between 4" and 10", which led to differences in the tilt of the earth and the length of the day. The point is that under the circumstances, it could be argued that zero radiation deaths to date (verified by multiple studies at this point) would indicate that Fukushima did quite well. Would engineers design for an earthquake greater than an 8.2 in the future? Almost certainly. Would they design for a bigger tsunami? Absolutely. Would they react more quickly and decisively at the plant, so that the mammoth clean-up process wouldn't take decades? Yes, I would hope they would. Still, I believe the profs have a valid point. The dire predictions of ten of thousands of radiation deaths haven't come true. The numbers are impressive when placed in context against the magnitude of the disaster.
"There were meltdowns at three reactors and explosions at three reactors buildings"
That depends upon how you define what happened at both Unit 2 and unit 4. Unit 2 appears to have melted down and burned it's way out of the building and Unit 4 did some sort of explosion right out of cold shutdown.
" The Great East Japan Earthquake was the worst Japan has ever seen"
The Sanriku quake was as bad or worse, 6 other quakes killed far more people.
And failing to look at plausible quakes is just incompetence. Is it implausible that Japan gets Richter 8+ quakes and 10 Meter Tsunami? Merely look at 1933 or 1896 which were both on that Tohuko region.
Failing to plan for Richter 9 quakes on the japanese coast and tsunami is criminal negligence.
"The dire predictions of ten of thousands of radiation deaths haven't come true."
There are tens of thousands of children in Fukushima with thyroid cysts and anomalies. Growing up with Thyroid cancer is no blessing.
Patb2009, the same source you quote -- wikipedia -- describes the 2011 quake: "It was the most powerful known earthquake ever to have hit Japan." (The reason for the difference may be that "reliable and precise magnitude data is scarce for earthquakes that occurred prior to modern measuring instruments.")
Also, I really am curious (respectfully so) about your source for the statement that there are tens of thousands of chlidren in Fukushima with thyroid cysts and anomalies. Does this come from a scientific study? The Huyano study would seem to indicate otherwise.
You raise good points. I recently learned that the gas and wire lines that control the valving system for the primary containment vents had no earthquake rating at all. This is perhaps why they could not vent #2. There are a large number of systems that had limited or no earthquake or fire rating. So it is not a suprise they had a terrible time managing the reactors.
These days they don't even have a "rat" rating as rats are taking out cooling systems.
"I recently learned that the gas and wire lines that control the valving system for the primary containment vents had no earthquake rating at all. This is perhaps why they could not vent #2. "
Close: the vent valves were electrically controlled with mechanical attach points in inconvenient places with very poor access. When the plant lost power, the ability to command the valves was lost and workers needed to be sent into radiation zones
with small wrenches to attempt to hand crank these valves open. While theoretically possible, in the dark, with the ground still shaking from aftershocks and with radioactive steam around, the workers couldn't do it.
the burst disks were set at 60 PSI which was also the failure level for the containment vessels. With the containments damaged from the quakes, the containments exploded before the vent disks went.
EXACTLY, patb2009. That's WHY I was writing a comment to the comment of Charles about the "credentials" of the author of the article the professor and pair of Nuclear Engineers that were consulted... every time an event like this happens, it is NOT related to fundamental design, or particle physics doing strange things, but very common yet complex failure of much mundane little things, like valves, pumps, rupture discs and similar. THERE lies the problem: underestimating unpredicted cumulative little failures. A subject that "isn't as important" as academics tend to dominate. Placing the emergency generators in the basement, prone to flooding was a big mistake, too.
Silly me. I see them now! Thanks for pointing that out. I was apparently focusing on other details of the article. It appears they do have significant ties to the nuclear industry and given the type of work they do, would present pro-nuclear views enabling them to resist the negative aspects. Publically stating negative views of nuclear would likely result in negative financial and professional consequences for them in my opinion. Hence my strong suspicion of these professors reports.
In the article "Panic Over Fukushima" by Dr. Muller, as is the case in most articles arguing for the limited harm of radioactivity in Fukushima, he is only accounting for external exposure to gamma radiation based on looking at only one radioactive isotope. In Fukushima we also must account for internal exposure which is being ignored; especially the alpha and beta emitters which are very hard to measure internally. It is in the food, water, meat, milk, fish, rice and air. Cesium 137 is a potassium analogue and goes into muscle while Strontium 90 is a calcium analogue going into bone. It readily concentrates in the food chain. There are many other radionuclides as well that are not featured in these discussions. With Fukushima, we see a huge number of radionuclides and their isotopes as well as many variants due to chemical reactions in the reactors and within nature itself. To compare all of this internal exposure to levels of external exposure in Denver is like comparing apples, to say a Chevrolet or an alder tree. There is no fair comparison. Just a rough and convenient estimate that is good for pro-nuclear opinions.
I wonder if you might respond to the issues I raised in my previous posts?
Good information, Patb2009. The Fukushima plant was built 40 years ago. Would current technology have made the plant safer? Or is it your view that there is no safe place for a nuclear plant on the island of Japan?
Rob, your comment goes right to the heart of the issue. The question is, can you afford to build a plant that will stand up more effectively to a 9.0 earthquake? Do you need to make it stand up to an earthquake of 9.5 or even worse? Does the cost-benefit situation indicate that it's too costly to be feasible? The professors we talked with argued that coal-burning plants are still more dangerous to human life, and that nuclear power needs to be compared to the alternatives, rather than viewed in a vacuum.
" can you afford to build a plant that will stand up more effectively to a 9.0 earthquake?"
now here is the truly ugly question, and thank you for mentioning it.
Nuclear reactors must be protected against a broad variety of natural and human disasters.
There are 2 primary scenarios that come about from catastrophic damage to the plant systems: 1) Loss of Coolant 2) Station Black out.
Loss of coolant can occur from Tsunami, Earthquake, storm damage to coolant towers, flood,drought, aircraft crash, human error, fire
Station black outs can occur from Solar Flare, lightning strike, grid failure, EMP, human damage to switchyards, tornados, hurricanes, Earthquake, tsunami, aircraft crash, terrorism, Human error, fire.
The cost of designing robustness into these systems makes nuclear power unattractive.
between 1977 and 2005, less then a dozen plants were commissioned, this was in large part due to the length of time to license and the staggering capital investments. The largest municipal bond failure in the 1980s was the Washington Public Power System nuclear bonds.
The reality is with ever cheaper wind power and solar PV, nuclear is facing a growing set of challengers. Cheap Nat Gas and distributed power make further investments in nuclear appear to be unwise.
@Charles Murray--regarding the coal vs. nuclear debate, my physics teacher in college said he would rather live in a tent next to the Three Mile Island containment vessel rather than live a mile from a coal burning facility
Your teacher was not wrong: 1) nuclear reactors only pose a threat to health if they have a substantial failure; coal plants provide a continuous and ongoing threat. 2) under normal conditions, exposure to fugitive radioactive ions is higher for coal. There are a number of scientific studies that make this conclusion. 3) the total accessible exposure is higher for coal plants because they are in greater number and less judiciously sited. 4) other emmissions such as mercury, arsenic, VOCs, sulphides, fine particulates, etc. from coal are unmatched by nuclear. 5) the volume of hazardous solid waste produced is much higher and less well contained with coal compared to nuclear.
I happen to live very near TMI and I would much rather live near a modern coal burning power plant. There are too many incidents at TMI. Like the one last year (September 2012) where radioactive steam was released into the atmosphere. The original news reports stated that the core was briefly exposed, but there was no danger to the public. That news story has been scrubbed. I read that it was another case of a stuck valve at TMI, which limited coolant flow causing the coolant to overheat. A safety valve popped releasing radioactive steam and triggering a shutdown of the reactor. At least the auto-shutdown functioned. Otherwise, we might have had a repeat of 1979.
There are a lot of bogus reports about the Chernobyl accident. The 980,000 number for the number of long term deaths is just something someone made up. There is no scientific support for it. The number that appears in peer reviewed scientific journals is a maximum of 4000, which is still a lot.
Second, I don't see why you are worried about the TMI plant and not the coal plants since one of the pollutants from the coal plants is radiation. Most coal contains small amounts of uranium and thorium and is in the ash when it is burned. In fact some coal plants could not be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission because they could not meet the radiation limits for emissions.
Does anyone have an idea on why the professor in the article was only measuring cesium in the population? Cesium is highly soluble in water and would quickly be purged from the human body. It would seem to me that the biggest long term worry would the strontium 90. It is a calcium analog and would accumulate in the bones and it is not easily eliminated from the body.
The WHO apparantly has a signed agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to get their approval for any research and/or public statements concerning Nuclear Power. The IAEA is a known nuclear power proponent. Their own stated objective is "The agency shall seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity through the world." That's pretty much the definition of pro-nuclear. Your 4000 deaths number comes from the WHO and was approved by the IAEA. You talk about bogus reports. I choose to trust three noted Russian experts who have actually been involved over a bunch of armchair experts with pro-nuclear agendas.
The NRC doesn't license any Coal Burning Power Plants. Your statement doesn't make sense.
I'm worried about TMI because I have kids. In spite of the fact that TMI has a system for warning the public about significant issues, like exposing the core or venting radioactive steam into the air we had to find out about those details on the national news 2 days after it happened. I'm also worried about TMI because a friend of mine with a degree in nuclear physics, who used to work for the DOE and he used to inspect nuclear power plants tells me I should be. Done.
These nuclear radiations are very harmfull and very common, example is of hiroshima the whole world is aware of it .I have come across that radiations received by single employee per hour in fukushima plant is equivalent to total quantity of radiations received in their career.
C'mon Rob... Blaming on the bad points of other energy sources cannot make automatically look nuclear "very good". That is akin to conclude that one form of death is "better than another".
Nuclear cannot look "very good", it is not a matter of putting contenders in a game and declare a winner. Nuclear accidents are of potentially very grave consequences, clean-up is probably unattainably costly. Chernobyl will cost many more dollars more just to keep it leaking, they need to build another coffin to contain it. "spent fuel" storage is both risky and costly, there are MANY issues... you cannot seriously label it as "good" at all! That coal is also dangerous, does NOT make Nuclear magically free from these dangers.
Betting on someone to prodigiously produce absolutely flawless, fail-proof nuclear plants is not realistic or achievable IN THE REAL LIFE. Unless the established engineering practices are re-evaluated, and a lot of wrong assumptions corrected, we will continue to see a few but terrible accidents. That someone feels and believes he/she is a perfect nuclear engineer, is to be naive, preposterous and pedantic. Exactly the same posture that has produced the worst disasters in history.
We are supposedly discusing here in ENGINEERING arguments. NOT political ones. We should avoid taking sides at all. Let's just analyze the TECHNICAL problems objectively, and then try to contribute with engineering proposals or explanations. Attacking or disqualifying others with personnal attacks (just take a look at the profuse arguments given by one ardent proponent of Nuclear power below! WOW, we REALLY need to moderate the forum soon!)
My humble opinion against Nuclear power proliferation is very simple: most failures are completely similar in nature to the failures in OTHER power industries. The lesson is that, independently from the much higher controls of the nuclear industry, it is still subject to the same kind of failures, only that the consequences of a nuclear disaster are not as easy to deal with. (Not saying petroleum or coal disasters are trivial, of course) but there is a difference in magnitude. Usually huge.
