Saturday, July 23, 2011

It Can't Happen Here

Arnie Gunderson and friend explain why It Can Happen Here. From the blurb about the video at Arnie's site:

The well-known safety flaws of Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactors have gained significant attention in the wake of the four reactor accidents at Fukushima, but a more insidious danger lurks. In this video nuclear engineers Arnie Gundersen and David Lochbaum discuss how the US regulators and regulatory process have left Americans unprotected. They walk, step-by-step, through the events of the Japanese meltdowns and consider how the knowledge gained from Fukushima applies to the nuclear industry worldwide. They discuss "points of vulnerability" in American plants, some of which have been unaddressed by the NRC for three decades. Finally, they concluded that an accident with the consequences of Fukushima could happen in the US.

With more radioactive Cesium in the Pilgrim Nuclear Plant's spent fuel pool than was released by Fukushima, Chernobyl, and all nuclear bomb testing combined. Gundersen and Lockbaum ask why there is not a single procedure in place to deal with a crisis in the fuel pool?
Some very good questions. Watch the video.

I just finished watching the video and noted that it was sponsored by a number of groups with axes to grind. Which ought to make one suspicious. However, as a former Naval Nuke I found nothing in the presentation I could disagree with. Their concerns are my concerns. Every once in a while interest groups are reasonable and rational. I can't explain it. It happens. Occasionally.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

1 comment:

Jeff Gauch said...

It sounds to me that the Japanese didn't learn the lesson of TMI: Keep the core covered with water.

Worried about going solid? Keep the core covered with water.

Worried about breaking a pump? Keep the core covered with water.

Worried about cooling down too fast? Keep the core covered with water.

The lesson of Fukushima is: That means the spent fuel pond too.

I can't remember, but I'm pretty sure the EDG's at NPTU Ballston Spa have a closed cooling circuit. A plant using those would be much more tsunami resistant.

All in all I think that what they present is technically correct, but they over-emphasize the negative consequences. What if a dam bursts? Well what if a meteor hits the containment vessel? I'd be willing to bet there's still more cesium in the Fukushima fuel ponds that was released in the nuclear bombs, Chernobyl, and the Fukushima accident combined.

We do need regulation of the nuclear industry, but we need to be smart about it. Sweeping rules in response to one-off accidents do nobody any good.