Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Excessively Warm Water after Hot July Forces Connecticut Nuclear Plant to Shut Unit

Unit 2 of Millstone Power Station in Connecticut was shut down because the seawater used as coolant was not cool enough.

Washington Post quoting AP (8/13/2012):

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut’s nuclear power plant shut one of two units on Sunday because seawater used to cool down the plant is too warm.

Unit 2 of Millstone Power Station has occasionally shut for maintenance or other issues, but in its 37-year history it has never gone down due to excessively warm water, spokesman Ken Holt said on Monday.

Water from Long Island Sound is used to cool key components of the plant and is discharged back into the sound. The water cannot be warmer than 75 degrees and following the hottest July on record has been averaging 1.7 degrees above the limit, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.

The federal agency issued an “emergency license amendment” last week, allowing Millstone, a subsidiary of Dominion Resources Inc., to use an average temperature of several readings.

“It wasn’t enough to prevent us from shutting down,” Holt said.

In addition to the extreme heat last month, the mild winter didn’t help because it kept Long Island Sound water unusually mild, Holt said.

Robert Wilson, a professor at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, said readings show temperatures in central Long Island Sound are nearly 80 degrees, much higher than the more typical 74 degrees.

He blamed weather patterns, beginning with the mild winter and little wind that allows heat to hang around.

“If you start from warm winters, then have sustained persistent surface heating without wind stirring you get very high temperatures,” Wilson said.

Millstone provides half of all power used in Connecticut and 12 percent in New England. Its two units produce 2,100 megawatts of electricity, which is reduced by 40 percent with Unit 2 down, Holt said.

Richmond, Va.-based Dominion, which operates Millstone, does not have an estimate of when the unit will restart, he said.

Marcia Blomberg, a spokeswoman for regional grid operator ISO-New England, said the loss of electricity will not be a major problem. The Holyoke, Mass.-based agency generally operates with a margin of reserve and plans for the possibility of lost resources, she said.

“Generators are big machines,” she said. “It happens frequently that resources are unable to start up or have to power down.”

Dave Lochbaum, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ nuclear safety project, said he believes the partial Millstone shutdown is the first involving a nuclear plant pulling water from an open body of water. A few nuclear plants that draw water from inland sources have powered down due to excessively warm water, he said.

Browns Ferry nuclear plant in Alabama, for example, reduced power for 50 days in the summer of 2010 and fewer than 10 days last year, said Ray Golden, spokesman for the Tennessee Valley Authority, which operates the plant.

No power reductions were needed this year because the plant cools the water, he said.

Lochbaum said the Union of Concerned Scientists believes climate change is the reason why rivers, lakes and Long Island Sound are hotter.

“It is evidence of global warming with problems both obvious and subtle,” he said.

But Krista Lopykinski, a spokeswoman for Exelon Corp., which operates six nuclear plants in Illinois, said seeking state authorization to operate at an unchanged or higher level in response to elevated lake and river temperatures is “pretty common.”

“It happens every summer,” she said.

Still, Exelon asked for federal approval — the first time in 12 years — to continue operating when water in its cooling pond at an Illinois nuclear plant topped 100 degrees last month.

Here we go. Global warming.


TechDud said...

Yet it has been a near-record cold year here on the West Coast.
"federal approval — the first time in 12 years — to continue operating when water in its cooling pond at an Illinois nuclear plant topped 100 degrees last month."
You do have to wonder what excessive temperature can do to exacerbate corrosion & cavitation.
So surprised in Connecticut that it's not partly dead fish clogging up the plumbing, if you follow xdrfox's Contributed Stories.

Maju said...

It's quite ironic that what was sold as the energy solution for global warming is itself victim of global warming. Surely just a matter of making the heat dissipation circuit bigger (after all there are nukes working in much warmer latitudes) but still...

Solar (plus other renewables, where efficient) is the way to go, ladies and gentlemen. After all, in the long run, we can only grow as much as we efficiently use solar energy (fossil fuels are not long-term-efficient, nuclear is so expensive in long-term costs that it's even ridiculous it was ever considered as useful in any non-military way).

