Sunday, October 28, 2012

Nuclear Plants at Risk by Hurricane Sandy: Nuclear Plants Face Flood Threats and Risks of Electrical Outages

Nuclear power plants are dangerous because they can suffer severe accidents as a result of fires, floods, and electrical disruptions.

The anticipated mega-storm threatening the US east coast poses real risks to nuclear plants.

Washington's Blog Reports: More than a Dozen Nuclear Plants Near Hurricane Sandy’s Path Brace for Impact

Majia here: The bad news is that US nuclear power plants are at risk of meltdowns and fires during sustained electrical outages. 

In this video, nuclear engineers Mr. Arnie Gundersen and Mr. David Lochbaum discuss how vulnerable nuclear power plants are to electrical disruptions. Their analysis even addresses the many vulnerabilities of the "back-up" generators

Nuclear plants are also at risk from flooding:

Flood Threat To Nuclear Plants Covered Up By Regulators, NRC Whistleblower Claims

The Fort Calhoun nuclear facility in Nebraska was surrounded by rising floodwaters from the nearby Missouri River last year.

[Excerpted] In a letter submitted Friday afternoon to internal investigators at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a whistleblower engineer within the agency accused regulators of deliberately covering up information relating to the vulnerability of U.S. nuclear power facilities that sit downstream from large dams and reservoirs.

The letter also accuses the agency of failing to act to correct these vulnerabilities despite being aware of the risks for years.

These charges were echoed in separate conversations with another risk engineer inside the agency who suggested that the vulnerability at one plant in particular -- the three-reactor Oconee Nuclear Station near Seneca, S.C. -- put it at risk of a flood and subsequent systems failure, should an upstream dam completely fail, that would be similar to the tsunami that hobbled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in Japan last year. That event caused multiple reactor meltdowns.

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Huffington Post, Richard H. Perkins, a reliability and risk engineer with the agency's division of risk analysis, alleged that NRC officials falsely invoked security concerns in redacting large portions of a report detailing the agency's preliminary investigation into the potential for dangerous and damaging flooding at U.S. nuclear power plants due to upstream dam failure.

Perkins, along with at least one other employee inside NRC, also an engineer, suggested that the real motive for redacting certain information was to prevent the public from learning the full extent of these vulnerabilities, and to obscure just how much the NRC has known about the problem, and for how long....

[read the full article at link above]

Majia here: In March, 2012 The Wall Street Journal noted how dangerous fires were at nuclear plants, in response to reports on the Fort Calhoun near-disaster (which may have been more of a disaster than we will ever know)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 WSJ: "Fire at Nuclear Plant Called Serious Threat" March 13 2012 The Wall Street Journal
[Excerpted] "The June 7 fire at the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant, 19 miles north of Omaha, caused an electrical failure that knocked out pumps circulating water in a pool with spent nuclear fuel. In an investigation released Monday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it classified the fire as a 'red' event, representing the highest level of safety threat tracked by the agency."

MAJIA HERE: Nuclear power plants are a THREAT to sustainable human life on an active and increasingly erratic planet.

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