Like any good old capitalist enterprise, companies will make anything to gain the business, whatever, even whole governments! (Japanese have shown how-to lie and pretend it was comletely under control, and then had to rectify). Back in the 60's, my father brought to home what now would appear as a frantic effort of the US governmet to impulse the nuclear industry at any cost: the "Atoms for Peace" program brochures. Those are a flagrant intent to ignore the dangerous nature of atmospheric releases of radioactive materials, as the naive idea of excavating a new Panama or simililar interoceanic canal with shallow atomic explosions! Just a little sample of the hipocrisy of the governants in turn. Amclaussen.
and we have " Just a little sample of the hipocrisy of the governants in turn. Amclaussen."
the gross hipocrisy to accept killing, injuring, and suffering of millions more each year from fossil fuel polutants ... just to save a few dozen lives, and a few thousand illnesses of a different kind.
the gross hipocrisy to to believe that voices other than yours deserve to be silenced by a moderator.
well maybe the pro-nuke voices need to start saying something, like step aside you coward baby killers, and let someone do the job you are too afraid to try at.
I don't like your math .... let millions die and suffer each year ... just because you are afraid someone might prove you wrong.
So ... here is the challenge ... create three teams:
Team 1) Bring a complete non-toxic low cost solar/wind/storage base/peak generation solution to market that is cheaper than fossil fuel and nuke power generation, and doesn't require a huge debt or balance of trade problem sourcing from asia (will probably take about 20-30 years, and may not happen for technical reasons). Build these out to replace fossil fuel peak generation, and base generation facilities, and force the shutdown off all fossil fuel and nuke generation facilities, including fossil fuel use for transportation.
Team 2) Build a rail gun up the side of a very tall mountain to launch all nuke waste into the sun. This might also be necessary to dispose of toxic renewable power solutions that fail.
Team 3) Build advanced better than state of the art, clean, safe nuke generation plants to replace fossil fuel base and peak generation facilities, as both an interim solution until Team 1 succeeds, and as a back up plan if Team 1 fails.
Either way, we can eliminate most fossil fuel use and deaths in a decade or so. If Team 1 wins, then Team 2 launches all radioactive clean up mess into the sun.
Why don't YOU stop insulting others (we all can see your inflammatory comments on this same post!).
Why don't you take time to review my profile, or do you need a picture to focus your attacks better? Calling a fellow engineer a "Troll" just because he does NOT support you phanatical desire to go nuclear is not proper, nor valid.
This is a discussion forum for (supossedly) civilized, educated engineers, that want to CONTRIBUTE their expertise and viewpoint). you have already attacked others that have contributed VALUABLE viewpoints (like pabt2009 and Ichen52, whose, BTW, gave very valid comments, without resorting to words like "nazi" and similar.
Please try to refocus your comments. If you like Nuclear, fine!. but refrain to call other people with insulting terms when they can show you any disadvantage or danger that your favorite technology carries with it. Maybe in that way you can learn a little more.
Have a nice day.
Amclaussen. 35 years doing engineering, R&D and studying all the time.
Yes it is supposed to be for educated engineers ... and yet the emotionally driven lies continue to be presented as undeniable facts ... which is far from the truth.
In most cases, it's engineers without formal training or experience in the nuke power industry, asserting that they are "the experts", and that those actually working in the field are irresponsible.
We already have several of your "experts" making a horrible mess of statistics.
And others making a horrible mess of differentiating failures of poorly designed facilities, and asserting that significantly safer modern western designs will fail like a research reactor or a poorly designed Soviet reactor from 50 years ago.
Start acting like engineers ... and if you lack the direct experience and formal training, then stop asserting to be "THE ONLY" experts in the discussion.
And I am not an engineer in the nuke-power field, and have never worked in it. I do have friends that have, and I rather respect their view a LOT more than the anti-nuke drivel.
I did spend from 1972 to 1994 in San Luis Obispo, in the middle of the Mothers for Peace Anti-Nuke protests over Diablo Canyon facility. I had friends in both camps ... protestors, and working at the plant. I realize from hard experience, the anti-nuke discussion was never about making nukes safer ... it's about using any means at all to make the world a nuke free zone. The lies that anti-nuke camp tells, are nothing new to me.
This "discussion" isn't allowed to include how to make nuke power safer. By a very clear statement, the anti-nuke proponents here have declared that there simply will never be a safe nuke, and that they will shout over any discussion that isn't moving toward a nuke free world.
Eco Nazi's believe that only their narrow illogical view of the world, is the only one that counts. They are unwilling to compromise in the face of a majority acting against their wishes.
The small minority anti-nuke factions specifically decided to impose their views on the rest of society, by what ever means, and what ever cost, to prevail. Using relentless litigation to make the world a nuke free zone, is being an Eco Nazi ... because they have choosen to assert their will with what ever available means ... including propaganda that is factually in error, as long as it serves the purpose of making the world a nuke free zone.
Trolling certainly applies, as it's a minority view, with lie after lie attempting to dominate the discussion toward a nuke free world. Including being openly disrespectful of any position that would like to explore making nuke power safer.
It certainly isn't a discussion about making the world a safer place ... when the alternative is millions of fossil fuel deaths each year.
It certainly isn't a discussion about making nuke power safe ... when the ONLY acceptable discussion point is making the world a nuke free zone.
It certainly isn't a discussion about even engineering issues ... when the ONLY acceptable discussion points are illogical idealogical advancement toward a nuke free world.
Engineers accept that everything will fail sometime, and work toward making that as safe as possible .... this certainly isn't an engineering discussion, when the idealogy is a nuke free world, or else.
So back the the original post, and the topic that the significantly improved plant design at Fukushima, even with the leaks, prevented what could have been 100 times worse than a plant with a Chernobyl design. Fukushima didn't perform as well as TMI, but the multiple layers of containment design did keep it from getting far worse.
A good engineering discussion would discuss what did work well, what could be better, and how to retrofit existing plants to perform better as well.
A bad political discusion that starts off with declaring it was completely a failure, and a nuke free world wide zone is the only solution is not really an option here .... unless killing a LOT more babies is someone's goal.
Stating every design is a bad as the Chernobyl design, and equating Chernobyl and TMI failures, is just political activism lies.
What do we need to do better to make sure US plants contain a melt down completely, not just the 95% solution that we got from Fukushima? Or are we already there, with designs superior to Fukushima?
And no ... more of the anti-nuke propaganda that everything will fail as badly as Chernobyl isn't acceptable.
And by the way .... PatB doesn't seem to be a nuke plant engineer, but in his first post on "4/26/2013 1:47:41 PM" he sets the tone that I've considered fair game in this series.
It's absolutely being a jack a** to claim the engineers designing the plant completely lacked any ethics .... his quote is "Any designer who fails to look at the 100 year environment when designing civil protection systems, is failing to meet the canons of ethics, IMHO."
the other quote ending the same piece is: "Competent designers should be ashamed of how the fukushima reactors performed."
It's one thing to be an expert in the field, and know with first hand experience of participating in the design meetings for that plant, that the engineers failed to meet or better the design requirements forced on them by the government regulators and executives. So far, it seems they did meet or better the requirements set for them. It's clear in retrospected, that things could have been better ... every project has that problem with hindsight. Problems start with poor regulations, specifications and budgets.
It's another thing to be a jack a**, without any credientials and experience in the field, and spout off with such attacks against the engineers involved, without understanding the resource limits placed on them by regulators and executives.
Frankly, every anti-nuke protester, should be ashamed at blocking a clean alternative, that has caused hundreds of millions to die or suffer from fossil fuel polution related illnesses.
If the companies hadn't lost billions fighting idealogical nuke free world zone court battles, maybe they would have had a LOT more money to put toward safety improvements.
It's pretty shitty to crow about how much money the court battles have cost nuke power facilities, and then completely deny responsibilty for leaving the industry short of cash for upgrades. Anti-nuke protesters need to take responsibility for the deaths they have caused, or contributed to.
It's pretty shitty for PatB to attack the engineers on this project this way, so he can not complain about the tone HE set for this discussion. If PatB lacks the ethics and civility not to call the hundreds of engineers on that project incompentant, then he's being a little thin skined about being called a troll (which his nuke free zone posts are), a nazi (for his lack of appreciation for others views), and a baby killer (for blocking clean nuke power production).
Maybe if the anti-nuke protesters had spent the litigation money to hire good engineers to lobby and improve the regulations, that the failures would have not happened. Instead they just pissed away much needed money for safety, in the courts. Maybe the protesters need to start considering their lack of ethics in killing all the babies, kids, and adults. Maybe the protesters need to be competent constructive citizens building up a safe pollutant free world.
Instead they are patting themselves on the back for killing babies with pollution, stealing money needed for plant safey, and being nazi's for a nuke free world.
I suppose Econazi publications like DesignNews should be utterly ignored when they print stories like http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=263150&itc=dn_analysis_element&
To put this in context, on the most recent record-setting day for wind power, total energy demand on the system peaked at 4:07 p.m. with 27,426 megawatts. During the preceding hour, the system got 28.8 percent of its generated power from renewables, including wind, solar, biogas, biomass, small-scale hydroelectric power, and geothermal. That's not too far off from the 33 percent set by the California Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) as the proportion of energy that must be generated from renewable sources by 2020.
Most of the new energy capacity the ISO expects to be generated in California during 2H 2013, about 97 percent, will be from solar, according to the report. During 2012, most of the growth in renewables was due to increases in wind and solar resources. Energy from new solar and wind capacity during 2013 is expected to increase much faster than from other sources
Damn these Eco-Nazis, making so many people in California Suffer. All the people freezing, starving, dying. The babies being eaten by the ravenous hordes.
Oh the Humanity, if only we had some wonderful person like John to save us from all this terrible cheap Wind and solar energy.
Will Some Hero, like John, just start bombing Windmills to save the birds from the rotors of death, and pound the rotors into pressure vessels.
"On February 2, 1976, Gregory C. Minor, Richard B. Hubbard, and Dale G. Bridenbaugh "blew the whistle" on safety problems atnuclear power plants. The three engineers gained the attention of journalists and their disclosures about the threats of nuclear power had a significant impact. They timed their statements to coincide with their resignations from responsible positions in General Electric's nuclear energy division,
Following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that devastated northern Japan, a series of explosions and a containment failure at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant resulted in media coverage of the GE Three. Bridenbaugh described design flaws of General Electric's Mark 1 reactors, which account for five of the six reactors at the Fukushima 1 power plant. Bridenbaugh claimed that the design "did not take into account the dynamic loads that could be experienced with a loss of coolant" and that, despite efforts to retrofit the reactors, "the Mark 1 is still a little more susceptible to an accident that would result in a loss of containment.""
"The problems we identified in 1975 were that, in doing the design of the containment, they did not take into account the dynamic loads that could be experienced with a loss of coolant," Bridenbaugh told ABC News in an interview. "The impact loads the containment would receive by this very rapid release of energy could tear the containment apart and create an uncontrolled release.""
The nuclear enterprise is a societal good ◦ The nuclear industry has adequate skills and technology to succeed. ◦ If we fail it will mostly likely be by ethical lapses.
So if we listen to the GE 3, the Mark 1 design was doomed to fail, and as we saw, the first time the containment was presented with a core meltdown, the containments in units 1-3 failed.
if we listen to Robert Wilson, the Industry has adequate skills and technology but failure will be by ethical lapses.
Well, What can I say?
John is out there howling, but, he's not a nuclear engineer. The reality is that when faced with a predictable design challenge, 4 nuclear reactors exploded. I don't have to be a nuclear engineer to say that.
The most common criticism of pebble bed reactors is that encasing the fuel in combustible graphite poses a hazard. When the graphite burns, fuel material could potentially be carried away in smoke from the fire.
So lets See, Windscale and chernobyl were both Graphite reactor fires.
All it takes is a stuck valve, busted pipe, operator error, and that 1600 F carbon bursts into flame.
I can just feel the safety.
The point of water moderated reactors was to eliminate the risks of carbon reactors.
What wasn't easy and safe in the 1960's, is significantly different in 2013.
