311, boiloff, containment failure, cooling systems, core slump, core uncovery, Depressurization, design defet, design vulnerability, diesel, diesel generators, electrical defect, electrical defects, electrical engineers, electrical fault, emergency core cooling systems, essential service waster systems, Fukushima Daiichi, GE, Germany, Japan, lightening strikes, LOCA, loss of cooling, Louisiana, major hazards, March III nuclear reactor, Mark I Nuclear Reactor, meltdown, motors, nuclear disasters, nuclear energy, nuclear power, Nuclear Power Station Black Out, nuclear waste, power surge, pressure, pumps, repressurization, River Bend, SAFER, Safety, South Carolina, Station Blackout, Texas, the brave seven, threat, TVA, US NRC engineers, Utah, valves, voltage, warning
Currently Germany is attempting to send 455 casks large casks of high level spent nuclear fuel, from solid storage facilities, to sit outside under tarp in South Carolina, for a decade, awaiting probable dilution and burial in Texas, Utah, or elsewhere, USA. Shockingly, the Environmental Assessment itself says so. See: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/03/05/germany-to-empty-93-of-concrete-bunker-of-nuclear-waste-to-send-to-usa-to-sit-outside-under-tarp-bury-oppose-by-march-11th-at-11-59-pm-deadline-looms/ (This was updated to include screen shots of the pages explaining the “fabric covers”.)
Update: The US DOE has unofficially (not published in Federal Register) extended the German waste dumping comment deadline. To be anonymous you will have to send a disposable email, or send it by post with no return address. People should have the right to “vote” anonymously. “Comments may be submitted by email to GermanSpentNuclearFuelEA@leidos.com. Direct written comments on the Draft Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany EA to Tracy Williams, NEPA Compliance Officer, U.S. Department of Energy, P.O. Box B, Aiken, South Carolina 29802. DOE has extended the public comment period in response to several requests. The public comment period now ends March 25, 2016. DOE will consider all comments received via email by 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time or postmarked by that date. Comments submitted after that date and time will be considered to the extent practicable.” http://energy.gov/nepa/ea-1977-acceptance-and-disposition-spent-nuclear-fuel-containing-us-origin-highly-enriched
The formal deadline was March 11 at 11.59 pm US Easter Time: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=DOE_FRDOC_0001-3020
It appears impossible that a deadline of March 11th, the five year anniversary of the beginning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster, was an accident. It was chosen as a threat, a warning, to facilitate remembrance, or with hopes that people would be too busy with Fukushima to notice.
Why would it be a threat or warning? Well, look what happened to WIPP, which was actually a constructed facility, whereas they may dilute and bury it at the Clive Facility or WCS or elsewhere. See photos and more: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/03/05/germany-to-empty-93-of-concrete-bunker-of-nuclear-waste-to-send-to-usa-to-sit-outside-under-tarp-bury-oppose-by-march-11th-at-11-59-pm-deadline-looms/ https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/us-german-exptal-nuclear-reactor-waste-blew-up-in-nevada-germany-trying-to-send-more-nuclear-waste-to-usa-comment-to-oppose-by-11-march-2016-1159-pm-et/
Furthermore, the arrival of SWISS MADE plutonium which, according to the Canadian (Thom Mason) led “Red team” (plot), will be diluted and buried in WIPP (or elsewhere), unveils the M.O. to make America into the world’s nuclear dump. See: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/09/03/plan-to-dilute-dispose-disperse-us-plutonium-by-cramming-it-into-collapsing-wipp/ A study from December explains that this foreign made unwanted plutonium, which they call gap plutonium, will be treated the same as the US surplus plutonium, i.e. according to Thom Mason’s cram and dump everything in WIPP plot.
Additionally, Seven US NRC Engineers Have Just Issued an Urgent Warning About Electrical Design Defects Which Could Lead to Nuclear Meltdown Due to Unavailability of Cooling Systems. They State that ALL US NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS, EXCEPT ONE, HAVE ELECTRICAL DESIGN DEFECTS.
Thus, there are many Fukushimas-Like Nuclear Disasters Just Waiting to Happen. (This is apart from ageing nuclear reactor pressure vessels, etc. There are natural and dam induced tsunami risks, which could lead to station black-outs too (or worse).
