Posts Tagged safety
There is a good deal of misinformation being circulated about the potential harm to people in Japan from plutonium present in mixed oxide (MOX) fuel in the unit 3 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi. The real story comes from an independent group of scientists who make up the American Nuclear Society Special Committee on Nuclear Non-Proliferation . Their conclusion?
Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuel has been used safely in nuclear power reactors for decades. The presence of a limited number of MOX fuel assemblies at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 has not had a significant impact on the ability to cool the reactor or on any radioactive releases from the site due to damage from the earthquake and tsunami.
Government Experts Say There Are No Environmental Impacts That Would Prevent Indian Point Nuclear Plant From Operating for 20 More Years.
The environment would remain safe if Indian Point nuclear plant operates for another 20 years. That’s the opinion of a team of scientists and engineers on the staff of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Operating licenses for the two reactors at Indian Point nuclear plant in New York will expire in 2013 and 2015. Entergy, the plant’s owner has applied for a license renewal to allow the plants to operate for an additional 20 years. A major portion of the application is this detailed study of the environmental impact of allowing the plant to continue operation. Read the rest of this entry »
Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) are getting a lot of attention in the nuclear industry because they offer great potential for lower initial capital investment, scalability, and they come in sizes more appropriate for locations unable to accommodate larger 1000+ MW units. However, there are some big potential advantages that have not been widely discussed that could make SMRs a game-changer. These advantages are the potential for enhanced safety and security.
Let me explain.
This has been a deadly year for fossil fuels in the United States. In February five workers lost their lives in an explosion at the Kleen Energy natural gas power plant in CT. Then in April 29 coal miners perished in a mining accident at the Massey Energy coal mine in West Virginia. Of course that was followed by the disaster on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform that killed 11 workers and caused a massive oil spill that is contaminating hundreds of miles of coastline.
With events like these (and others similar events around the world), and our growing reliance on huge quantities of imported oil and natural gas, it is time for America to expand its domestic supply of uranium.
On this show I was joined by a panel of experts who discussed efforts underway in Virginia to unlock the vast potential of uranium resources that have been discovered there. My guests were:
- Aaron Ruby from the Virginia Energy Independence Alliance
- Patrick Wales, the project manager and geologist for Virginia Uranium, Inc, and
- Lisa Stiles, a nuclear engineer with many years experience in the nuclear industry, and a former president of NA-YGN and the International Youth Nuclear Congress.
Topics we discussed included why allowing safe uranium mining in Virginia is so important, the huge untapped Coles Hill uranium deposit, uranium mining safety, and the many benefits that developing the Coles Hill mine would bring to an economically depressed region.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorized the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to issue regulations making it a Federal crime to introduce explosives into facilities and installations containing nuclear materials. The new rules go into affect in April 2010 and specify fines of up to $5,000 and jail time up to one year for anyone who “willfully” introduces firearms or explosives into a facility regulated by the NRC. The new rule authorizes the FBI and other federal agencies to investigate and prosecute the cases.
On the surface it seems like a good idea, right? Unfortunately, it’s yet another example of regulation without added safety benefit. Anyone who has ever been in a nuclear facility knows it is illegal to bring weapons and firearms through the gate. There are already signs posted, and violators of the rules could already be charged and prosecuted under state laws. According to the NRC, there have been occasions where workers or vendors accidentally brought weapons on site, but never intentionally or with intent to do harm, so I have to wonder what problem they are trying to fix?
Today is Blog Action Day 2009 and this year’s topic is Climate Change.
Is man made climate change real or not? Heck, I don’t know. What I DO know is this: whether or not human activity is causing global warming or not, there are certain things that it just makes sense for us to be doing.
We need to wean ourselves off of imported fossil fuels as our primary energy source. Oil and gas won’t last forever and prices are sure to rise as supplies dwindle and demand grows. Imported fossil fuels come from places in the world that have amassed huge amounts of wealth at our expense. A lot of that money is funding people who want to kill us and destroy the freedoms that millions of people have died to earn and to protect. Read the rest of this entry »
An interesting article at ReliablePlant.com about safety improvements at US commercial nuclear plants after the TMI partial core meltdown 30 years ago. Yes, the title of this article is true, but there is more:
When it comes to safety, added layers of protection only enhance nuclear energy’s capability to provide clean, efficient power, with performance levels increasing steadily over time. In 2008, U.S. nuclear plants surpassed coal, natural gas, oil and all other fuels that make electricity by operating to more than 90 percent of their total rated capacity. Nuclear plants also generated approximately 805.7 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity last year, enough to serve the total year’s electricity needs of one-fifth the U.S. population.
I’ve been enjoying the recent rash of pro-nuclear editorials in newspapers and other traditional media over the last several months. I think this is a sign that momentum is building for transition from passive public support to a more active, vocal cry for more nuclear in our energy mix.
Here are some examples:
On the comparison of nuclear power plants to atomic bombs
A nuclear power plant is a radically different machine, designed with great care to convert nuclear fission into steady power over a period of years. You couldn’t turn a nuclear reactor into a bomb any more easily than you could power your house with a hand grenade.