bad economics nuclear, Berne, Boston, cracked reactor shroud, Entergy, Environment and Public Works, finances nuclear safety, Markey, Massachusetts, Muehleberg nuclear power station, NRC oversight, nuclear accident, nuclear disaster, nuclear energy, nuclear phase out, nuclear power, nuclear safety, oversight, Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, radioactive waste, renewable energy, Switzerland, tie rods, US NRC, US Senate
Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station near Boston Massachusetts, owned by New Orleans based Entergy, will be shut down in 2019, apparently because they don’t want to invest $100 million to bring it back to a “normal” safety level. Meanwhile this 43 year old nuclear power station, with notorious Fukushima style GE Mark 1 containment, will continue to endanger the public for almost 4 more years of operations; then around 5 years while the spent nuclear fuel cools. Then, the radioactive waste will be either Massachusetts’, or someone else’s problem, for longer than humans have walked the face of the earth. The spent nuclear fuel, and decommissioned nuclear power station radioactive waste rubble will have to go someplace. In a just world, it would go to Amherst, Massachusetts, in the backyard of Ed Calabrese, who promotes radiation as good for you; to DC, and to Rockville Maryland, home of the NRC. See: “US NRC – Spreading the Italian Triangle of Death to America? Refuse Omertà. Remember to Comment by November 19th (extended)” http://wp.me/p2FMRA-57E
“The remaining period of operation of Pilgrim needs to be with the utmost attention to safety and security, and must include rigorous oversight by the NRC to ensure that Entergy has and is spending the resources needed… Last month, the NRC listed the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Massachusetts in “Column 4” of its reactor safety ratings, its least safe rating for an operating reactor. The rating means that Pilgrim has had multiple and repetitive safety problems that require increased NRC oversight“(US Senator Ed Markey, 13 Oct. 2015). Markey knows better than anyone that the NRC does not do rigorous oversight. He’s been dealing with them for decades. Rather, the NRC is apparently preparing for imminent nuclear disaster by entertaining the possibility of increasing legal radiation exposure levels by 100 fold, which will result in an additional 80 cancers per 100 people, or more, over the course of a short lifetime (70 years). See: http://wp.me/p2FMRA-57E
Population within the 50 mile evacuation zone for Pilgrim is over 4.6 million people and includes Boston. http://www.psr.org/resources/evacuation-zone-nuclear-reactors.html There can be deaths, in the short term, due to acute radiation exposure, as far as 60 miles away from a nuclear accident. (p.5) See: “Chernobyl on the Hudson“, http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/legacy/assets/documents/nuclear_power/indianpointhealthstudy.pdf
The US doesn’t have the monopoly on this stupidity. The Swiss intend to continue to operate Mühleberg Nuclear Reactor, a GE model of almost the same age, until 2019, even though it has had a cracked reactor shroud since the 1990s, and may be at risk due to flooding from earthquake induced dam failure, rain, etc. A Swiss court ordered it shut down, but was overruled. It has been estimated that an accident there would cost 4200 billion in losses (71 times the Swiss National Budget for 2012), 100,000 acutely irradiated due to the fact that there is no warning for nuclear disasters, and around a million or more long-term evacuees, as well as devastating Swiss farm and grazing land. Although it’s not in the EU, in the center of the European continent, it could have devastating impacts on Europe itself. Pilgrim and Muehleberg have tie rods to support the reactor shroud. (See more after Markey press release).
“Senator Markey Statement on Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Boston (October 13, 2015) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), released the following statement today after Entergy announced the permanent closure of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station by 2019. Senator Markey has been a leading voice in Congress on nuclear reactor safety and oversight.
Last month, the NRC listed the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Massachusetts in “Column 4” of its reactor safety ratings, its least safe rating for an operating reactor. The rating means that Pilgrim has had multiple and repetitive safety problems that require increased NRC oversight. Restoring a reactor from Column 4 back to normal levels of NRC oversight is estimated to cost more than $100 million. Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc., based in Louisiana, is the operator of the facility, and additionally operates the only other two reactors in the country that are listed in Column 4. Last week, Senator Markey questioned all of the NRC Commissioners at an EPW hearing about whether Entergy had the financial resources it needed to safely operate its reactors.
“While nuclear energy was once advertised as being too cheap to meter, it is increasingly clear that it is actually too expensive to matter. Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is just the latest example of how nuclear power simply cannot compete in the current energy market. And alongside the economic conditions that Entergy blames this closure on, there also have been decades-long and repetitive operational safety and security concerns with the facility that have contributed to this announcement. The remaining period of operation of Pilgrim needs to be with the utmost attention to safety and security, and must include rigorous oversight by the NRC to ensure that Entergy has and is spending the resources needed.