It's much easier today to use multiple containments at that temp, all of which are Helium flooded. Ceramic coating the pebbles would also seal off the carbon moderator, even with O2 present. With O2 blocked from the carbon moderator, they simply do not burn.
With the entire system at low pressure and no phase transistions available, explosions and fire are simply not an option, as with water moderated systems. AND no active control/cooling system is required, OR wanted.
That completely avoids the Fukushima failure problems and the TMI failure problems
But, that's something you want to completely dismiss, becuase it's not a nuke free zone solution.
And you would prefer to kill babies with fossil fuel polution.
A good engineer looks for ways to solve the problems.
A bad engineer doesn't have those insights, is an obstructionist, and just slows advancement of the art.
"While silicon carbide is strong in abrasion and compression applications, it does not have the same strength against expansion and shear forces. Some fission products such as xenon-133 have a limited absorbance in carbon, and some fuel kernels could accumulate enough gas to rupture the silicon carbide layer. Even a cracked pebble will not burn without oxygen, but the fuel pebble may not be rotated out and inspected for months, leaving a window of vulnerability."
So how many cracked pebbles are allowed in the PBR?
So, when Air gets in there, how many burning pebbles are allowed?
Also given the general pressure on Helium supplies, is there enough helium production?
It doesn't need to be perfect, and still have high levels of safety.
All it needs to do is significantly slow down the rate of combustion, and allow a breached reactor containment to be reflooded with helium, nitrogen, CO2, or anything that isn't O2.
With a four level containment system, that just means flooding the 2nd, 3rd and 4th containments, with something other than O2 ... preferably ALL the time. N2 works, a number of gases work, that are unlikely to become radioactive, and form a practical multilayer protection against O2 reaching the inner reactor vessel.
it is the contention of the author that the Fukushima plants handled a very serious challenge well. John gets apopleptic when I propose that it was bad engineering and unethical engineering to not design for an "Inconceivable" earthquake.
Well Let's look. Fukushima is in Northern Japan, it's on the Tohuko Plain, just a tad north
of a place called Iwate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1896_Meiji-Sanriku_earthquake
in 1896, a mere 7 decades before the Fukushima Reactors were built, the Meiji-Sanriku quake a mere baby at 8.5 released 38 Meter tsunami. For Comparison in 2011, the Tohuko quake releases a 39 Meter tsunami.
The SeaWall at Fukushima was 6 Meters tall.
Japan is the nation with the most recorded tsunamis in the world. The number of tsunamis in Japan totals 195 over a 1,313 year period (thru 1997), averaging one event every 6.73 years, the highest rate of occurrence in the world.
So a phenomena that occurs on average every 6 years and has helped define Japanese culture, and just a little ways down the road, and within the lifetime of nearby residents a 38 meter tsunami rolls in.
But, when I mention it was a breach of ethics, John goes Berserk. Name calling, whinging, really very unbecoming.
I'll ask a very specific question for John
1A) How high should the seawall at Fukushima have been?
1B) How powerful of an earthquake should the site have been hardened for?
Lets see if the Name Calling continues, or if a Engineering based Numerical Answer is given.
as long as we continue to kill and injure millions with fossil fuels, that's a completely moot point.
How many dead and sick from fossil fuels is enough?
Are they NOT dead too?
As we already know, excessive tidal waves of that magnitude are statistically rare.
What's not rare are hundreds dieing or becoming sick, every hour, of every week, of every year that we continue to burn fossil fuels for business, residential, and transportation needs.
How many are acceptable?
How ethically corrupt are your insensitivites and values toward massive losses of life and massive numbers of illnesses each and every day/week/month/year for burning fossil fuels, that better nuke power plant designs would minimize?
There is no good storage solution for Wind and Solar to replace base and peak generation using fossil fuels. Solar and Wind have been suggested as saving the planet for 50 years ... and each year are just as far away, without a good storage solution. Each and every year is the false promise that just a few more years, just a few more years, just a few more million dead or ill because of fossil fuels.
PatB writes - "If we want to go forward, we need to invest a few hundred billion in infrastructure and new energy."
Agreed ... solar and wind have failed for the last 40 years to become viable without storage, dispite huge subsidies, and failed companies being bought up by China.
new energy, is new fail safe reactor designs to replace the horrible mistakes around light water cooled nukes. We can both agree that we should not be building any more 50 year old light water designs.
new energy is designs like Pebble Bed, liquid salt, and lower fuel cost Thorium designs that are cheaper than coal, and cheaply produce H2 fuel gas for transportation ... not 10-30 times more expensive like wind/solar that are highly intermittant and require expensive battery solutions.
Fossil fuels have a limited life span ... some say a few decades ... that's about how long it will take to build up any solution ... at least PBR's can be released to the field for commerical use inside a decade, and we know that we have a solution that can be deployed almost anywhere. Wind/Solar have huge areas they can not be deployed, and even where they can be deployed, they are unreliable, even if the cheap storage problem is solved.
WInd/Solar need coal base line generation ... and that kills people. Oil for transportation kills people.
This is my last post on this blog topics discussion thread, but it's not the end of the discussion, which will be moved to another venue. This is clearly the wrong forum for moving forward technical solutions that advance the state of the art toward the goal of reducing fossil fuel death and illness.
you bitch about me not answering your question, but have for several days avoided answering mine:
you can continue whining, and pressing that issue, but compared to fossil fuel deaths and injuries, it's a a diversion from what is REALLY important and PREVENTABLE.
How many more babies must die to make you happy?
How many more people must get sick to make you happy?
Come on now ... how many more?
PV, CSP, and Wind have been around as long as Nuke Power generation, and have failed to become econmically successful too, because there isn't a good storage solution, and it requires keeping most of the fossil fuel generation around. Still creating polution, CO2 green house gases, and killing people.
So come on now ... how many of these deaths are acceptable to advance your nuke free zone initiative?
So come on now ... how many babies do you believe are acceptable to kill each year to have a nuke free zone?
So come on now ... how many kids do you believe are acceptable to kill each year to have a nuke free zone?
So come on now ... how many adults do you believe are acceptable to kill each year to have a nuke free zone?
So come on now ... how many babies, kids, and adults should be forced to suffer with illnesses to have a nuke free zone?
I don't make the decisions to run large coal plants, these are made at the PUC and the
C Suites at Dominion, Entergy, Southern, etc. The part of the world I'm responsible for,
I am responsible for. As a result, I've painted the roof on my house, solar white, so it's rejecting heat gain and we will hopefully before the end of may paint the south wall creamy white, with some trim. That will hopefully, allow us to use a lot less A/C.
I've got a 22K BTU Thermal panel, that we are in the process of installing, which should cut down our Nat Gas consumption by 85%, and, we have a low tech clothes line, that has allowed us to only take clothes to the laundromat twice last year.
Now I could cut a lease deal with Solar City and put PV on the roof today, but, i'd rather
buy my own system, so i'm scratching together the funds to put up a Solar PV system.
My game plan is by the end of the year to be down carbon 90%.
Now, the thing I really want to do is trade the Insight for a Volt, but, I really want to see if the 2014 model comes with a plugs out inverter,
I've had an All electric household since 1972, with gas heat backup for a few years of that. With Diablo, and hydro that was easy in Calif. My San Luis Obispo apartment was down stairs, north side, no A/C, and all electric from 1975 to 1981. My Cupertino home was also all electric, no A/C, but did have gas backup for house heat, and pool heat besides solar. My San Luis Obispo home was all electric, no A/C, no gas, with pine trees shading the house from the south and west, from 1984 to 1994. My Colorado home for the last 20 years is also all electric, heat pump with A/C, and had gas for a few years as a backup. I had them pull the meter because it was used only a few hours a year, and the minimum charge made the per hour costs horribly expensive. Resistive heat in the heat pump has been a lot cheaper, for the few hours that it's really needed. I'm not crazy that Rawhide is coal/gas, with some hydro and wind, but it is what it is. A lot cleaner than burning wood, like too many do around me.
Have a strong preference for diesel's in my cars/trucks, with significantly better fuel economy. The TDI beetle at 46-48mpg is awesome, except my ex-wife has that now. Been looking for another one for me ... maybe one of the new ones next year, or the new Chevy Cruze diesel. I tend to keep cars and trucks to 500,000 miles or more, with good maintenence and rebuilds. Significantly lowers total cost of ownership, and cuts back on carbon footprint.
Most of my customers and clients are mountain folks, so all electric car/truck has marginal value here, except for a trip or two each week doing errands in town. Diesel hybrid would be nice.
I'm trying to get an HPV-EV product off the ground that will make a difference in many markets.
But the question remains ... how many people is it acceptable to kill and make sick, for the nuke free zone initiative?
PatB writes "I don't make the decisions to run large coal plants,"
Nor do I. But you do actively and loadly present a voice for the nuke free zone idealogy, which leaves no other viable choice, except fossil fuels.
That choice is made with complete indifference to the cost in lives and quality of life for about 1B people over the last 50 years. As you so freely blame others with that "is just incompetence" and "is criminal negligence", so too is preventing a valid nuke power option with significantly lower loss in life, if nothing else, as a short term solution until the storage problem for wind and solar can be solved. I have no problem using a rail gun to boost every nuke into the sun, but only after a better solution exists.
That is your idealogy's decision ... that it's better to have a nuke free zone dispite the costs to roughly 1B people, and several times more loved ones over the last 50 years.
And your idealogy has failed in the last 50 years to find and support a complete viable solution that will replace fossil fuel use in even the next 30 years. And your idealogy's hypocracy is that more innocent people must die or become ill ... for a nuke free zone. Roughly 6 orders of magnitude more than nuke power has caused in the last 50 years. Roughly 6 orders of magnitude ... more people dead or ill from fossil fuels. 1B and climbing.
How many is enough?
You can not actively provide a voice for that failed idealogy, without also accepting part of the blame for the babies, children, and adults that die each and every day that a non-fossil fuel solution is not available.
How many is enough?
How long must the nuke free zone idealogy completely lack the compasion for a 1B people mistake that it committed?
How many more must suffer for that mistake?
It's time to get behine PBR's and plug in electric hybrids, and work toward a better solution that will allow using a rail gun to boost all the nukes into the sun.
it's past time to continue this suffering from fossil fuels.
How many more must suffer for the nuke free zones idealogy's mistake?
How many more?
That "is just incompetence" and That "is criminal negligence"
" But you do actively and loadly present a voice for the nuke free zone idealogy, which leaves no other viable choice, except fossil fuels."
You appear to have trouble with something called "Current Reality". The reality is the capital costs of nuclear power plants makes them so frightening that without enormoustaxpayer subsidies, they wouldn't ever get built.
The Green Eye Shade Types killed Nuclear Power plant construction a long time ago.
"One of the largest subsidies is the cap on liabilities for nuclear accidents which the nuclear power industry has negotiated with governments. "Like car drivers, the operators of nuclear plants should be properly insured," said Gerry Wolff, coordinator of the Energy Fair group. The group calculates that, "if nuclear operators were fully insured against the cost of nuclear disasters like those at Chernobyl and Fukushima, the price of nuclear electricity would rise by at least €0.14 per kWh and perhaps as much as €2.36, depending on assumptions made"
The Plants had key critical failures of design, would those if improved help?
1) Tsunami protection was only to 22 feet, it was necessary to protect the primary plant to 40 Meters because the tsunami wave was added to local high tide and wave height.
2) Internal critical plumbing needed to be protected against Ground motion consistent with a 9.2 quake. Failure of plumbing on the primary coolant loop limited effectiveness of the backup coolant condensers, both the RCIC and IC devices.
3) Insufficient emergency batteries. UPS battery packs were sized for 8 hours running the computers and sensors, not valves, secondary cooling pumps, water polishers, etc. Without battery plant sufficient to keep the Iso Condensers or RCICs running efficiently, they were useless.