Chibaguy said...

My solution is to place a "state of the art" NPP in Washington D.C. and Kasumigaseki and see how many run for office afterwards. This might take a couple decades as they do not exist but would be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Well, of all the terrible nuclear news in the past year, this one is pretty insignificant.

Unless they are misleading us regarding the reason for shutting the plant down.


Anonymous said...

A few more on the hot summer...



Chibaguy said...

@anon James, I hope you are not the Japanprobe James. Not quite sure what you find insignificant. Please opine.

Anonymous said...

Hot Summer, Hot Water and Drought are amongst The Thousand Evils that threaten the nuke industry.
As we are all on the same cosmic, but not always so very comic vessel, our little planet, I can say we went near a major accident in South-West France, years ago, because of drought that dried the Garonne river that provided cooling water to a NPP.
I take as a serious metaphor what the head operator at Fuku said about the daunting work people working there did, whatever the technical and political implications.
Too dangerous, too costly, too untamable...

Anonymous said...

Level 8 ?

in french, but there are surely some same words outside on the net in english or engrish

Anonymous said...

Chibaguy - not sure who Japanprobe James is. I've been commenting on Fukushima stuff for a year as James (before he required a log in code) and then James 2 on Enenews.

I quit going there, because admin didn't like me saying Arnie Gundersen was sandbagging about the severity of the problem and put my comments on moderation. I didn't care to be moderated, so I told him/her to delete my account.

I'm no longer watching Fukushima every day - mostly because they've clamped all the information down to the point where you can no longer understand what's going on there - and that's not a good thing.

Regarding the nuke plant referenced in the article above.

It's my understanding that because of the warm weather, the cooling water they use - which comes from the ocean - was too warm to have enough safety margin for the plant, so they shut the plant down.

It doesn't say the plant overtemped, it says the water did. So, in this case, they were doing exactly what they were supposed to do, and the safety systems worked.

And I qualify the statement by saying - If they aren't lying to us.

I don't really have a problem with the way the plants seem to be operated. By and large it seems to me that they mostly do the right things.

However my problem is with the risk of catastrophic failure - exactly like we had/are having at Fukuhshima.

We simply cannot afford to insure these things - because you insure them with your countries's economic health, and with your personal health - plus a big chunk of grants and incentives


Anonymous said...

james, what does "sandbagging" mean? sorry i'm not a native speaker of english...

Maju said...

According to Wikitionary, in several games and sports, playing under one's capabilities in order to alter the stakes for bets or scoring. In card games, reverse bluffing: pretending to have a weaker hand than you actually do.

In this context it seems to mean that James thinks that Gundersen is intently underestimating the severity of the catastrophe. This is a bit harsh to say about someone who has been so vocal about Fukushima risks and damages, I'd say. Not enough? I can't say but certainly much more clear and compromised than 99% of nuclear engineers.

Anonymous said...

Oh. I thought Gundersen was hyping the "catastrophe". Leaning tower of Pisa, and cobalt 60 in Tokyo soil.

Anonymous said...

Hyping or not there are no quote marks around Fukushima catastrophe; if a level 7 INES accident is not a catastrophe what is?

Anonymous said...

Pisa tower lasted longer than Fucku 1...

Anonymous said...

Maybe sandbagging was the incorrect term.

I'll spell it out directly. Arnie knows that Fukushima Daichi #3 blew it's core on march 14th, yet he will continue to insist the spent fuel pool blew up. On several occasions, Tepco has released evidence that the core breached, but within a few days, there's Arnie again saying it didn't - but offering no contrary evidence.

I think he knows that if the public knew what really happened - that the MOX of #3 blew up - they would demand that all nukes be shut down. He really doesn't want all nukes shut down. Being anti-nuclear is his schtick..

Just my opinion, but I believe Arnie is now part of the misdirection campaign. There's a definite theme and direction to what he says, and it usually ends up coming back around to one of the industry talking points of the week.

It may have been coerced on him, or maybe he's being paid very well to say what he does. Either way, misdirection is misdirection.

