Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sweden's Ringhals Nuclear Reactor Shut Down Due to Seawater Infiltration, "No Safety Problem"

No details as to where in the system the seawater infiltrated.

From Channel News Asia, Quoting AFP (12/21/2012; emphasis is mine):

Swedish nuclear reactor shut after sea water infiltration

STOCKHOLM - A reactor in Sweden's biggest nuclear plant was stopped on Thursday after an infiltration of sea water, the operator Vattenfall and the national nuclear industry watchdog said.

"There is no safety problem" at Reactor 4 at the Ringhals plant near Gothenburg in the country's southwest, nuclear authority inspector Jan Gällsjo told the national TT news agency.

He added that the presence of salt water in the pressurised water system was nonetheless an anomaly which needed to be fixed.

Earlier this month, a reactor at another Swedish nuclear plant was shut down after the nuclear watchdog said the operator had failed to comply with its safety requirements, safety officials said.

The Oskarshamn plant's number two reactor was taken out of service after the operator was unable to show the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority that standard maintenance work had been performed on two diesel generators used for emergency power supply.

Some 35 percent of electricity in Sweden is generated from nuclear power.

- AFP/al

In July this year, Reactor 2 at the same nuclear power plant shut down 9 hours after it was restarted, for causes unknown.

Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant in Shizuoka Prefecture had a problem of having seawater in the pressurized water reactor system last year. It turned out to be a very big problem.


Anonymous said...

OT: Have you read this article and its comments regarding Fukushima?

It's the largest cesspool of ignorant delusional people that I've seen thus far. Among other warped misunderstandings, they seem to believe that any kind of concern for the dangers of radiation is nothing but "sensationalism".

There's really no hope for humanity.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Thanks for the link but it was hard for me to take it or the links from the site seriously. Too disgusting. What an insult to the workers.

There is no middle ground left. On one side is people like this, on the other side is another type of hysteria (which now includes still growing scream that the December election was rigged and fraudulent).

Anonymous said...

It is true it's very difficult to be rational about such things!
The fact that no worker has died of radiation exposure yet is not surprising, given the now 26 years of knowledge since Tchernobyl:
Look at page 58 (V. Early health effects, figure VII, most exposed workers).
There are no short-term deaths below 2 Gy. However, the lowest range, which corresponds to the most affected Fukushima workers, does show some later deaths, attributable at least partly to the accident.
So even though the "these-50-will-die" hysteria is just hysteria indeed, and their dose is below the acute radiation syndrome level, these workers will definitely run a higher cancer risk in their later life.
Therefore, the minimum TEPCO & the government should do is guarantee them frequent health checkups to detect any early sign!

Anonymous said...

These countries that get frigid temperatures in winter made a huge mistake relying on nuclear power. Big lumbering electric plants that fall apart, require electricity from coal/nat gas plants, breakdown often (When's the last time anyone's had a major problem at a coal-fired plant?), catastrophic consequences in case of true disaster, and a giant money hog. I don't want anyone to freeze to death. Being from the NE USA I understand freezing temps (Although it's been getting more mild here.), but what happens when those plants get shutdown due to damage for months, sometimes years? We have so much natural gas that fueling these plants should not be a problem, its CHEAP, and it's abundant. I'd rather have my state build extra FF plants, shut off the nukers, start investing in diverse "green" power plants, and overtime phase in a distributed power grid taking advantage of the renewables to lower FF usage on greater and greater levels till a minimum of FF plants are needed. A nice distributed grid of energy production does not need nuclear, in fact it squanders all monetary resources, and will become more sustainable and diverse and resilient over time. It's also cheaper. Pretty clear what we need to be investing in. No one would have to be left in the cold. We just have to convince these "econuts" that have reality twisted from the nuke propaganda. Have they had rolling blackouts from these shutdown plants? That's something to ponder here.

Also, is this saying salt water got into the primary loop? That would be horrible. How can that even happen without large holes in the heat exchanger?

Anonymous said...

Noble gases, tritium and that radioactive cobalt was released...of course other man made radionuclides were released because it is unavoidable even when the plant is normal operational status.

Bet those sensitive sensors picked up abnormal readings a long time ago but the operator elected to ignore the warnings until the fuel cycle was completed.

With Chernobyl and now Fukushima's added background radiation levels just about any release is within parameters lately.

Atomfritz said...

Wow, that's great news.
Ringhals is always a good source of bad news.
Fyi, just a small selection of recent Ringhals news:

Last year a Ringhals containment fire caused by a vacuum cleaner had been covered up almost half a year:

In October a group of 16 anti-nuclear activists entered restricted areas of Ringhals and succeeded to hide from the guards for more than 24 hours:

Unknown people succeeded to smuggle explosives and store them into the Ringhals and Gothenburg restricted area. However, the bomb devices were detected when they attempted to transfer them into the heavily guarded reactor area, concealed in another delivery:

netudiant said...

Salt water infiltration presumably is a gentle way of saying either the primary or the secondary cooling circuit is contaminated with salt water. Neither is a routine or easily corrected problem.
Most likely is contamination of the secondary loop, which feeds the steam turbines, because that is the leg that gets sea water cooling. As turbines require very pure water to avoid damage, it is unlikely that the problem was ignored for long, but it still means damage to the heat exchangers, a costly and difficult to fix component.
However, it is likely that the damaged component can be isolated from the circuit so that the system can be restored to operation, perhaps at reduced power, after the clean out of the contamination is completed.

Atomfritz said...

Yes, and it is not even clear yet whether the salinity already got high enough to do much damage.
According to the wording, it could even be a stoppage due to detection of mere trace quantities.

So my delight about another potentially ruined NPP might have been premature.
The Swedish nuclear authority didn't yet post news about this on their web page.

Atomfritz said...

But Ringhals wasn't in the focus of the Swedish public so much recently.

The Oskarshamn plant was more present in the Swedish media. Yesterday the Swedish nuclear safety authority (SSM) published this on their web page:

"Operations at the nuclear power plant in Oskarshamn, OKG, have problems in several areas. It shows the total lack of security."
"For a long time, the SSM criticized a number of problem areas at the nuclear power plant in Oskarshamn, OKG. But the company has not managed to overcome the problems."
"This means that we are forced to act."

Of course the SSM is pro-nuke, and allows the nuke plant to continue operating:
"The decision SSM today has made also means that OKG must report its decision to restart Authority before the company can restart any of the reactors after a planned or unplanned stoppages."

If I read this correctly, Oskarshamn could have a good chance to have an accident soon, as they'll try to not shut down the reactor even if problems occur.

If your betting office offers bidding on nuclear accidents, bidding on Oskarshamn could be a good idea.


Kanook said...

What happened "really" at Fukushima

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