A good point. I guess one would wish to avoid getting within a few, hundred
yards of the pool without a zoomie suit. Further away if they are exposed.
This is another good reason to get Yucca Mountain on-line and start the
shipments. Of course, the ponytail and necktie crowd are poised and waiting
to file their suits. Lawyers in love.
A spent fuel pool is for "exposed" fuel--that's what "spent" means by
The pools are "pools" because they're full of water for cooling which
also supplies some shielding. The assemblies are not handled manually
but by remote handling equipment through fuel transfer canals which are
also called "canals" because they're full of water for shielding as
well. When leaving the spent fuel storage, they go into large,
shielded, spent-fuel shipping casks which are designed to withstand any
conceivable accident including fire and direct impact at a hypothetical
railroad grade crossing. They've even done qualification tests on these
casks which include both of the above scenarios before they get NRC
licenses to be deployed.
The reason to get Yucca Mountain operational is that the spent fuel
pools at the reactor sites are getting full-up. In reality, what we
should have been doing since the 70s is recycling the spent fuel and
reducing the actual waste into much smaller volumes and disposing of it
as well as using much of it as subsidiary radiation sources for all
kinds of uses from medical to heat generation.
check out pebble-bed reactors;the spent fuel "pebbles" would be virtually
immune to any sort of airplane crash or explosion.
One might scatter the pebbles,but they would still be intact,no release of
radioactives into the environment.
Education is always a good thing. I read constantly. But, no matter how much
I learn, I can't keep your washing machine from breaking down or keep you
from setting your hair on fire by getting too close to your BBQ. Know what I
In other words, my knowledge is not likely to change physical occurrences
elsewhere. I deal in absolutes. If I can't see and touch something, I don't
trust it. You can talk all day long about nuke plant security, but as long
as there are human beings involved, I will always have doubts.
Here's a lesser example of something that was supposed to be trusted - a zoo
cage. Tiger kills one, injures two:
"The zoo's director of animal care and conservation, Robert Jenkins, could
not explain how Tatiana escaped. The tiger's enclosure is surrounded by a
15-foot-wide moat and 20-foot-high walls, and the approximately 300-pound
female did not leave through an open door, he said. "There was no way out
through the door," Jenkins said. "The animal appears to have climbed or
otherwise leaped out of the enclosure.""
So, how do you manage to live from day to day? Every action you take is
also dependent upon someone else whether it's getting on the train
you're so fond of or an airplane or just crossing the street or even in
opening a carton of milk.
Consider this -- there have been _ZERO_ (that's none, nada, not a one,
nil, ...) deaths caused from a nuclear accident in a commercial nuclear
facility in the US in the existence of the industry. That constitutes
something on the order of 40 years times roughly 60 operating units or
2400 reactor-years of operation and not a single fatality(*).
That's a good demonstration that taking care and fail-safe design
techniques work. There are folks (I happened to have an adjacent office
to one for about 15 years) who continually take every incident at every
operating facility and analyze it for root cause(s) and evaluate what,
if anything, went wrong and how to modify or upgrade procedures and/or
equipment or training to ensure it doesn't occur elsewhere and that
other utility operators of similar facilities are made aware of how to
deal with it were it to occur at one of their facilities as well.
The difference in the nuclear utility operations as opposed to the kind
of daily "run of the mill" accidents you're aware of is that the level
of design of the facilities for safety and the backup systems and
training in place in the event of operational failures are at a far
higher level of redundancy and contingent planning than virtually any
other industry. While the level of QA and QC and inspection, etc., in
the civilian aviation business is of similar level, there isn't a backup
parachute for everybody to bail. So, while remarkably safe overall,
airplanes do crash on occasion at a level of risk society in general
considers acceptable although regrettable when it does.
(*) There have been, of course, some industrial accidents where there
have been serious injuries and fatalities from falls or other industrial
causes, but none in which the nuclear characteristic of the facility had
anything to do with the accident. The nuclear safety itself that folks
are so inherently afraid of owing to the initial exposure by way of WWII
and the incessant drumming of the anti-nukes' propaganda continuing to
tie commercial power to weapons is simply not justified by the facts.
As you should. As I say, far more eventualities than you can imagine
_have_ been considered -- not all by trying to figure out a scenario but
by the use of systematic cause and effect models. IOW, postulate each
critical item were to fail, then what mitigating system(s) is/are
required? Some obvious things like a plane falling out of the sky were
indeed considered in the design of containment structures as well as
most other incredible accidents -- like the definition of a LOCA for
analysis is a double-ended guillotine rupture of the primary coolant
pipe--a 36-42" diameter thick-walled-enough pipe to withstand far over
the design 2200 psig pressure. Managing to somehow physically cause
that to occur wasn't part of the equation--the analysis simply assumed
that a piece of solid pipe w/o anything except welded joints other than
at the pump inlets somehow magically disappeared instantaneously w/o
evidencing any sign of a smaller break or leak prior to this failure
that would lead to enough indications by instrumentation to allow for an
early shutdown. The system is designed to handle that eventually
despite it being so far beyond the actual reality of how an actual pipe
break might happen if it were to do so.
Yes, on, in my judgment, ill-informed decision-making to satisfy the
"anti's", not on a realistic assessment of risks of the plant itself in
comparison w/ other risks of far higher likelihood and consequences.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.