4) Insufficient UPS and no cross strapping between the 750 V DC and 440V AC busses in the reactors. Every reactor should have been able to cross-feed between any UPS Genny and any system. Fuku5 and 6 were able to crossfeed, so one surviving Genny fed the 2 units allowing some critical cooling to be maintained.
5) Insufficient on site water: Onsite water was sized for 24 hours with no leaks and they had enough water for 8 hours with leaks. 72 hours of water would have allowed them more time to manage the crisis, before desperately pumping seawater into the units.
6) storage of used fuel rods inside the reactor buildings. Storage of used fuel rods meant there was another critical element to manage. had these been offloaded, there would be one less item to worry about, and the SFP water would be available for emergency cooling.
7) lack of on-site emergency gear: Bulldozers, fire trucks, Portable generators meant they had to go begging to Tokyo FD, Japan SDF, US Navy, for getting their roads open and supplies streaming in.
8) lack of off board plug ins for emergency power. Every reactor needed stock attachment points where portable generators could come in and reboot reactor power systems.
9) lack of emergency suits, masks, rad shielded clothing. Most units had supplies for 8 men, when they needed to be able to send hundreds in right away.
10) shortage of chem lights, flashlights, portajohns, stored food, sleeping bags, cots, stored potable water. They got emergency crews up and they had no place for them to rest, eat, sleep, defecate...
11) Lack of emergency plumbing: The tsunami trashed all the secondary cooling supply feeds, they needed to be able to set up seawater feeds into emergency coolant heat exchangers so they could keep coolant up instead of feeding water open loop and spilling radiated water into the basements.
now that's probably a billion dollars in gear and planning but, that's the price you pay. the US Navy has far fewer accidents because they have no requirement to be profitable. It's a lot harder to be safe when the Board of Directors is screaming for profits.
Now as for modern plants, i will note the Westinghouse APS2000 was licensed by NRC with NO design changes based upon lessons learned from Fukushima. If that isn't madness, I don't know what is.
Nice list of the shortcomings, Patb2009. A lot of the regulatory control over the energy industry has been gutted during the last few decades. So I'm not surprised a post-Fukushima operation could get the OK without new retraints
Westinghouse does not make an APS2000. You probably mean the AP1000.
Design approval does not mean that the plant is immune to mandated changes for new safety requirements as time goes on.
Some of the problems that were identified in the Fukashima installation were addressed in the US after the 911 attacks. Some if the issues that make the Japanese plants vulnerable to tsunami were also things that were identified as making plant more vulnerable to terrorist attack. Also the cooling system of the AP1000 is much improved over the 40 year old plants in Japan so some of those issues had already been address as well.
Regarding the points made in the article and comments, saying that it "passed the ultimate test" is a great example of academic MINBY-ism. It minimizes the trauma and loss of mass relocations and the heavy price that the public will have to pay for the perpetual cleanup in a country that can't afford to lose any of it's land, etc.
It doesn't matter what technology you use in a high-cost, high-risk systems. In the end the risk comes from corrupt owners, builders, contractors and regulators.
Diablo Canyon is on the coast, on a fault, and not built to withstand the risks it faces.
World wide civilan deaths from automobiles are typically 1.25M each year. Add to that the several million more expected deaths for emmissions, both during operation, and the full life cycle of source materials and fuels, and it's even a higher staggering number. Add this up for the last 60 years, and we are talking about a half a billion deaths.
World wide civilan deaths from the Nuke industry over the last 60 years (ignoring WWII), are a few tens of thousands including those expected to die in the next 50 years from the two major accidents. In comparison ... an absolutely insignificant number, 0.01% of automotive deaths.
If the point, is to save people ... concentrate on automotive safety, world wide.
The entire screaming match about how unsafe these plants are, is simply making a huge mountain, out of a grain of sand in comparison.
The anit-nuke folks need to have their screaming rights revoked, and told to go make a real difference int he world. It's simply time to stop all this senseless fear mongering by the anti-nuke folks.
We need RESPONSIBLE oversight of both industries, not the same "enviornmentalists" that want to kill both industries.
Again ... if you want to save millions of people ... fix safety problems in cars and trucks. The Nuke industry has an excellent safety record in comparison.
These hypocrites crying wolf, really need to be told to concentrate on other things that will make a real difference. I'm done with their fear mongering. Done with their FUD. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt
I'm an old fashioned, 1970's engineer ... we worry about real problems, including doing a good job at anticipating real problems, and making sure they have minimal impacts. As the paper states, after all the anti-nuke fear mongering, the actual numbers are not that bad. Some engineers did their jobs very well. I'm certain future nuke related engineers will do better, in all their fields.
You are absolutely right. The Chernobyl and Fukushima plants both performed so well and the problems were so insignificant that both incidents bear repeating. So, I'm sure they will be repeated. Personally, I like glowing in the dark. It makes jogging at night safer. I gave up eating tuna years ago, so no problem there either.
While I do like their website's icon, that article states information that is questionable or wrong, like "Cars are dangerous, but not only because they're made of several tons of glass and steel, and move at high speeds through densely populated areas..." I don't know of any cars built in the past 40 years that weigh several tons. Also, the emissions study focuses on countries where there has been a recent boom of automobile sales, specifically India and China where there are no current emissions requirements. Those numbers do not apply to the rest of the developed world. You are taking data out of context and using it to trivialize catastrophes that will have real long-term health and environmental impacts that the local goverments and nuclear power industry would rather not be made public. Are you really sold on the propaganda or is it just easier for you to sleep at night if you tell yourself that nobody is getting hurt by nuclear power?
NiteOwl .... I strongly believe that everyone should live a full and productive life, without concerns about degraded health from accidents and environmentals.
At the same time, ONLY a few thousand folks have been impacted by nukes, while statistics show 1.25M per year are killed world wide by automotive accidents, and several times that seriously injured and maimed.
If you want to include the few tens of thousands more that are victims of radiation health risks, then you also need to accept the few million more each year that are victims of enviornmental risks caused by automotive byproducts as well.
Are you blindly immune to the death and suffering of roughly 10M people per year, while grossly preoccupied with the plight of a few thousand simply because of a subculture popular politically motivated hate for nukes?
EVERY fuel and renewable energy source is under attack in America by so called environmentalists. EVERY fuel. EVERY renewable energy source. That includes clean renewable energy, especially hydro power because more would require more dams, and down stream issues. Wind farms meet strong local resistance from sight pollution, and noise polution. Both solar and wind require energy storage, of which reverse flow hydro is the most practical ... but just try and build another dam to store that energy. It simply can not be stored by very dirty toxic battery technologies.
It comes down to trade-offs ... difficult trade-offs ... if we are going to abandon fosil fuels, then we need nukes. There is no practical way to store solar and wind, in ways that service civilan energy needs for business, residential and transportation. Nukes plus electric cars/trucks go a long way to reaching the stated goals of reducing carbon emmissions and fosil fuel dependence. Not solar, Not wind ... they help, but without signficant access to hydro storage, they are simply political candy for environmentalists.
A good name choice, BTW. My concern is not with attacks on energy sources or with over-hyped environmentalist propaganda, including the BS you are spouting. My concern is with government and industry downplaying and outright covering up of major catastrophes. These lead to over-confidence, ignorance and repeated mishaps. The federal government didn't suddenly abandon plans to store nuclear waste in the Yucca Mountain facility and require that nuclear waste be stored on-site because of political issues or environmental propaganda. The president at the time ordered a halt to the transport of high-level radioactive waste by truck and rail. Why? Did you hear about any incidents in the news regarding radioactive waste? I never have. How many train derailments and traffic accidents involving heavy trucks happen every year? What are the odds that some of them were carrying radioactive highlevel waste? It only takes a few... If you wear your blinders and buy into the pro-nuke hype then you can believe that Nuclear power generation itself is relatively safe and fairly "green", but waste management is another story.
I can't ignore the incidents that happen regularly at the TMI facility. We've been lucky so far. The fail-safes have kicked-in and shut down the reactors each time and if you believe the propaganda, the radiation leaks, coolant spills and plumes of radioactive steam have released less radiation than is given off by a bannana. That particular bannana must be made of plutonium. They would have us believe that radioactive core water is totally safe. In fact it turns out that super-heated core water makes a great cup of tea. It's also fantastic for steamcleaning automobile upholstery. Maybe they should market the stuff.
Clean Nuke electric power can prevent other fossil fuel byproduct deaths and injury, that harms thousands each year -- more deaths an injury in a year, than over the last 50 years of civilan Nuke power accidents.
Of course, these are to be ignored by the anti-nuke propagandists, that are supporting a hidden agenda of genecide too.
Quoted from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide_poisoning:
The true number of incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning is unknown, since many non-lethal exposures go undetected. From the available data, carbon monoxide poisoning is the most common cause of injury and death due to poisoning worldwide. Poisoning is typically more common during the winter months. This is due to increased domestic use of gas furnaces, gas or kerosene space heaters, and kitchen stoves during the winter months, which if faulty and/or used without adequate ventilation, may produce excessive carbon monoxide. Carbon Monoxide detection and poisoning also increases during power outages.
It has been estimated that more than 40,000 people per year seek medical attention for carbon monoxide poisoning in the United States. In many industrialized countries carbon monoxide is the cause of more than 50% of fatal poisonings. In the United States, approximately 200 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning associated with home fuel-burning heating equipment. Carbon monoxide poisoning contributes to the approximately 5613 smoke inhalation deaths each year in the United States. The CDC reports, "Each year, more than 500 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, and more than 2,000 commit suicide by intentionally poisoning themselves." For the 10-year period from 1979 to 1988, 56,133 deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning occurred in the United States, with 25,889 of those being suicides, leaving 30,244 unintentional deaths. A report from New Zealand showed that 206 people died from carbon monoxide poisoning in the years of 2001 and 2002. In total carbon monoxide poisoning was responsible for 43.9% of deaths by poisoning in that country. In South Korea, 1,950 people had been poisoned by carbon monoxide with 254 deaths from 2001 through 2003. A report from Jerusalem showed 3.53 per 100,000 people were poisoned annually from 2001 through 2006. in Hubei, China, 218 deaths from poisoning were reported over a 10 year period with 16.5% being from carbon monoxide exposure.
Totally_Lost, I agree there is a discrepancy between the number of deaths we're willing to accept with traditional fuels and those we're willing to accept with nuke power. Thirty thousand auto deaths each year just doesn't make headlines.
Rob ... It just helps to take their irrational voices away, by taking their arguements about deaths and injury and putting it into perspective for the alternatives they are forcing, which exceed 1B deaths and environmental injuries from fossil fuels over the same time period. About 6 orders of magnitude worse.
They seldom do the math, and when they do they always short the solution by at a factor of 2-3 to hide costs which are 6-30 times higher, assuming that "conservation" (IE rolling blackouts) will make up the short fall.
I beg you pardon, Rob, but I disagree with your impression that Nuclear is "safe", as the apparent impressions of others fail to gather the whole picture. I would respectfully suggest you to read detailed books about the enormous consequences of the few nuclear accidents that were critically and properly reviewed. One of them is: "Chernobyl - Consequences of the Catastrophe for people and the environment by Yablokov, Nesterenko and Nesterenko; published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol 1181. (it is only 326 pages long...BTW).
