O/T: Nuclear Reactor Problems

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RE: Subject
It appears that one of the back up safety controls is to use back up diesel engine/generator sets to provide control power during emergency reactor shut downs.
In Japan, these engine/generator sets have been wiped out by the tsunamis.
So much for that back up.
Here in SoCal, we have the San Onofre nuclear generating station right on the shore line about half way between Los Angeles and San Diego.
This is residential country with some high priced SoCal real-estate less than 2 miles away.
It also has a diesel engine/generator sets to provide control power during emergency reactor shut down.
Earlier this week the plant mgr was interviewed one of the local TV stations.
Plant mgr was very proud of the San Onofre design improvements in recent years including the construction of a 30 ft high wall and underground diesel storage tanks.
A couple of thoughts:
1) Are the diesels automatically started by a clutch and spinning flywheel approach used by the Las Vegas casinos 50+ years ago, or are they depending on a standard cranking motor and battery?
Cranking motor and battery is less costly.
2) I personally question whether a 30 ft retaining wall is enough, probably needs at least another 5-7 ft.
3) How do you build a safe diesel fuel storage vessel underground in earthquake country?
As we are finding out, there is a lot of uncharted nuclear energy territory out there.
Lew
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"Lew Hodgett" wrote in message

Tonight on the BBC there was video of what is left of the *massive* walls meant to protect a particular Japanese town from tsunami damage. These enormous steel-reinforced concrete structures, as thick as they are high (think yards, not feet), were broken up into gigantic chunks that completely failed to protect the town which for all purposes no longer exists. A 30 ft wall? Talk about false security.
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I think California should shut down all nuclear facilities and go back to conventional ways of generating elecricity. I suspect it is only a matter of time before this polution cutter will bite you in the ass like all of the others have. California seems to believe it can live in a cleaner environment than the rest of the country but obviousely cannot afford or engeneer methods support those wishes.
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wrote:

Yeah, let's see how those idiot greenies like living with coalfired plants spewing godawful amounts of heat and pollution all over them while mile-long trains of coal run hourly to the plants to keep them operating.
Let's see how long Arizona and Nevada put up with the acid rain from them.
Boy, howdy! This oughta be _good_!
-- A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on. -- William S. Burroughs
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On 03/17/2011 08:01 AM, Larry Jaques wrote:

Rain? Arizona?

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On 3/17/2011 8:01 AM, Larry Jaques wrote:

Coal-fired power plants already produce half of USA's electricity. EPA-mandated scrubbers make the plants low polluters. They are already running near capacity. They, and all other sources for generating electricity combined, don't have enough reserve capacity to pick up the slack if the nuclear power plants were all taken off line. And it takes years not months to build new plants.
One thing most people don't realize is that radioactive materials are present in fossil fuels. Coal and oil fired power plants release more radiation into the environment than a nuclear power plant does.

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On 3/17/2011 1:37 PM, Just Wondering wrote:

One thing people do not realize is they can not get away from natural radiation. Radiation comes from concrete, stone, and many other sources. Then don't forget we are bombarded by radiation of the sun and other sources every minute of our lives.
There is probably more radiation from the Containment vessel of a Nuke plant than from the reaction that is contained in side.
Live with it there as there is no way to live with out it.
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Staggeringly wrong.
Tim W
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What? That's pretty misleading. A bit like saying a smoky old diesel is environmentally sound because it doesn't give you any problem with radioactive waste that has to be stored securely for several hundred years because it is so dangerous for the environment.
Tim W
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wrote:

A smoky old diesel is safer than a smokeless new diesel becaust the old one put bigass particulates (aka: soot) into the air which immediately fell to the ground and stayed there. Now, with pollution controls and low-sulfur fuel (at nearly twice the price as old), the output from the diesel exhaust is more deadly because it stays in the air. It _became_ an air pollution problem when it was just an eyesore before. A truckdrivin' friend of mine is pissed over that.
-- A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on. -- William S. Burroughs
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On 3/17/2011 11:54 AM, Tim W wrote:

You're being misleading yourself by selectively clipping the prior posts. I was responding to "Leon"'s comment where he said, "I think California should shut down all nuclear facilities and go back to conventional ways of generating elecricity." I don't see how it's misleading to point out a couple of fallacies in that statement.
Other countries recycle their spent nuclear rods, resulting in far less radioactive waste. Why doesn't the USA?
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On 3/18/2011 2:58 AM, Just Wondering wrote: ...

Primarily we never got started because Mista' Ca-ahter (peanut farmer, nuclear Navy, fairly decent woodworker to keep us on topic :) ) couldn't distinguish (didn't understand) the difference between reprocessing for weapons (nuclear proliferation) and commercial nuclear power and made two sweeping edicts part of his policy platform --
1) Canceled the Breeder Demonstration project at Oak Ridge, and
2) Executive order that NRC would not consider the application of GE for licensing a facility at Barnwell for reprocessing commercial nuclear fuel.
We're still paying the consequences for both... :(
(BS NucE/MS NucSci, retired, w/ 30+ years w/ reactor vendor and consultant to utilities, various US national laboratories, DOE and commercial clients...)
--
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On 3/18/2011 9:45 AM, dpb wrote:

As in it accomplished nothing regarding nuclear proliferation (N Korea, Iran as prime examples) and we still have no coherent spent nuclear fuel policy (other than continue to let it accumulate up at the reactors in the spent fuel pools).