If he can get you to believe Unit 4 Spent Fuel Pool is imminently going to collapse and kill off Japan - and get the world to focus on that building alone (while they refocus the cameras on that building alone) - then at the same time they can build an entire recovery structure on the back side of #3 in secret (no idea what they are doing there - they haven't said a word about it - but it's a massive project)


Anonymous said...

thanks, james, for clarification. makes sense. he was raising alarm on unit 4, and after tepco released the video of unit 4 sfp, he changed his tune and started to say unit 3 was in real danger.

by the way if you're in tokyo maybe you can catch him and ask questions. he's making some speech in some seminar or something in tokyo, where he said was so contaminated that it was like walking on nuclear waste. i'm sure he will be there with full face mask.

Anonymous said...

@James and 1:06 Maybe you would like to provide evidence of what you say, rambling of secret projects without any hint of evidence is not helpful to anyone.
Also, if Arnie is in Tokyo please indicate the time and location, readers here might want to go there. Also, Arnie might not be there with a full face mask but I am definitely reducing my kids trips to Tokyo parks and preventing them from playing with dirt and closeby to potential hotspots (gutters and the like)

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Beppe, TEPCO have been working on support structures for both Reactor 4 and Reactor 3, and it's not secret.

As for Mr. Gunderson, I'll go look for info. I've seen it on Twitter a number of times. The sample size he took from Tokyo soil seem extremely tiny though, less than 10 grams.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

There you go... http://kikuchiyumi.blogspot.com/2012/08/blog-post_16.html?spref=tw

Anonymous said...

another one...http://www.nichibenren.or.jp/event/year/2012/120902.html

naivete and gullibility of the Japanese is astounding.

Anonymous said...

Here you go:


This photo was taken from a helicopter looking west-southwest toward the complex. Right in the middle of the screen is unit 3. The closest wall is the east side of the building. On the East side, between the reactor building and the Turbine building. there is a new tin roof on an slope between the reactor floor height and the turbine building.

Notice in this picture taken on March 11 did not have the structure.


Underneath the roof is a massive steel structure.

The structure now wraps around the southeast corner of the reactor building and covers up the location of many months of spent fuel fires that have come from #3.


Anonymous said...

" I believe Arnie is now part of the misdirection campaign. "

Mmmh, perhaps you are by trying to discredit and divide folks that, more or less, work on the same side as yourself (allegedly).

Recently on the web, everyone who is not the same opinion as you, whether it is a qualified expert or not, will somehow become an enemy of the cause, because you think so.

Anonymous said...

Don't know if it helps in this discussion, but there's a handout from Tepco with pictures here:

They are mentioning a platform they installed on unit 3, but I'm a little lost with it all.

Anonymous said...

"Mmmh, perhaps you are by trying to discredit and divide folks that, more or less, work on the same side as yourself (allegedly)."

I'm not trying to divide anyone. I'm sorry if I appear to want that.

The only two sides of this story are fact and fiction.

"Recently on the web, everyone who is not the same opinion as you, whether it is a qualified expert or not, will somehow become an enemy of the cause, because you think so."

For awhile, I had hoped that Arnie was working on the side of fact, because he does appear to be a qualified expert.

But then I realized he was working toward fiction in many areas, with a few facts thrown in.

I didn't make that choice - he did. .

Perhaps you should ask him why he has made this choice.

I've come to the conclusion that there aren't any "qualified experts" in an unmitigated disaster of a nuclear meltdown.

If you don't agree with me, then they merely need to provide logic based on some level of reasonable facts to prove me wrong. I will immediately admit my error and change my mind - or at least open my mind to other possibilities if the logic is sound but the facts are weak.

If you follow what I write, you understand this - I'm on the side of logical facts - that's all.

However, if you simply want me to change my mind without any logic and without any fact - for example if you wan't me to support Arnie based on his background vs what he is saying, or in the name of "unity" - well then you likely won't have much success.


Anonymous said...