One of the better citations in that book, is that of deceased president John F. Kennedy:
". . . The number of children and grandchildren
with cancer in their bones, with leukemia in their
blood, or with poison in their lungs might seem
statistically small to some, in comparison with natural
health hazards, but this is not a natural health
hazard—and it is not a statistical issue. The loss of
even one human life or the malformation of even
one baby—who may be born long after we are
gone—should be of concern to us all. Our children
and grandchildren are not merely statistics toward
which we can be indifferent. "
[U.S. President John F. Kennedy speaking about the necessity to stop atmospheric nuclear tests said in June 1963]
One of the better citations in that book, is that of deceased president John F. Kennedy:
". . . The number of children and grandchildren
with cancer in their bones, with leukemia in their
blood, or with poison in their lungs might seem
statistically small to some, in comparison with natural
health hazards, but this is not a natural health
hazard—and it is not a statistical issue. The loss of
even one human life or the malformation of even
one baby—who may be born long after we are
gone—should be of concern to us all. Our children
and grandchildren are not merely statistics toward
which we can be indifferent. "
[U.S. President John F. Kennedy speaking about the necessity to stop atmospheric nuclear tests said in June 1963]
Too bad he was assasinated.
So I have to ask, why is it acceptable to poison, injure, and kill millions with fossil fuels, to save a few in relatively rare Nuke accidents, that with time and energy we can fix the flaws and retrofit poor designs to make safer than killing and posioning millions every year with fossi fuels.
Are not the baby's sick and dieing from polutions just as important? are not the kids dieing and sick from polution just as important? are not the adults sick and dieing from polution just as important?
We have a choice ... protect the many ...to protect everyone by working hard to make nuke power plants clean and safe.
This living in fear of an accident, while accepting millions dieing from fossil fuels is just plan WRONG. WRONG WRONG WRONG.
We can build safe nuke plants ... and stop fossil fuels from killing the many with cancers and poisons.
Why is radiation cancers so much feared ... while you accept millions of chemical cancers?
"The only real failure in life is the failure to try."
Meanwhile, millions more die from the lack of courage to try. And tell that to your child, or grand child, as they are sick. Tell that to your wife, or daughter, or son, as they deal with the agony of a childs death .... tell them "I was too afraid to try".
We already have 15,000 safe reactor years .... and a list of things to do better.
"We already have 15,000 safe reactor years .... and a list of things to do better."
This is what's such dangerous thinking.
Wow, 15,000, that seems awesome...
So how do you count chernobyl in there? is that 25 milliseconds? Is that 25 years?
How about TMI? is that 8 hours or 36 years?
What about Fukushima, is that 45 minutes or 8 reactor years?
One could just as easily state " We've had 3 major nuclear power accidents and
15,000 unsafe reactor years" In that time period, if you made the same mistake,
you'd have the same result.
In any of those RBMK racs, if you ran outside of spec, it' would explode in a heartbeat.
in Any of the B&W PWR racs if you didn't notice a stuck block drain valve, you'd be in a storm in a hurry.
In any of the Racs, if you had a Richter 9 quake, you could be screwed.
we've had 3 richter 9 quakes in the last century, they aren't that uncommon.
Rare events oftentimes mislead the simple mind, you need to look at them, and then decide what they can do to you. THey are also very difficult to fix, unless they are a license condition. if it requres spending a lot of money, the current managers won't blow their bonus if they can kick the can down the road.
So, Fukushima, is that 45 minutes unsafe or 8 reactor years unsafe?
The core damage frequency projections are in failures per so-many reactor-years of operation. The European Commission study projected 5x10^-5 or about one failure per 20,000 reaactor-years, worldwide. The US value by the Electric Power Research Institute is about 1 in 50,000 reactor-years.
There are around 500 operating reactors. With the above figures the rate of core failure should be about 1 in 40 to 1 in 100 years.
Statistically we are at the point of 14,500 to 15,000 reactor years worldwide. In reality, there have been 11 serious core damage incidents (including the 3 at Fukushima). That gives an actual core damage rate of one per 1300 operating years.
Continuing at that actual rate with 500 reactors, we can expect a major incident every 3 years!
So my point is that they've done all these studies that say how safe and reliable it is, but in reality the numbers they projected are more than ten-fifteen times too optimistic when compared to the actual core failure rate.
Ichien52 - "Statistically we are at the point of 14,500 to 15,000 reactor years worldwide. In reality, there have been 11 serious core damage incidents (including the 3 at Fukushima). That gives an actual core damage rate of one per 1300 operating years."
As with most events, there are multiple concurrent failure statistics, each of which is completely independent. The probability for the earthquake/tidal wave causing severe facility damage affecting multiple reactors, is completely independent of the probably of a singular core accident for other reasons.
There is a strict way in the mathmatics of statistics to combine events, where there is a reason to combine them. Inland reactors, simply do not have a probability of tidewaves, so they are not equal with sites that are at risk. Every site has a long list of independent failure probabilities, that need to be combined for the probability of a failure at that specific site. Combining the probabilities for all sites world wide, is rather tricky, and will not yield the number presented above.
For those without a formal statistics background ... it's easy to lie with what appear to be convincing numbers. As they say, figures don't lie, but those that lie sure can figure.
Most of the meltdowns occured at facilities that didn't have the same degree of multiple layers of safety that modern western reactors have. At TMI two layers of defense failed from multiple human errors, but two others contained that failure. So while there was a meltdown, two of the four layers of defense worked as designed, and it was not worse. That was a successful failure. The Chernobyl reactor didn't have the extra layers of containment that western designs require, so the failure was not contained. Because every site is different, it's simply not valid to treat a bare research reactor failure the same as a modern western reactor that is simply designed to remain safe in a failure ... actually with multiple failures.
It's actually expected that a contained meltdown will happen every 20 years or so. It's also expected that an uncontained meltdown of a modern western reactor will simply not happen without some very extra ordinary event to drive it. The half truths to tell the lie that Chernobyl and Fukushima will happen every 3 years, is simply a big lie, hiding behind a half truth.
So in a nut shell, the statistics you cite, do not yeild a 1 in 3 year failure rate like Chernobyl or Fukushima. Anyone with a formal background in statistics, making that assertion, is purposefully telling a lie. Anyone without a formal background attempting to support the anti-nuke propaganda based on that as a proof, is what we call a clueless idiot, that probably has already been told that the statisical "proof" is invalid, and chooses to continue with the lies to support the cause.
Unfortunately the anti-nuke propaganda is based on FUD, that hopes that they can stop nuke power with fear.
That is precisely my point: you seem to believe that a failure proof nuclear plant is absolutely achievable. That is the excessively faith-based belief that keeps producing failure-prone designs, and I'm not refering only to nuclear plants, as it applies universally to all fields of engineering. In other comments I have tried to project the concept that EVERY little component of a plant IS prone to fail some time after the plant starts. That is the REAL experience. Anything else is just trying to bet on design, a "I don't expect it to fail" attitude. That's why I keep studying and studying accidents with a critical eye on design aspects (as a design engineer, I prefer to concentrate on design, but also on those design aspects that can and are frequently affected by human behaviour too, but engineering errors is my prime object of continuos study. And that is precísely why I am not as naive as I was when I was a younger engineer!
Naivety related accidents that come to mind: "we have experienced foam impacts before and those are of no consequence" (on foam insulation breaching holes in the leading edge of the Space Shuttle)... "We've executed launches in similar temperatures without problems..." (on the first Shuttle disaster)... "The waterproof bulkheads make this ship unsinkable" (on the design of the partial bulkheads of the Titanic)... and so on.
Now, ASSUMING that automatically (somehow) criticizing Nuclear electric power generation will kill MILLIONS, will not (automatically) produce "safe" nuckear plants. As as I've said before: assumptions like "we can build safe nuke plants" is only going to result in deceiving ourselves, as that kind of attitudes are the ones that conduce engineers, designers and operators to acquire overconfidence, and self-complacency or overconfidence only augment the chances of producing defective designs. It is the same panorama over and over, but NO engineer is flawless and pretending a failure proof design is what is wrong. I will recommend you to read some books on the effects of overconfidence in engineering disasters:
Engineering Disasters:Lessons to Be Learned, Don S. Lawson.
From the Titanic to the Challenger: An annotated bibliography on technological failures of the 20th century, Susan Davis Herring.
When Technology fails: Significant technological disasters, accidents, and failures, Neil Schlager.
Those make some food for the though. Nuclear Engineering is not any more difficult than other industries engineering, only consequences are orders of magnitude larger. And many of the registered failures were because simple, commonly used devices failed, and NO amount of certifying paperwork did a difference.
I share your admiration for Kennedy, Amclaussen. I don't believe nuclear is safe, it just looks like the alternatives are more dangerous. As for Chernobyl, it had notoriously poor safeguards, an unfortunate result of a political power structure that didn't have to answer to its citizens.
This is very good news, especially for someone like me who has lived in Japan. It reminds me of a comment I think Jack Ganssle made after 9/11, when the architect of WTC had been shown in interviews as pretty distraught over all the lives lost in the twin towers. Jack, OTOH, pointed out that the buildings actually passed their final test well too: many people below the floors where the airliners hit had time to get out before the towers collapsed. Considering they too were only designed to withstand a smaller accident (I think someone said the biggest plane they considered was a 707), IMHO I think the towers did better than the architect thought they would.
the WTC was designed to take the hit from a 737 lost on approach to LaGuardia, not a 757 fully fueled.
Now should the WTC been designed to take the punch from a 747 and not immediately collapse? I'm not sure. It was awful that the core stairs and sprinklers didn't function long enough to get most people out.
I would hope the new WTC going up is designed to take a hit from a 747 and give people time to escape.
I look at what happened in Japan, and the outcome is socially unacceptable. I do know no new nuclear reactors are being designed to withstand this kind of disaster or others. The industry is not adjusting to the lessons learned
There is a saying in aviation: A new design of an aircraft will not be issued until the weight of the paperwork in the application exceeds the weight of the aircraft. I believe nuclear power plants are the same way.
As an aside: please get your facts right. At the time the WTC was designed, the 707 was the state of the art. There was no 737.
But that's not the point of discussion here.
The failure at the Fukushima Daichi was not really a failure of nuclear power as much as it was a failure of civil engineering to protect the plant. The design parameters were simply too lenient.
There are new plant designs that are more fail-safe. The new AP 1000 design has finally been approved by the NRC. China is building on these designs now.
Regarding the learning experiences, allow me to point out that when the review process is as long and bureaucratic as anything in Nuclear is, the opportunity to "learn" anything is diminished. We have used bureaucracy to bollix up nuclear engineering to the point where we have little hope of being permitted to improve upon existing designs. Furthermore, if you chose to build something that might be revolutionary, such as a thorium fuel based reactor, you might as well give up right now.
The answer will almost always be NO, even if it is a vast improvement over what we are doing now. Since the days of TMI, we have staffed the industry with drones who would be lost without their paperwork.
Oddly enough, if we want a safer industry, we need to allow for innovation, and that means we need to make it less bureaucratic. There is an extreme at both ends of the spectrum. We went from an anything goes environment of the 1960s to an uber bureaucratic insanity by the 1990s. While I'm not in favor of removing all bureaucratic review, we need to allow for some lighter weight review cycles if we have any hope of updating anything.
Would you rather have the devil you think you know now? Or would you rather take a chance on actual improvements?
No new project is ever without startup problems. There will be problems here too. However, many nuclear power plants are nearing the end of their functional design lifetimes and more than a few have been extended past that. Something has got to give.
Would you rather spew more coal pollution in to the water and atmosphere? Would you rather go fracking for natural gas?
There are tradeoffs and it has to be said that we need a diversity of energy sources. The Not-this, Nor-that, and No-Way are we doing those things attitude of the so-called environmentalist movement is a non-starter. We have some tough choices to make and nuclear energy can not be left off the table. Let's make the best of it.
I agree that there needs to be a mix of energy technologies, but the USA seems to be stuck in the mode of thinking in terms of "what's the winning technology". This mentality, along with big-money pushing only for centralized, easily monopolized power sources, creates the kind of heavily biased garbage studies that shape energy policy.
I agree, big money concentratd in certain interests tends to warp policies toward their side.
