Friday, September 2, 2011

AP: "Quake risk to reactors greater than thought"

"Gov't says 27 US reactors could be more vulnerable to earthquakes than previously thought", according to the article on 9/2/2011.

From AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The risk that an earthquake would cause a severe accident at a U.S. nuclear plant is greater than previously thought, 24 times as high in one case, according to an AP analysis of preliminary government data. The nation's nuclear regulator believes a quarter of America's reactors may need modifications to make them safer.

The threat came into sharp focus last week, when shaking from the largest earthquake to hit Virginia in 117 years appeared to exceed what the North Anna nuclear power plant northwest of Richmond was built to sustain.

The two North Anna reactors are among 27 in the eastern and central U.S. that a preliminary Nuclear Regulatory Commission review has said may need upgrades. That's because those plants are more likely to get hit with an earthquake larger than the one their design was based on. Just how many nuclear power plants are more vulnerable won't be determined until all operators recalculate their own seismic risk based on new assessments by geologists, something the agency plans to request later this year. The NRC on Thursday issued a draft of that request for public comment.

The review, launched well before the East Coast quake and the Japan nuclear disaster in March, marks the first complete update to seismic risk in years for the nation's 104 existing reactors, despite research showing greater hazards.

The NRC and the industry say reactors are safe as they are, for now. The average risk to U.S. reactors of core damage from a quake remains low, at one accident every 500 years, according to the AP analysis of NRC data.

The overall risk at a typical reactor among the 27 remains very slight. If the NRC's numbers prove correct, that would mean no more than one core accident from an earthquake in about 30,000 years at the typical reactor among the 27 with increased risk.

But emails obtained in a more than 11,000-page records request by The Associated Press show that NRC experts were worried privately this year that plants needed stronger safeguards to account for the higher risk assessments.

(The article continues.)

What's more interesting than the article is the comment section. Here are some:

- I am suspicious of the anti-nuclear propaganda like this article. Not one person died due to the Japanese nuclear problem. Millions of people die worldwide each year due to pollution from coal and oil fired power plants. ... Nuclear power does not produce CO2. It is the ONLY source powerful enough to supply our modern world. Solar and wind are great - but much too small a source. ...The hysteria over nuclear must stop. Every power source has its problems. Nuclear will not kill the five or six billion eventually that scientists say will happen with increasing CO2.

- That's right- Hack Journalist! Blow Me AP! You fear mongoring POS! DIE AP!

- So a bunch of hack journalists read a bunch of government emails and that makes them nuclear engineers?Give me a freaking break!

You can read the rest of the comments at the link.


Anonymous said...

In response to "Millions of people die worldwide each year due to pollution from coal and oil fired power plants"--so your data is where? As to nuclear dangers, Chernobol is a perfect "test" case, with excellent data. Compare the Chernobol data (corrected to represent the greater amount of radioactive fallout for the Japanese disaster--oh and add USA and other countries contamination as well)--then compare to the "pollution" data for oil and coal. And your pollution data came from where???? From what world wide study?

PLUS the "The overall risk at a typical (USA)reactor among the 27 remains very slight" --so tell this to my we are 9 miles from one of the "typical reactors"--that just had quake damage from the 5.9 EQ in Virginia. Its funny..first its 6.1--then 5.9--and then when everyone realized the plants were rated to 5.9-6.1--suddenly the seismic value became 5.8. So put your money where your mouth is and PURCHASE our home for its current assessed value. And of course, since the Nuke Plant companies have lots of insurance, they will cover up to 330 Million in damages per plant due to a nuclear accident. Due to the density of the population now around the facilities, thats a very underestimated amount--oh wait, Uncle Sam will cover the rest!? Will they cover the medical costs which go many years in the future? At least there is now a DNA/trace test to identify what the cause of Thyroid Cancer is--radiation leaves a fingerprint which can be traced..FINALLY.
So for the Anoymous who thinks radiation and nuclear plants are so safe..hurry up and purchase homes and live close to the facilities with your families..we would be happy to move!

Anonymous said...

The discussion of nuclear issues in the US is increasingly idiotic. Both major political parties are heavily invested in the mythology of safe nuclear power. The Democrats, under the influence of longtime nuclear shill Al Gore, advocate nuclear expansion as the only solution to global warming fears. Dissenters are portrayed as luddites, ignorant simpletons, or opponents of rational scientific progress (slurs often directed at social conservatives in the opposing party). Republicans see nuclear safety concerns as typifying the expensive, irrational and unnecessary intrusion of federal bureaucracy into matters better left to business. The idea that further regulation might be necessary to protect the public is heresy. They view nuclear opponents as naive busybodies whose concerns are born of environmetalist mythology and authoritarian impulses.

Neither party wants to engage the facts of Chernobyl or Fukushima, since they contradict its own fundamental orthodoxies. Those who dare to raise these facts are denounced by partisans from both sides.

Thank you again for all your hard work on this blog.


Anonymous said...

The comments on the AP site about the article just proves that the paid nuke industry trolls are out in force and implies that the nuke industry is running scared.

Anonymous said...

>> just proves that the paid nuke industry trolls are out in force and implies that the nuke industry is running scared <<

No, it doesn't. While it's possible that those people are "paid nuke trolls," it is also entirely possible that those are comments from regular folks who genuinely don't "get" what's happening in Japan, because they think it was a 3-day or 1-week "incident" and now it's over.

Most people in the US followed the story for a couple of weeks at most, and never thought about it again.

Whenever a story does come out about Fukushima these days, the opening line is invariably a variation of, "You'll be surprised to hear that the Fukushima nuclear situation still isn't under control." So the media understands fully that the average person has no idea what is going on.

Anonymous said...

you think america is the bald eagle, star and spangles, wall street, from-dishwasher-to-millionaere? think again. there's nothing more american then nuclear. it's synonymous. America IS nuclear. all your so called "american values" be it an elephant or a donkey, at its very core, there's just the splitting atom. your society, you military, your way of life, it's all nuclear. you can dress it up with freedom of speech, liberty, open society etc. but at its very root, it's all just plain nuclear power.
after the splitting atom won the war, it became the red hot glowing idol at the centre of the united states of atoms. even your tea water is nuclear boiled.
the only reason the usa isn't 100% nuclear powered is because some people actually know the inherent dangers. nuclear: it's your way of life, that you love to hate, but mostly just ignore. that's why nothing can change .. sorry. .. you're f..ked >:^)

Anonymous said...

This was the recent containment failure in Virginia?

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