"Don't know if it helps in this discussion, but there's a handout from Tepco with pictures here:

They are mentioning a platform they installed on unit 3, but I'm a little lost with it all."

Thanks Mscharisma this is new information for me - I hadn't seen this document.

OK, so here is an example of where I'm going to have to admit I may have made an error in saying there was "secret construction going on on the east side of unit 3":

Tepco has in the past released a picture of their planned platform to work on unit 3, which EXSKF has referred to in a more recent blog post:


I hadn't made the connection between those past plans and the new structure on the west side that I see constructed. The reason I missed the connection is because the illustrated plan, and what they are building appears quite a bit different.

The sloped roof doesn't seem to fit in the platform design and the illustration does not show the structure wrapping around the southeast corner of the building, like the construction that is completed does.

Perhaps they redesigned the plans and didn't update the illustration, and the sloped roof is merely temporary to provide shelter from radiation for the construction crew.

The connection is now made with me, so I will continue to watch whether this construction appears to be for the purposes of the deconstruction platform or something else.


Anonymous said...

From what I can understand Arnie is doing an excellent work in terms of informing people. It is hard for me to believe that the nuclear industry is pleased with what he says. Just my personal opinion here.
From his video it looks like he took small samples but he probably took them from hot spots he searched with a geiger counter. I have no reason to believe that he faked the analysis to claim he found cobalt where there was none. Besides, other people also have found contaminated sludge in Tokyo parks (sorry, I don't remember where that was).
Is unit 4 in a better or worse shape than 3? I do not know, making a call on this is way above my knowledge. I just wish they did not explode in the first place...
Anyways, overall I have trouble believing Arnie is part of some conspiracy to support the nuclear industry.
Good night,

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's hard to believe that Arnie is supporting the nuclear industry.

You don't have to believe it. However if the industry did want to co-opt the anti nuke movement who better to get under contract than Arnie?

Then they could subtly change his messaging to say what they want him to say and not say what they don't want him to say.

I've seen his messaging change in that way - very subtly - but different than before - and more in line with what the industry party line is. In addition, he's come into some money - he's traveling all over now, doing appearances, doing scientific study. He's upgraded the website, he's upgraded his wardrobe, but he's downgraded the information he provides.

For example Arnie along with Busby were among the early ones to comment on "hot particles" on the west coast of the US. They meant plutonium. However he's long forgotten about plutonium. Don't you think he would be looking for it in Tokyo?

And the whole "#4 spent fuel pool is about to fall down and kill everybody" is clearly overhyped - and Arnie keeps saying long past when the hype should have been toned down. There's nothing, other than more fuel assemblies that they've revealed about SFP4 that doesn't exist in the others.

The problem with #4 is not from the Spent fuel pool - it's from whatever unidentified objects exploded and blew the building apart that is located in the vicinity of the machinery or dryer pool. If that was MOX that was about to go into the reactor - then yeah, #4 is a big mess.

In my opinion #3 is the bigger problem - much bigger and has been from the beginning . #3 clearly blew out it's core in the explosion - they found rod fragments kilometers away - which is catastrophic for the MOX fuel business, the industry and anybody downwind of it. #3 is the one they cannot humans close to. #3 had a spent fuel fire that burned for many months. #3 has some kind of pit on its north end that spews smoke steam from deep in the ground.


Anonymous said...

Beppe, cobalt 60 is used to calibrate a radiation detector. If the soil in Tokyo contains that large amount of cobalt 60 as Gundersen claims, it's safe to assume many samples taken in Tokyo by other people would have cobalt 60. They don't, and cobalt 60 is easy to spot. And you may be aware that only a few grams of samples would give highly unreliable test results, particularly when NaI scintillation survey meter is used for a short period of testing time.

He's an activist. Or on the side of the anti-nuclear activists because that gives him jobs that make money. Or he is a businessman who wants business for his consulting business of nuclear reactor decontamination.

No he's not doing a good job of informing people. He is good at promoting himself on the impressionable, gullible populace in Japan and in the US. Very short on facts.

But hey, who cares about facts? Such minor details!

Anonymous said...