I'm a big fan of decentralized production so that no one place can bring down the grid. But that said, there will always be a certain amount of base load to be kept up. Large Nuclear power plants can be a good clean source to meet that base load.
One of the worst consequences of accidents, is that some people never seem to learn from them. All designs have flaws, ALL. Some flaws are of little consequences, some are disasters waiting to happen. On Fukushima, designers in charge of the Lay-Out of the plant should be in jail! locating the emergency Diesel generators in the floodable basement, just because it was "convenient" was plainly dumb and is inexcusable.
Every time an installation (nuclear or not) goes into the News, we can find something that was not OK within the design. You can pick any (the use of cementitious type of fireproofing coating on beams on the WTC, that is easily dislodged by an impact is one of many, the lack of means to assure generator engines from ingesting air ladden with natural gas and destroying themselves in the first large explosion (which sealed the fate of the platform) OR the failure to completely overcome the strenght of the drill pipe by the Ram type "Blow-Out Preventers" which were designed for weaker steel pipes and not redesigned for present day pipe strenghts in the Deepwater-Horizon disaster are just a couple of examples that show that WE, human designers are creatures prone to fail (as designers) and, on top of that, some irrational ones pretend our technology "is absolutely foolproof" (!).
If we pretend to be good engineering professionals, we must start developing some humility, and recognize we are far from being perfect "Kings of the creation". An overly confident designer is the one most prone to seed a failure.
@Charles, thanks for the post. Luckily not much damage was done because of Fukushima Nuclear disaster. But I am curious to know if this recent study will be used by the Nuclear supporters as an argument to build more Nuclear power stations. For example this argument will help Indian government to start Kudankulam nuclear power plant which was halted after locals protested against building of Nuclear power plant.
Thankfully, no one died as a result of radiation poisoning, but, as the article notes, thousands of people lost their homes and livelihoods. And, as the article also notes, it will be many years before we can assess the full impact of this disaster. If that's considered a "pass," it's only because the effects of a "fail" would have been so much worse.
Dave, good point! Wow, I wonder what a fail would look like to researchers?
I am not a green environmentalist by any stretch, but this accident should make everyone worldwide evaluate their nuclear installations, present and future. Saying it is a rare occurance does not seem like a good excuse to wave the hand of statistics over an installation and pronounce it 'safe'. Can we account for every risk, probably not. But we should be learning from demonstrated failures (or in this case passing a test?) such as Fukushima!
The assumption that the plant "passed ultimate test" blew my mind. It was only shear luck that more devastaion did not happen. The fact that it did not blow up the world means it passed the ultimate test?
Let me see, lets put a nuclear power plant on a shoreline, in maybe the most active earthquake region in the world, and put the backup power in harms way. How could a designer, and the regulation agency in charge of protecting the populace, do that??
I suppose that if you say something often enough, people will belive it. "Passed"??? Obviously NOT. The original author expects people to follow stupid logic like sheep.
Yes, there were no direct casualties from this event, but to say the plant "passed the ultimate test" is an extreme exaggeration. This was a disaster, plain and simple. I have a cynical bent due to growing up in the 3MI / Love Canal era that doesn't let me trust "them" and their ability to truly understand (or even measure) the scope of the biological consequences. The fact it doesn't look like Hiroshima or Nagasaki, and that there is no visible crater, doesn't mean it "passed" anything. There continues to exist an exclusion zone for a reason.
Here in the states, New Orleans was an example of "passing the test" for many years (they were pretty lucky for longer than they should've been for planting a city in a bowl that was below sea level, next to the sea). The fail was local government not taking the threat seriously and evacuating their people when they could (like they were supposed to).
The fact that the Japanese were able to evacuate people from the disaster area as well and as quickly as they did (even during and immediately after multiple causative events), is what "passed" the test.
Fukushima will be remembered as a monumental Engineering and management fail. Rather than glossing it over or doing the opposite and over-reacting, hopefully we can learn the lessons and prevent future catastrophes.
I've beeen reading the posts on this subject and I am curious. It has been said that exposure to the public was low and exposure to the workers was low. Are you saying that the pictures of workers with burns and loss hair is a fabrication?
I am an avowed proponent of nuclear power, just not the type that the US government has instituted. I do not consider the Fukushima power plant a measure of success.
Ask yourself what would the present conditions be like if this been a coal fired plant instead of a nuclear power plant? The affected zone would have been confined to the facility and we would not be arguing about measures of success, for two things.
There are some amazing oversights in the implementation of this power plant that were apparent long before this earthquake. That they were not addressed is a condemnation of the culture, both there and abroad. I know we can do better so I am not ready to condemn nuclear power because of the failure at Fukishima.
To argue that we can use wind and solar power as a substitute for nuclear. coal or natural gas power plants does not even merit a response.
Given what we know already, we have the ability to do nuclear power safely. That we haven't yet is an example of the same failure mode in culture that is clearly demonstrated by the Fukushima power plant and US government mandates.
Chuck, as your article points out, the number of illnesses and deaths from a really bad nuclear power plant accident are very low. Even those out year predictions are just that, predictions. Here in Chicago, there is a coal fired plant that opponents claim cause many more illnesses that claimed for Fukushima.
With the desire to reduce carbon emissions and provide abundant power clashing, it is a real shame that more people don't look at the actual numbers.
What about the 980,000+ deaths attributed to the Chernobyl catastrophe?
Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment
Written by Alexey V. Yablokov (Center for Russian Environmental Policy, Moscow, Russia), Vassily B. Nesterenko, and Alexey V. Nesterenko (Institute of Radiation Safety, Minsk, Belarus). Consulting Editor Janette D. Sherman-Nevinger (Environmental Institute, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan). Volume 1181, December 2009 335 Pages
You apparently believe that all scientists who report or confirm the 4000 number are members of WHO. Not so. There is an interesting survey article on Wikipedia about your source Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment. It is worth a read.
The critical reviews quoted in that Wikipedia article were written by armchair experts. One implies the studies didn't go far enough and that the death toll may actually be higher. Another criticizes the translated (Russian to English) version for not adhering to western-style publications, which it is not. It also criticizes the publication for being too difficult for the critic to peer-review the supporting documents. Basically, the critic trashed the book because he was unwilling to put forth the effort to actually perform a thorough peer-review. Those critical reviews have little or no value.
I have read that excellent book, only that my edition has 326 pages! I doubt how many fervent proponents of Nuclear "clean" energy have ACTUALLY read as many pages on any nuclear accident, the consequences and the false sense of safety that is rampant on that industry!. Amclaussen.
Given the catastrophic events that let to the issue at Fukishima, and comparing it with the Chernobyl incident it seems that this plant did indeed contain a vast amount of radaition when put under unbelievable stress. However what this shows is opportunities for future plants that can survive something in this magnitude or greater thru automation, perhaps shutdown protocol could have averted even this paltry exposure???
How much worse could it have been given a magnitude 9 megathrust quake followed by a tsunami?
It should be said that the building itself should not be standing, and the 3 reactors online should have all melted down regardless. If seawater was applied sooner, (reactors be damned) then they would not have melted down at all.
The major error was having generators at or below ground level, which allowed the flooding to cause the failsafe to in essence fail.
These are lessons, and as history is written this can be used to make sites such as this impervious to disasters the likes of which have not been seen on our shores ever (in recorded history 1906 was only 7.8).
Even when operators response was not optimum, that was not as simple. It is not just "applying seawater sooner". The design of the units was flawed in several respects. Bad operational practices aside. And your assumption that someone could "make sites such as this IMPERVIOUS to disasters... is plainly naive. Would engineers/designers be capable of such a feat, we would not be experiencing many of the so called "accidents", where engineering oversights, shortcommings or whatever you like to call them are the rule. Let´s take a very recent example of naive-engineering prctice: The Li-Ion batteries on the Dreamliner... just change a little the panorama, as an exercise: instead of burning on the airport platform, the batteries decide to play thier act at the middle of an ocean crossing flight. Can you see HOW that incorrect attitude of thinking "we are expert designers" lead to?
So we hear that the nuclear power plant did not spill any radioactivity during the massive failure. But there was still that huge design flaw, the inability to maintain cooling long enough to do an orderly shutdown. That does not fit the description of a "minor design flaw". but more like "A screaming design failure", and it should not be ignored. A large tsunami and an earthquake may be classed as unusual things that may reasonably have been overlooked, but a failure of the external power source is something that should have been anticipated as happening on a regular basis. Power supply failures happen all the time, and so the plant should have been designed to survive that problem. All that would have been required would be to build the plant at a lower level so that gravity-fed seawater could have been used for cooling in an emergency. The ocean does not often fail to be an adequate source of seawater, and so that secondary backup choice would have prevented the meltdown, and the recovery would have been much simpler and a lot faster.
I do give the design of the containment system a lot of credit, but that was only half of what was needed.
And allow me to doubt that: the external buildings were demolished (almost) by Hydrogen explosions, AND released radioactive material...
And cooling (by corrosive seawater or any other kind of water) produces another problem: where is going to go that water after becoming contaminated? a practical nuclear engineer would route it ti the sea...
PatB - The success is that evolving work that had been done since previous failures, did a fair to good job of preventing an even worse failure. The success is that we have solid data to retrofit existing plants to avoid the same types of failures. The success is that we have solid data to improve the designs of new plants to avoid these failures in the future. The success is because of, and dispite the significant costs of these failures, we can move forward with better solutions that make the technology safer in the future.
The success is that we have hard economic data for potential losses, to renegotiate capital investment limitiations by Public Utilities Commissions held low by consumer demand for low cost electric power. Dispite the cries on all sides, we do learn from the mistakes, both big and small, and move forward with better designs and solutions, for clean cheap electric power from Nukes.
The success is that over 60 years, and many Nuke power plants world wide, there have been only a few serious failures. The success is that both because of, and dispite the failures, engineers are allowed to keep making it better every day, every year.
The success is that both because of, and dispite anti-nuke protests, this industry continues to advance in safety and production, giving clean electric power without high carbon emmissions from natural gas and coal.
You state that wind and solar just need storage ... toxic batteries? more hydro dams? both are on the environmentalist kill lists.
Success is always available when you have the opportunity to learn from others mistakes.
Your idea of success worries me. By your definition I have yet to have a successful drive to the office, because I've made there each time, alive and intact. Maybe I will have an opportunity to succeed over the weekend. Who knows?
Night Owl ... By my definition (the many years that many other Nuke plants have created safe clean electrict power) is the same definition by which you continue to have safe successful drives to work.
Not safe are those around you doing stupid things ... that you have learned from hopefully ... like not driving drunk, not driving while texting, not driving sleepy, not driving while distracted with a cell phone call, and the many other mistakes the rest of us learn from.
The BS is your focusing on mistakes of a few failures in the Nuke industry, and crying wolf that EVERY Nuke plant will do the same thing .... that is just as stupid as focusing on the failures of stupid drivers, and delaring everyone driving to work will die while trying to be safe and not do those stupid things.
The BS is your believing the anti-nuke propaganda, and being irrationally afraid of what is simply unlikely to happen. Just like all those that will huddle in the darkness this year during a hurricane or tornado, that are equally irrationally afraid of an earthquake, or afraid to get in a car because some people do die every minute in one, or get in an airplane because some people die in one every few years.
The BS is that you completely lack a valid argument, so you resort to personal attacks.
I'm sorry you have failed to learn to make careful reasoned choices between competing not so black and white issues ... the world is grey, not every solution is perfectly good or bad ... we do our best with well informed compromises between difficult choices.
Money, time, resources, are all limited ... at this point building more Nukes to fuel an electric transportation infrstructure is by far cleaner, and will save more lives world wide, than the carbon producing, polution producing, fosil fuels we use today for transportation. The few nuke deaths and long term health injuries from accidents along the way are simply insigificant in terms of the common good to reduce the death and environmental injuries from fossil fuels that kill and injure millions every year.
