Sunday, October 28, 2012

US New Jersey Nuke Plants Brace for Hurricane Sandy aka "Frankenstorm"

As the article below points out, stopping the nuclear fission by inserting the control rods is just one initial step. You have to keep cooling the reactor core.

If external power supply fails, New Jersey's four nuclear reactors will continue to be cooled by pumps powered by backup generators which are supposed to last for seven days.

To assure people further, article says:

Such containment structures are tough enough to withstand the impact of a 747 airliner crashing into it.

From (10/28/2012):

Hurricane Sandy and N.J. nuclear power plants: Keeping it cool in high winds

On Sunday, New Jersey’s four nuclear power stations, along with another dozen or so along the Eastern Seaboard,were prepped to deal with Hurricane Sandy as that massive storm crawls up the East Coast toward the Garden State.

Federal regulators require nuclear reactors to be in a safe shutdown condition at least two hours before hurricane force winds strike, according to Alec Marion, VP of nuclear operations at the Nuclear Energy Institute, an energy industry association.

Typically, plant operators begin shutting down reactors about 12 hours before winds exceeding 74 miles per hour arrive.

One of the most significant challenges in the shutting down process is keeping the reactor core cool. Stopping the fission, or atom-splitting, process can be accomplished simply by lowering control rods into the core. However, the heat-producing decay of nuclear materials continues long after fission is terminated – at high intensity for days and at progressively lower intensity for very long periods.

Because potentially dangerous heat levels persist, it is essential that cooling pumps continue to operate long after the reactor has been shut down.

When the reactor is operating, it produces abundant electricity, enough to power tens of thousands of homes and businesses and power its own cooling pumps. When it is shut down, the reactor requires electricity produced at other, distant generating plants to power its cooling pumps. If hurricane force winds, or some other phenomenon, damage the power lines connecting a shut-down nuclear station to the power grid, there are emergency generators located at each nuclear station that can supply power to the cooling pumps.

At the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan last year, the plants were cut off from the national power grid and the emergency generators were also knocked out of service by a powerful Tsunami, a gigantic wave of sea water created by a nearby earthquake.

Nuclear operators such as Exelon and PSE&G in New Jersey seek to locate and protect emergency generators and other key equipment so that they are unlikely to be affected by strong winds or unusually high tides. Federal regulations require that companies keep a minimum seven days of fuel on site to keep generators operating.

There are four nuclear generating stations in Jersey: Salem I, Salem II, and Hope Creek all situated next to one another in Salem County on Delaware Bay; and Oyster Creek located in Lacey Township near the Jersey Shore. Each of these reactors is enclosed in a containment building, a protective shell of four-foot-thick concrete designed to keep radioactive materials from escaping in case of emergency. Such containment structures are tough enough to withstand the impact of a 747 airliner crashing into it.


Anonymous said...


What's that quote?
"The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray."

Anonymous said...

"Such containment structures are tough enough to withstand the impact of a 747 airliner crashing into it".

This is a TOTAL BS lie they have never crashed a 747 into a containment structure the closest they ever came was running a small F4 jet on rails into a concrete barrier and extrapolating the effect. 747's have huge counter weights made of depleted uranium and thousands of gallons of highly flammable jet fuel. Even if the structure survives there are plenty of non-hardened structures nearby who's destruction would still cause a meltdown. Another thing to keep in mind is this test was done in 1988 to calm peoples Chernobyl fears so it was rigged. If you watch the video you'll notice a distinct lack of flames during and after the impact this is because the scientist who designed the test knew intense fire can damage concrete so they propelled the jet with solid rocket motors. Sandia national labs said that they used water in the plane's fuel tanks to simulate the mass of jet fuel, because "the effects of fire following such a collision was not a part of the test." (not part of the test for a reason)

I want to see a fully laden 777 or 380 plow into a decommissioned power plant if it survives then they can start bragging.

Anonymous said...

OT: Sunday Washington post article on Japanese optimists losing faith in a Japan.

"TOKYO — Jesper Koll, an economist who’s lived in Japan for 26 years, says it’s not easy for him to keep faith in a country that’s shrinking, aging, stuck in protracted economic gloom and losing fast ground to China as the region’s dominant power.

“I am the last Japan optimist,” Koll said in a recent speech in Tokyo."

"the group has turned gradually into non­believers, with several of the last hold­outs losing faith only recently, as Japan has failed to carry out meaningful reforms after the March 2011 triple disaster".

See more at article:

another link in case the first one dies

Anonymous said...

The earlier they shut down the reactors the less electricity will be needed to cool down the reactors when the storm hits and the larger the safety margin in case anything goes wrong... of course the ealier they insert the control rods the more money they lose.

Also, when did they test the emergency generators the last time? Are all the generators operative or is any of them under maintenance? Are all external lines operative or is any of them under maintenance?

See? Fossil fuel powerplants can be just shut down, npp can not.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoy this 747 claim. If they're right (and I agree with the commenter above that they probably aren't right), but if they're right, that's one thing we would not need to worry about. But as we've seen, the crashing 747 scenario can't compare with the incompetent opererator scenario (a factor in all of the major incidents to date) or the bought regulator scenario (a factor in several of the major incidents to date). And I'm wondering what happens WHEN (not if but WHEN) the planet experiences another oceanic island flank collapse (rare event yes, but will happen again someday) and the subsequent mega tsunami. You know there are so many scenarios that do not involve a 747 (or even two 747's) that I take almost no comfort from the "fact" that some expert believes the building could survive the energy of the impact of a 747. Nuclear power requires perfection. We are not perfect. Nuclear power gone wrong kills people, destroys DNA, destroys communities, destroys food production for decades, destroys countries, destroys economies. It is simply not something that humans should be involve in.

Greyhawk said...

I hate to tell these people but that hurricane is a hell of a lot bigger than an airplane.

Anonymous said...

The twin towers were specifically designed to withstand impacts from airplanes too. If we're to believe their story of what happened there, then... well...

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing..

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