@10:51 I learnt quite a few things about npp from Gundersen talks; other sources (NHK, BBC) are not nearly as good and they are funded by the same taxpayer that is footing the bill of Tepco mess up.
You should have listened to Japanese TV (NHK) and the goverment in the aftermath of the disaster: they could not even get the units of measure right: milli, micro, dose, dose rate, all mixed up.You need to prove that Gundersen is making significant money out of his activity and that he has a conflict of interest. if he makes a little money for his work I have no problem whatsoever with that. As to youself you do not even care to write a fake name below your post; whom should I trust?

Anonymous said...

I suspected it was not that secret, James seemed to believe it's a secret project...

Anonymous said...


Oh yes I was listening to Japanese TV from the start of the disaster. Why don't you prove that Gundersen is not making significant money, instead of relying on others? Why don't you look at how Gundersen supports himself. He charges for his hour just as much as lawyers to write up something or appear in court for the environmentalists who want to stop nuke plants at all cost. He's on the side of these activists because that makes money right now. Why should you trust him, and diss any experts on the other side, simply because he happens to be the same side as you?

No, I don't care to put a fake name under my post, like you do.

Anonymous said...

@10:54 Tepco lied for years falsifying maintenance records and making big money out of a monopoly position. Electricity rates in Japan are among the highest in the world, Tepco had all the money it needed to at least reduce the consequences of Fukushima.
Should I believe to Tepco? Doesn't Tepco have a conflict of interest?

The Japanese government increased the contamination limits for food after the accident and told me there was no "immediate danger for health". The Swiss embassy recommended to evacuate Tokyo if you had children *before* the fallout from Fukushima reached here, not the Japanese goverment.
Should I believe the Japanese government?

You: I do not even know what other posts you wrote because you do not have the face to sign your name. Why should I believe you are in good faith?

Nuclear industry does not seem to make economic sense, unless you need an excuse to stockpile plutonium; why should not people, environmentalists included, want to shut it down? Ask people in Fukushima whether they want more of the same, or ask in Chernobyl.

If you accuse Gundersen of doing it for the money only the burden of the proof is on you, not on me. Besides, I bet he is cheaper than, say, Tepco president and, from my point of view, far less pernicious.

Anonymous said...

Anon above, so you post, accusing other anons for being anon, posting as anon yourself. LOL. You forgot to put your fake name.

Why is it that whenever someone writes "Gundersen" there come people like you who have to defend him?

- from another anon.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 10:24:
I cannot speak for other people, but I am one of those who are tempted to defend Gunderson. I, too, have my issues with some things he does, i.e., often times voicing careless inaccuracies that tend to undermine credibility. However, I am seriously grateful for any industry insider who speaks up about the dangers of nuclear power and, in the process, explains technically complex things in understandable terms to "the rest of us". If he happens to get rich in the process, fine with me.

Anonymous said...

mscharisma, it's the other way around. profit first, and happens to explain some things for the rest of us along the way.

I cannot tolerate "experts" who are still loose on facts and figures after 17 months. It's one thing to speculate, like he and others did, when the data was sketchy and no one else dared speculate. There was a great value in what they did, whether it turned out true or false. But continuing to be flimsy or extremely light on facts after all this time is plain sloppy, if not deceiving.

Anonymous said...

@ anon at 5:16:
I'm not so worried about the profit-first part. We all need to look out for ourselves and make a living.
I do agree with you on the problem with being loose on facts. Doesn't sit well with me either. But nonetheless, at least he speaks up. Not a heck of a lot of other "experts" around who do that. And it seems we're in dire need of it!

Anonymous said...

Well, bias is such that when experts on the other side of Gundersen et al do speak up, they are summarily dismissed as "government/industry shills".

That is not conductive to our grasping the situation either.

It's an echo chamber.

Anonymous said...

@ anon at 5:16:
Agree. However, it's those experts on the other side that told us NPPs are safe, that lead us to believe that seriously bad will come to us using them. As we see all too clearly, we have been mislead. So if given the choice which experts to believe in respect to nuclear technology, I rather err on the side of caution. The cautious voice out there seems to be Gunderson.