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We don't really know about Iran's capabilities. BUT... if you lived next door to Israel, who does have nuclear capability without ever having signed on to any non proliferation treaties, wouldn't you want to be able to deter an aggressor with weapons of similar ilk? Only countries with nuclear capability don't get bullied, so who can blame any nation for wanting those weapons? Aimadinnerjacket might be a nutbar, but he knows what he needs. North Korea? They haven't proven conclusively to possess The Bomb.... sure a big bang in a mine and a little radiation 'seed'... a whole ot of smoke and mirrors...but HEY, we got to keep the little people in the Homeland scared of the boogie man, and Iran and NKorea sure come in handy for that....
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On 3/18/2011 1:07 PM, Robatoy wrote:

I wasn't saying anything specific about my judgment on who should/shouldn't have nuclear capability but sure; I personally am much more comfortable w/ the Israeli's possible ( :) ) abilities in that regard than I am w/ either DPRK or Iran (or Pakistan/India or most of the former USSR satellites, for that matter).
OTOH, as events demonstrated, what the US chose to do wrt commercial nuclear power (or, in this case, chose _not_ to do) in not reprocessing spent commercial fuel had no bearing whatsoever on the decisions of outside governments as to what course to follow in their own best interests as they perceived those to be.
I only brought it up as the demonstration that the directives of Mr Carter didn't produce the desired result on the one front and completely stopped the handling of spent commercial nuclear fuel on the other. Clearly, a "lose-lose".
AFAIK, the IAEA and others concluded that the DPRK tests were, in fact, legitimate albeit relatively small based on seismology and radiation signatures afterward.
--
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I agree with your assessment re: Israel managing an arsenal of bombs. My point was that I understand why Iamadinnerjacket wants some too. If you have a capable nuclear weapons program, you are much less likely to get bullied...IOW, don't piss off the guy who has a pistol when you don't have one.
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On 3/18/2011 7:19 PM, Robatoy wrote: ...

Of course...but that seems to miss the initial point I was making initially that it was obvious to anybody (or at least to me :) ) that the unilateral decision by Carter that the US would not reprocess commercial nuclear fuel would have absolutely no influence upon the nutjobs running the places in which he was so interested in trying to prevent proliferation; they didn't care what the US did (and, for the most part, still don't) and were going to do whatever they thought was in their interest irregardless whether that was to pretend to agree or be blatant about it or waffle back and forth or use promises of future good behavior as a carrot for goodies or ...
In the end, all it did was harm the US commercial power industry and leave us saddled w/ all the spent fuel piling up at the reactors while Harry R plays (like Nero w/ a fiddle) similar populist politics w/ Yucca Mtn in Nevada.
It was misguided policy then and arose simply because Mr Carter (as nice a human being as he is as a person) was woefully ignorant of anything "nucular" outside the Navy training and could never in his heart (and therefore, mind) separate commercial from weapons material. Thus, any and all talk of reprocessing was bad. I was in discussions w/ White House staff at the time who were responsible for passing on this nonsense and trying to explain the reasoning behind it--the ones who had any real knowledge allowed it was nonsense but "he's the boss and calls the shots". :(
--
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On 3/18/2011 8:07 PM, dpb wrote:

And, that was specifically aimed at the question of why the US doesn't reprocess raised; the basic reason is that there is still that edict in place so we can't.
NB: That's not to say that we would necessarily be reprocessing without it even if GE had gotten their licensing application approved; TMI occurred not too long after and what w/ the furor over it and 18-20% interest rates it's not at all clear GE could have managed to get the plant built, anyway.
And, of course, many of those who envisioned reprocessing initially or did at one time have also quit simply owing to the economics; at present demand and prices, it's cheaper to not. That's particularly true w/ the large quantities of HEU returned from the former USSR that is gradually being blended down that saves all the SWUs required for enrichment.
We'll just have to "hide and watch" and see what shakes out politically from the current mess in Japan; it's going to throw a spanner in the works everywhere, justified or not (and some may well be but it'll gum up everything far beyond the necessary/commensense point; that's just the way we do things here).
--
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"Just Wondering" wrote:

----------------------------------- An interesting stat has come to light.
Over $13 Billion with a "B" and several years have been spent trying to answer that question.
A workable solution is still waiting to be found.
Lew
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On 3/29/2011 7:59 PM, Lew Hodgett wrote:

...
Removing Harry Reid some years ago would have done for the interim solution.
The problem as outlined earlier is political, not technical, going back in the US to the Carter edict and then the political football that became Yucca Mountain. There's no overriding technical issue in that fiasco at all; it was and is entirely populist politics of NIMB and personal advantage of the situation by Harry to retain his seat.
--
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