Competing choices ... Nuke electric power for business, residential and transportation ... or a lot more carbon producing, greenhouse gass, fosil fuel environmental damage that kills millions of people .... we got it, you are one of the environmentalists with the agenda to have genecide reduce the population back to ice age numbers, and save the planet from humans. So you are perfectly happy that millions of people are being exterminated by increased fossil fuel use. Horray, Horray, for you ... but sorry ... I don't buy that propaganda anti-nuke to exterminate the human race with fossil fuel byproducts and another ice age from green house global warming.
I happen to have fun with using Totally_Lost as a screen name, because it alwasy brings the clueless out to show their true colors at being just plain stupid with a lack of civility. Keep up the personal attacks, and enviornmentalist anti-nuke propagana, and fail to present a better cleaner, safer world for the milions that suffer every day from automotive byproducts .... horray, horrray, you are doing such a really sucky job at helping make the world a better place for millions of people every year that really do need to be protected.
Turn down the flame a little. I think you've been drinking too much radiocative tea. As for personal attacks, you started them. Try reading your own comments.
You seem to have no intelligent input to give, just rants and regurgitated pro-nuke propaganda. I don't think you are changing anyone's attitude towards nuclear power. Certainly not mine. So lets stop wasting each other's time.
1) All of these problems and solutions were known since the 1970's, the problem has been the NRC has never cracked the whip to mandate these fixes.
Take for example Browns Ferry, in 1974, a fire came within 30 minutes of melting the core.
No reactor with this same design flaw, including Browns Ferry have been fixed.
At the end of the day, the plant operators are intense cheap skates, and the PUC views coal as significantly cheaper then Nuke. As a result between 1982 and 2013, only a handful of new nuclear plants have been brought on line. The Ops costs and capital costs of nuke was already making the industry non-competitive, adding in safety features would
merely make this worse.
as for storage of wind and solar, i'll note old school lead-acid batteries are 98% recycled.
plus there are lots of other methods to store energy, my favorite is pumping water into municipal water towers and building water storage tanks. Use the down rush pressure to help modulate short term drop outs.
You say success is always available, but to quote Wargames" Sometimes the only way to win is not to play".
"You say success is always available, but to quote Wargames" Sometimes the only way to win is not to play".
yes ...the only way to win against fossil fuel deaths, is not to play .... IE stop using fossil fuels ... I thought that was the big environmentalist aggenda. Significantly fewer deaths would occur from using Nuke generated electric power for business, residential, and transportation.
The few KW hours in a water tank will smooth over short production and consumption bumps.
Where is the storage for a few tera-watt hours going to come from when the clouds come in for a few weeks, during the shortest days of winter, and there isn't enough wind either?
60lbs of SLA battery is about 1kwhr of stored energy, and only 70% efficient ... 30 tons of lead for a mega-watt-hour. Our small Rawhide local power plant is a base 280 MW coal with 384 MW of demand gas, and peaked this last year at 653 MW. Annual production was 3.2TWhr. There is a 12MW wind farm just north of here, a couple others were attempted to be built but blocked by local residents. To replace the Rawhide plant would require a few thousand wind turbines, and 16 millions tons of lead acid battery. Just the lead alone, would be $32B, at current market prices ... which would skyrocket with increased demand. The cost for solar and wind generation is several times that. Add to that the annual reprocessing costs to recycle the lead, into new batteries, and we have a site budget that is about 100 times the current coal/gas plant that has a current total capital investement of $1.2B, and $160M annual opperating cost.
Sorry ... but large scale Wind and Solar, with Lead-Acid battery storage is just a pipe dream.
Replace fossil fuel world wide? Is there even that much lead ore left on the planet?
Let me give you a hint ... calculate the number of joules energy in the use of coal, natural gas, and oil used each day, then assume that for solar and wind power only, we will need about 21 days storage to be free from needing Nuke or Fossil fuel generation plants, assuming the population is willing to deal with a few several day outages, and severe multiple week power restrictions each year.
How many people will die strip mining that much lead? processing that much lead?
And I thought the environmentalists agenda was a lead free world, free of strip mining and everything horrible about processing ores.
"The researchers found that generating more electricity than needed during average hours — in order to meet needs on high-demand but low-wind power hours — would be cheaper than storing excess power for later high demand."
""For example, using hydrogen for storage, we can run an electric system that today would meeting a need of 72 GW, 99.9 percent of the time, using 17 GW of solar, 68 GW of offshore wind, and 115 GW of inland wind,"
To get 72 GW, they needed 204 GW of Renewables, which is an over capacity factor of 2.8. The other way is to have small gas turbines that cut in when power drops for short periods. Batteries and small hydro can give you the quick pulses, for a few seconds to minutes while turbines can provide drop out of minutes to hours. Done properly, with a small to large system, you can get 100% up time.
The reality is grid management is going to change from 100% supply to a managed supply/demand smart grid. Smart meters and grids will let grid operators shut down A/C, Appliances, and compressors for brief periods and Plug in Vehicles will allow a smart grid of Gigawatts.
according to stats, you have 300,000 people in Loveland MSA, assume that means you have 200,000 cars and 100,000 dwelling units.
"Our small Rawhide local power plant is a base 280 MW coal with 384 MW of demand gas, and peaked this last year at 653 MW. Annual production was 3.2TWhr"
you pull baseload of 250 MW and peak of 400 MW.
if you put 10KW on the roofs of homes, THat can produce a Gigawatt. (Hope i didn't slip a digit there) If you put 100 KW on the roofs of businesses, that's a lot more power and the Platte River Power authority can build a 200 MW solar array if they want.
Baseload wind is a similiar issue, for 250 MW of wind you want 3 x or 750 MW of wind
a conventional 30 Meter turbine is 250 KW, so you need 1000 turbines to hit baseload and 3,000 turbines to hit your capacity factors. a 30 m tower produces, 600,000 KWH or 600 MWH. with 3,000 Towers, you get 1.8 TWH and the Solar gets you the other half in spades.
now a Gigawatt of solar PV lets look at the costs, German costs for PV is $3/watt. That's a $3 Billion dollar investment or $30K/household. Pricy but not end of the universe pricey.
Wind is $7/watt, so, thats' 2-3 billion also.
Now a good storage solution would help save 3-5 billion. How do we do that? You say it's $5 billion in lead acid batteries, so it's no savings there. But if you look at Electric cars and V2G, then that's 100,000 cars with 50 KW power systems and 40 KWH batteries. THat's 5 GW and 4 Million KWH of surge. people need cars anyways and in a few years, these cars will be cost neutral to gas cars. Using cars helps avoid 50,000 in costs per car equivalent, which is why that will happen.
Plus a similar number for both Wind and storage costs, each of which is about two years after tax income for most people here (total six years after tax income), people that voted down a $200/yr tax increase for schools.
They already have a paid for Rawhide power plant, with plenty of cheap clean coal not far away.
ROTFL ... just how do you expect the environmental nazi's are going to force them to switch to solar/wind/batteries?
And you still haven't said where all the lead is coming from. Nor where all the toxic LI-Ion battery materials are going to come from.
From my perspective all this solar, wind, battery handwaving, is sounding more like the ethonal for fuel scam that got a lot of left leaning politicians rich from farm lobbists.
Net result ... half a solution, for six times the cost, that doesn't even work.
PatB say's "coal is neither clean nor cheap, you just don't see the damage it's doing."
Actually Pat, I do, and lump it into the whole fossil fuel problem including CO2 loading. My point is that for millions of other people, you have to give them a complete (not a half solution that will require brown outs and rolling black outs) that doesn't cost much more than what they have to pay today. And that includes not going farther in debt as a nation, and shifting the balance of trade farther off shore, as the solutions you suggest will. The $600T infrastructure change as you suggest it, will require largely off shore sourcing ... a debt load higher than this nation can support. Heck ... I don't believe we can support Obama's $16T debt loading.
The point is that strip mining for the metal ores you suggest are necessary, isn't likely to happen in the US ... which becomes a balance of trade problem ... plus jobs going overseas for the ore/metal processing and manufacturing of the wind turbines, solar panels, and batteries.
The last part of the equation, is that you can not use the car battery energy as stored, while we need to shift to non-fossil fuel electric cars ... the energy in those batteries needs to be recharged while not in use, and added to the total energy production, which you blindly cut in half.
The last part is, I've been running off grid sites for more than 10 years with a combination of wind and solar, combined with 21 days of storage. Those sites on average lose power 2-5 days a year, because it remains cloudy without wind. Sure there are places where that will not happen, but there are also lot's of population centers where it will. High storage is not an "option" as you suggest, as 3-4 week blackout are not an option either.
In the end, we either need to use coal/gas for generation, or Nukes ... as of today, Nukes are cleaner and safer - and nearly CO2 free.
if you want to call coal clean and cheap, you cannot then say "Coal kills 1 billion
people and destroys mountains". That's just dishonest argument.
Also, PV and Wind are getting real cheap, real fast, we can build the systems out and count on the learning curve driving costs down.
I find it interesting you run PV/Wind systems and get according to you, 98% uptime.
You are down 2-5 days, that seems like a minor problem to fix, you have some small gas turbines, that can run for that known time period, or you need to structure for load management, or you plan to be down in that time period and do heavy maintenance. Very few systems are up 6 nines.
Rapid technological change in this field will make this much more affordable.
UDel got to 99% using wind and Solar for the whole state of Deleware, somehow I think,
that can scale out.
Besides Portugal is now at 70% renewables, and Germany is at one quarter renewables.
give europe 2 more years and they will be above 50%.
PatB ...told an outright fabricated lie: if you want to call coal clean and cheap, you cannot then say "Coal kills 1 billion people and destroys mountains". That's just dishonest argument.
That is just a completely fabricated lie, in every way.
If you are going to quote someone, then cut and paste the quote accurately. Don't completely fabricate a quote, then argue against it ... that is just plain decietful.
Secondly, I'm making arguements in favor of Nuke power, for commercial, residential, and transportation needs .... and slamming fossil fuels hard in the process.
Nuke power is cheaper and safer than fossiil fuels when you factor in all the direct and indirect costs.
Solar and Wind are very very expensive today ... and probably in the future for a significant period of time as well, without large scale storage. They are an incomplete solution without large amounts of bulk storage, that are significantly more expensive than nuke power.
PatB .... take responsibility for your own lies ... what I said was " It just helps to take their irrational voices away, by taking their arguements about deaths and injury and putting it into perspective for the alternatives they are forcing, which exceed 1B deaths and environmental injuries from fossil fuels over the same time period. About 6 orders of magnitude worse."
what you said was "you cannot have it both ways, if you want to call coal clean and cheap, you cannot then say "Coal kills 1 billion people and destroys mountains". That's just dishonest argument."
Coal has NOT killed 1B people in the last 50-60 years ... it is pretty unlikely that it did in the previous 200 as well when it left heavy soot from being burned in fire places, and steam engines. It did probably cause a lot of soot related illnesses -- there is a big difference between illness and death.
The coal being burned in the Rawhide plant is what the industry calls "clean", being low sulfer, low particulate, and pretty well scrubbed by the stack emissions systems ... It's not what I call clean in comparison to Nuke power ... but relatively it's pretty clean, with way too much CO2 emissions. It's a LOT cleaner than the stuff that most of the environmentalists around me burn in their wood burning stoves and fireplaces, with heavy particulate smoke, that does drive my allergies crazy. That they consider natural ... polution that man has done for thousands of years, while bitching about coal fired base generation facilities.