Anonymous said...

mscharisma, caution is one thing, hyperbole, misrepresentation and outright falsification are totally another.

Anonymous said...

Once again, I agree. However - and I admit I have limited understanding/knowledge of technical things - I have not come across outright falsification or much hyperbole with Gunderson. Some yes, and also careless inaccuracies, which I find quite disappointing. But the majority of the information and insight he provides seems to check out according to what I can gather from other sources.

Anonymous said...

Gundersen hyperbole?
- Unit 4 SFP has no water.
- Unit 4 SFP is leaking from the bottom and water going straight to the basement.
- Unit 4 is leaning like the Tower of Pisa.
- Tokyo soil is highly contaminated, with cobalt 60 (from less than 10 grams of cherry-picked soil samples).
- 1 million people will die from Fukushima accident (since when is he a medical doctor?), oh wait I heard 2 million.
- "hot particles" in Seattle
- bluefin tuna in California have "unexpectedly high" cesium.

Misrepresentation? Like presenting the number of becquerels of a particular nuclide in liters or cubic meters, when the standard for that is in cubic centimeters and milliliters. Shocking big numbers to lay people, but for industry people, it was like ".... huh?"

I'll stop. There's absolutely no point in listing them. People believe what they want to believe, fact or no fact, due to lack of knowledge or lack of will to learn.

Maju said...

What exactly is, according to your anonymous opinion wrong with those statements? (Sign your comments, would you?)

Tokyo soil is highly contaminated by patches (not "cherry-picked", just irregular) and the Japanese government is in denial and does nothing to patch (never mind to solve) the problem other than negate reality. That alone (and is just a detail in the whole nuclear catastrophe) is a most serious crime against humankind.

All the rest AFAIK is also correct according to available data.

You were first saying that Gundersen was downplaying the catastrophe, now you accuse him of exaggerating. You are just persuading me that Gundersen is (with the usual due caution) a most legitimate source of qualified information.

Information that we are not getting from anybody else: the USA stopped reporting radiation data soon after Fukushima, Japan is just lying 90% of the time, etc.

The People has the right to reliable information, the People has the right to adequate compensation and relocation: they are not just pawns in the nuclear wargames but subjects of rights and, in theory at least, the root of all legitimacy by the allegedly "democratic" (haw, haw!) governments of Japan, the USA and Canada, who are instead allowing their citizens to get poisoned and probably suffer and die just because the Nuclear Mafia controls them.

"The industry" you say? The Mafia I call them!

Anonymous said...

Maju, like I said, hopeless, if you think all those points are "correct". Keep on believing.

Anonymous said...

All right, I am convinced: Gundersen is a greedy mercenary and the nuclear industry is a charity. Gundersen is imprecise whereas the "experts" never lie, never mislead, never provide incomplete information and those are the people I should trust.

Or maybe not, maybe I will keep giving Gundersen cash for nothing (hourly rate = infinity!), just to help him doing what he does. I already give cash to the nuclear industry through my taxes so I can be fair to both sides and reduce the echo chamber effect.


Anonymous said...

@ anon at 10:42:
Thanks for the info. Without the context, however, it is relatively difficult to evaluate and comment on it.

Generally, yes, I have heard these or like statements from Gundersen. He explained and/or backed up every single one of them, though not always in the same broadcast or document. And it is definitely one of the things that bothers me tremendously because it is misleading and undermines his credibility. In my opinion, unnecessarily so, and it is not acceptable from a professional.

Bottom line for me: Has he erred at times? Yes - as have others. Is he touting his own horn a bit much for my personal taste? Definitely.
But for me it doesn't change that (yet) that he is a valuable resource and important contributor when it comes to raising public awareness about the dangers of nuclear technology. Not perfect, but better than nothing or equally/even less reliable information and outright falsehoods from "the other side." I rather have someone cry out in alarm in error on occasion than hearing the "all is safe," "all is under control" etc. BS from the other side that has far reaching and long-term negative, if not deadly consequences.

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