“As the plant moves towards permanent shut down, priority must be given and special attention paid to worker assistance and transition training. The workers at Pilgrim are committed, skilled and valuable and have been an important part of economic activity in the region. The NRC must also ensure Entergy dedicates adequate financial and technical resources to remove the spent nuclear fuel from the overcrowded spent fuel pool and decommission the reactor quickly. We cannot allow the public to pay the price if Entergy comes up short on the bill to safely close this plant.
“With this announcement we must also recognize that the time is now in New England and around the nation to rapidly transition towards the safe, affordable clean energy of wind, solar and geothermal power and continue to invest in energy efficiency and making the vehicles on our roads even more fuel efficient.” http://www.markey.senate.gov/news/press-releases/senator-markey-statement-on-pilgrim-nuclear-power-station (Unfortunately, as of the present, there is apparently no safe solution available for spent nuclear fuel. See http://sanonofresafety.org Also do a search for Holtec within the Mining Awareness blog. Rather, they need to add more spent fuel pools until a safe solution is found. A lot of good people have gotten fooled on this topic, too.)
Thanks to Flying Cuttlefish of Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle for the heads up on this topic: https://lasinkhole.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/new-orleans-npp/
Interesting that the Pilgrims were Calvinists, and Switzerland is where Calvin made his home.
“The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) points out in their report that cracks that completely penetrated the shroud affect the flow of water coolant during regular operation, which could lead to a disruption of the coordination of power output and the water flow (NRC, 1996). Also, the NRC warned that significant problems concerning safety could be triggered when the shroud is demolished and separated due to the pipe rupture accident at the main steam pipe or recirculation pipe, which disrupt the function core spray system and control rod drive.” http://www.cnic.jp/english/newsletter/nit92/nit92articles/nit92shroud.html
“Industry experience has shown that boiling-water reactor (BWR) core shroud welds are subject to intergranular stress-corrosion cracking and/or irradiation-assisted cracking (IGSCC/IASCC). As a result, the staff issued Generic Letter (GL) 94-03, “Intergranular Stress Corrosion Cracking of Core Shrouds at Boiling Water Reactors [BWRs],” which led BWR facilities to perform detailed inspections and analyses of the core shrouds to determine susceptibility to this phenomenon. Pilgrim installed core shroud tie rod assemblies in 1995, on a pre-emptive basis in lieu of ultrasonic (UT) inspection of the core shroud horizontal welds. The tie rods functionally replace the shroud horizontal H1 through H10 welds. The General Electric Company (GE) designed and installed the Pilgrim tie rod assemblies. GE provided core shroud repairs using tie rods to many other domestic BWR plants. By letter dated January 16, 1995, Boston Edison Company, the previous licensee, submitted a repair of the Pilgrim core shroud by installation of four tie rods to the NRC staff for review and approval. The staff, in its letter dated May 12, 1995, found the proposed repair acceptable as allowed by the requirements of 10 CFR 50.55a(a)(3)(i). In spring 2006, cracking was discovered in the tie rod upper supports at Hatch Unit 1 during an in-vessel visual inspection (IVVI). The apparent root cause is IGSCC in the Alloy X-750 tie rod upper support material. Alloy X-750 material is susceptible to IGSCC, if subjected to sustained, large peak stress conditions.” (“SAFETY EVALUATION BY THE OFFICE OF NUCLEAR REACTOR REGULATION REQUEST FOR AUTHORIZATION FOR MODIFICATION OF THE CORE SHROUD TIE RODS, ENTERGY NUCLEAR OPERATIONS, INC., PILGRIM NUCLEAR POWER STATION, DOCKET NO. 50-293” http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML0724/ML072420161.pdf
Tie Rods to support cracked shroud at Muehleberg Nuclear Power Station: http://nni.ecology.at/index.php?p=site&s=191
More on Muehleberg Nuclear Power Station
Sortir du Nucleaire Press Release from 2013 states that 100,000 will be irradiated due to the fact that nuclear accidents give no warning. While they say 900,000 long-term evacuees, this is probably only for a 30 km, approx 18 mile evacuation zone. They say that there will be 4,200 billion in losses, which is 71 times the Swiss Confederation budget for 2012. It will render half of the Swiss plateau unusable for farming. This is based on the 1995 Katanos study of the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Protection. Losses are in Swiss francs but the $ has a similar value. See: http://www.sortirdunucleaire.ch/content/page/pdf/communiques/sdn_20130328_Muhleberg_TF.pdf