So ... the whining is your's ... you ran out of defenses, and decided to try and discredit your opponents ... with lies. Shameful ... just shameful
As for Nuke's saving a significant number of lives ... in the millions per year, plus millions more that are injured by fossil fuel environmentals ... There are other resources to read, like these articles:
It would be nice if the existing plants were upgraded to current best practices? Do you know why they aren't? Because it's too expensive.
Browns Ferry? Still as vulnerable to a fire as when it was built.
As for Fukushima, you realize they had added a lot of expensive safety features.
Each rac had a filtration stack and venting tower. Those didn't prevent the reactors from
exploding their containments.
if Nuclear power was as cheap and effective, it would be being built at a high rate world wide. Instead, Nuke construction has basically been in a coma for 30 years and without massive subsidies would be dying.
PatB writes: "if Nuclear power was as cheap and effective, it would be being built at a high rate world wide. Instead, Nuke construction has basically been in a coma for 30 years and without massive subsidies would be dying."
ROTHL ... Capacity doubled in the last 30 years, and you call that "in a coma for 30 years"???
You just can not stop the fabrications and lies to defend your loosing position.
Your anti-nuke propaganda is without reason. Massive subsidies??? Just how is that different than massive subsidies for nearly all the other major power production and distribution efforts in the last 100 years??
WNA numbers world wide as of 3/5/13 are 435 in operation. 66 under construction. 160 On order or Planned. 319 Proposed and under review. That's your definition of a coma????
As far as "cheap", I find that argument by anti-nuke activists to be pretty toungue in check, when the major cost of Nuke power is the delays caused by anti-nuke nazi activists driving delays with endless lawsuits to drive up the financing costs with delays.
From my perspective, they are a very small minority, "taxing" the majority with lawsuits and delays to advance their flawed fear of nuke power ... and in the process force millions of people to live with the polution of coal and gas fired plants, while advancing CO2 driven global warming. And then this minority has the audacity to call themselves environmentalists concerned about deaths and global health advocates. Hypocrisy at best. Fear mongering decietful, self absorbed people that do not give a damn about the poor strugging to pay their power and heating bills, or those with health problems from the polution is probably closer.
the IAEA graph is illustrative. The number of reactors built since 86 is very few, there is a spike ongoing but, that will collapse, and most of those units will go unbuilt.
Now your graph of capacity is quite interesting, because capacity increased without a lot of new reactors coming onboard. That was driven by increased capacity factors and uprated power. A number of reactors are operated hotter and higher pressure then they were designed for.
PatB writes: "Market share is decling, production is kind of peaked out."
True that while Nuke power continues to grow, that other market segments like coal and gas are growing faster ... which is a VERY bad thing, since it means that CO2 production increasing global warming is growing, and the number of polutants that will kill and injure are also growing. And you want to gloat about that?
As far as the production peaking, fracing is certainly producing cheap gas for now, and 20 years of anti-nuke lawsuits unfairly shifted economics to higly poluting coal and gas ... and you might gloat about that, but I personally can not see any responsible person as wanting to gloat about the deaths and health suffering that anti-nuke activists have caused.
As far as outlook from here forward ... fracing protests are shuting down gas exploration and field production enhancements, and drving up gas costs.
We are looking at Carbon taxing by many governments, which will quickly shift significant costs to coal, gas and oil, which will make nuke power very very competitive again.
So ... claiming peaked out, is something of a falicy, in that it assumes that the plants under construction today will not come on line, and the plants that are ordered will not come online either. The fear mongering clearly was attempting to create an environment to stop that growth over the next 5-10 years, but it's highly unlikely that will happen as fossil fuel energy prices spike again as the economy recovers. I suspect that between carbon taxing and energy prices rising, we will see nukes being built at 1970's levels again.
PatB writes: "That's a huge problem waiting to happen"
More fear mongering ... just like your Brown's Ferry post.
we have 30 years of steady safety improvements by regulatory decree, which you deceifully imply has not happened.
Lot's of arm chair anti-nuke "experts" crying wolf ... and lots of deep in the trenches engineers with actual experince in the field, saying that they are improving safety every day.
And we have regulators that can shut down any plant that is unsafe, giving operation permits to allow operation to continue, that by their position, are also declaring the plants safe.
a lot of conspiracy theory, and little real honest facts, from the fear mongers.
What we should be doing, is taxing fossil fuels at $800T/year to cover the health costs and death benefits that industry is imposing on the worlds population.
Then we can talk about real costs being fairly distributed ... instead of society being forced to massively subsidize those losses for the fossil fuel industries.
And change the environmental litigation law so that the loosers pay all costs (both sides of legal, plus other actual costs) for both sides. Time to stop this needless litigation by anti-nuke minority that has no purpose except to drive up nuke costs, for the majority of society to pay.
Consider the three reactors at the Browns Ferry nuclear plant in Alabama. A disastrous fire in March 1975 nearly caused two of its reactors to melt down. The NRC adopted fire protection regulations in 1980 seeking to prevent another serious nuclear plant fire. But the three reactors at Browns Ferry, along with nearly four dozen other reactors in the U.S., still do not comply with fire protection regulations more than three decades later.
It's not the cumulative effects of regulation that the NRC should be evaluating.
The NRC should be concerned about the cumulative effects of non-regulation.
PatB says: "Can you cite something which shows how BF has conformed to NFP 805 or NUReg 1.189?"
Can you cite the regulation that states the reactor must be shutdown if it doesn't conform to that standard?
If so, can you cite the specific regulator that should be fired for failing to shutdown the site per that requirement?
There are a zillion standards, not all are required by every facility for one reason or another. There are regulations that apply to new construction. There are regulations that apply to certain configurations. There are regulations that should never be applied.
If a regulator is not doing his job, then make more than enough noise to make sure he is fired, and replaced by a responsible civil servant that will.
If you believe the regulations should require a shutdown, and they don't currently, then lobby Obama to fix that.
Anything less than that, is simply an unskilled person without any direct experience in the trade being an arm chair regulator to promote a special interest cause, that is not supported by law and our regulations.
It's just conspiracy theory, special interest noise because you do not agree with the people in charge (the regulators), that all nukes should be shutdown just because they are nukes.
patB writes: " It's a pity, the number of people who will be poisoned in a good sized accident, but, it's what the fanboys want."
or, the safety will continue to improve, there will not be an accident on US soil because of better regulations, and all the people that opposed earlier Nuke deployments and forced decades of increased fossil fuel use will go down in the history book as baby killers from elevated SIDS cases from the polution.
"we have 30 years of steady safety improvements by regulatory decree, which you deceifully imply has not happened."
1) All plants use Zirconium fuel bundles which is very dangerous when overheated, it causes hydrogen generation, which destroyed Rac 1 at Fuku and TMI unit 2. A metal which doesn't strip water to free hydrogen would be much safer.
2) All these plants are storing spent fuel in the feuling pool, instead of safely in dry casks.
3) very few plants are capable of cross-strapping between plants in event of Station Black out.
4) Far too many plants are in the flood plains of dams or rivers without adequate protection.
5) far too many plants have critical switch gear in yards unprotected from severe storm or tornado hazard.
At the end of the day, it's been luck not good design that's kept incidents down
PatB says: "At the end of the day, it's been luck not good design that's kept incidents down"
At the end of the day, you are a poor looser, that is unhappy the Nuke power plants exist at all.
Lobby to make things safer ... and people are probably much more likely to cooperate.
Lobby for a complete shutdown, calling a lot of very very good people irresponsible, and you will NEVER have a useful voice to fix problems.
Each of the things you cite, almost certainly have been carefully reviewed in the past. Some are design points to fix on new construction. Some are design points that are probably part of some important list to implement with a well planned schedule.
Lobby to improve things, rather than be an obstructionist.
PatB writes: "if Nuclear power was as cheap and effective, it would be being built at a high rate world wide. Instead, Nuke construction has basically been in a coma for 30 years and without massive subsidies would be dying."
BTW ... the massive subsidies are going to wind and solar ... they would be DOA without it
Liebreich really points it out, the utility models are going to have to change fast, we are seeing rapidly declining costs in PV and declining costs in Wind, the LCOE on wind is running 70 Euros/MWH that's about 10 cents/KWH, really not a bad figure and that number is going to continue to decline.
There have been MANY distortions by the anti-nuke posters in this forum ... the other side of the story is important, no matter how hard they try to distort the real facts, reality is still there for them to ignore, hide from, and deny. Fossil fuels kill and injure a lot of people, while nukes are getting safer with time, and cheaper.
The Nuke safety record ... complete, and worth reading, can be found in the following link. 14,500 reactor years of operational safety, and only a few failures ... mostly with early designs, in the early years -- a MUST read:
I presented most of the numbers earlier in the discussion. Sorry you came to the party late.
And you are welcome to argue that they are one or two orders of magnitude smaller.
That is still four orders of magnitude larger than nuke power accidents.
I guess I need to dig a little deeper, and pull up more of the numbers related to fossil fuel deaths and illnesses.
Since gobal warming is largely linked to CO2 production from fossil fuel use, consider this report for probably a couple millions deaths, and a few hundred million illnesses over the next several decades: http://environment.about.com/od/globalwarmingandhealth/a/gw_deaths.htm
Notice in this report statements about lung cancer for smokers and those exposed to a lot of wood smoke ... another significant source of fossil fuel death and illnesses: http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/952/1/Beware-Your-Fireplace-Or-Wood-Burning-Stove-May-Be-Harming-Your-Health.html
World wide there are about 1.3 million deaths from lung cancer, so burning wood as a heat source, instead of using an electric geothermal heat pump, does have a significant cost in lives, and illnesses. In cold winter months, which unfortunately is a time of use when solar performs poorly.
There is roughly another 5,900 that die mining coal each year, and a significant number of miners that have serious health problems. Over the last 50, and next 30 years that adds to the totals significantly more people that have been killed or made ill by nuke power accidents. http://cadlab6.mit.edu/2.009.wiki/anchor/index.php?title=Number_of_people_killed%2C_world-wide%2C_mining_coal_each_year
Oil and gas field operations are not quite that deadly, but over a few decades the numbers still exceed those killed and injured by nuke accidents in the same period by a couple orders of magnitude.
Add this all together, and still many orders of magnitude more than the last 50 years of nuke accidents. Add that to the previous studies cited earlier, for other causes. Still not convinced ... there is more :)
We can add to that oil refinery deaths, and leukemia for workers and residents around them. And there is still more ... any and every one of these types of death and illness is far more than nuke power accidents.
And when you figure this out, then please answer the question:
Your fear of fail safe nuke designs, is irrational, and idealogically rooted in being a nuke free zone.
Lacking the ability to generate a large scale steam explosion, Pebble Bed and Molten Salt designs simply would not fail in as big way as early water cooled designs from 40-50 years ago.
21 years of AVR operation was a pretty reasonble test bed for the technology, and clearly points to a few issues that need design changes to prevent or minimize dust generation. The NRC would clearly be looking for solutions to those problems before granting an operating license. Engineers do that ... they take negative outcomes, and find solutions from the experiences.
But that said ... the statistics are clear ... Solar and Wind without storage are more expensive. Fossil fuels have an expense orders of magnitude higher than nukes because of global warming and fossil fuel health issues.
So the question remains ... how many more people should die and become ill to support an illogical nuke free zone idealogy that has failed.
If you want to point to a couple nuke accidents, that were agreed bad, then you can not avoid the global mess that fossil fuels have created that is many orders of magnitude worse.
The question of whether engineers could have foreseen the shortcut maintenance procedures that led to the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979 will probably linger for as long as there is an engineering profession.
More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the country’s worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
If you’re an embedded systems engineer whose analog capabilities are getting a little bit rusty, then you’ll want to take note of an upcoming Design News Continuing Education Center class, “Analog Design for the Digital World,” running Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.