At River Bend Nuclear Power Station, after a thunderstorm led to a scram, there was a loss of cooling for one hour, which could have led to a nuclear meltdown, if not corrected quickly enough. The meltdown could have started within only one more hour! The US NRC announced this, when promising an investigation, one month after the fact (results are still pending): “The plant was operating at full power when a lightning strike caused a momentary surge in the plant’s offsite power supply, triggering an unplanned shutdown. Operators subsequently took appropriate actions to place the plant in a safe shutdown condition. The following day, operational errors led to a one hour loss of shutdown cooling./ The purpose of this special inspection is to better understand the circumstances surrounding the loss of shutdown cooling, determine if operator response was appropriate…“http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/news/2016/16-002.iv.pdf See statement at bottom of our blog post. Since the scram occurred at 2:37 am, the “next day” may have actually been the same day. https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/lightening-scrammed-nuclear-reactor-lost-cooling-off-for-weeks-on-again-now-off-usnrc-inspection/
Dependence upon outside power from the grid or backup diesel generators is a major achilles heel, which apparently led to the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster: “The reactor’s core contains fuel assemblies that are cooled by water circulated using electrically powered pumps. These pumps and other operating systems in the plant receive their power from the electrical grid. If offsite power is lost, emergency cooling water is supplied by other pumps, which can be powered by onsite diesel generators. Other safety systems, such as the containment cooling system, also need electric power.” http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/bwrs.html
A Related Ominous Problem – Motors Could Get Burned Out
At the end of February, seven US NRC engineers filed a complaint with the US NRC about electric design defects, “design vulnerability”, at all but one US nuclear power station, and demanded prompt regulatory action. (The NRC has been doing bureaucratic “paper pushing” for at least 4 years on the topic.) The engineers noted that “if the preferred power source, has an undetected open phase-condition, redundant trains of electrical equipment (electric motors that drive the pumps and valves) could burn out in few minutes and therefore will not be available for safe shutdown, even after restoration of an operable power source.”
And, the so-called “SAFER” plan can’t be counted on to bring in back-up supplies. It appears poorly planned; the NRC test-run a comedy of errors, and the back-up equipment isn’t intended to arrive for around 24 hours, which may be too late! https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/nuclear-safer-not-nuclear-emergency-backup-in-heart-of-new-madrid-quake-zone/ https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/nuclear-strategic-alliance-for-flex-emergency-response-safer-not-depends-on-emergency-resources-which-may-be-needed-elsewhere-unavailable/
The Three Mile Island Nuclear Disaster was well underway within 2 hours (6 am) of the reactor trip and SCRAM (4 am) . It was a PWR (Pressurized Water Reactor).
A 1981 NRC study of Station Blackout for Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Station (GE, Mark I, Boiling Water Reactor) suggests that core melting could start (as quickly as) in less than two hours: “The MARCH results predict core uncovery 62 minutes after the beginning of boiloff, followed by the inception of core melting 53 minutes later. The model provides that the melted core slumps down to the bottom of the reactor vessel and this results in a predicted failure of the reactor vessel bottom head at approximately three hours after injection capability is lost. The subsequent breaching of the primary containment because of failure of the electrical penetration modules by overtemperature is predicted at about four and one-half hours after the inception of boiloff …” (p. viii)
Although the petition does not name River Bend, the lightening induced scram of River Bend Nuclear Power Station certainly appears due to an electrical defect. The NRC “event notification” said: “AUTOMATIC REACTOR SCRAM ON MAIN STEAM ISOLATION DUE TO ELECTRICAL FAULT On 1/9/16 at 0237 [CST], River Bend Station sustained a reactor scram during a lightning storm. An electrical transient occurred resulting in a full main steam isolation [MSIV] (Group 6) and a Division II Balance of Plant isolation signal. During the scram, level 8 occurred immediately which tripped the feed pumps. A level 3 signal occurred also during the scram. Subsequent level 3 was received three times due to isolated vessel level control. The plant was stabilized and all spurious isolation signals reset, then the MSIVs were restored. The plant is now stable in Mode 3 and plant walkdowns are occurring to assess the transient.”/ During the scram, all rods inserted into the core. The plant was initially cooled down using safety relief valves. Offsite power is available and the plant is in its normal shutdown electrical lineup. The licensee has notified the NRC Resident Inspector.” http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2016/20160111en.html About “Reactor Vessel Instrumentation System: http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1125/ML11258A315.pdf
An Everyday Primer on Electrical Problems Which Can Lead to Damaged Equipment-Burned Out Motors
“NOTE: It is very important to supply any device with a voltage in the range it is designed for. For example, connecting a device that is designed for 110V to a 230V supply can be very dangerous. There is the risk of burning, fire or even explosion. It should not be assumed that connecting a higher voltage (220-240V) device to a low voltage supply (110V) is risk free, although certainly less dangerous than the other way round …power spikes, where the voltage supplied temporarily surges to dangerous levels, with potentially catastrophic consequences. In developed countries, the main source of spikes is lightning strikes, but, in developing countries, they’re most often associated with power outages since when the power comes back on, it rarely does so smoothly. The cheapest method of protection is thus simply to disconnect electronic devices as soon as the power goes out and wait a few minutes after the power comes back on until plugging them back in… Electric motors
The electric motors in things like refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, washing machines and other whiteware are often sensitive to frequency. Older hairdryers and electric shavers might be also. Even if you use a step-up or step-down transformer, the different supply frequencies mean that motors will run at the wrong speed and quickly burn out. The larger and more powerful the motor is, the more this is true. Don’t, for example, bring a vacuum cleaner from the US to Europe (or vice versa). It’s almost guaranteed to fail–even if you have a voltage converter…. Hairdryers are a particular risk; if you accidentally plug your 100-120V hairdryer into a 240V outlet. you may find it catching fire in your hands! Newer models should have a thermal switch, though.” http://wikitravel.org/en/Electrical_systems
About squirrel induced power outages: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/01/opinion/sunday/squirrel-power.html?_r=0
It appears that essential service water systems could be damaged, as well as emergency core cooling systems: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_reactor_safety_systems
More from the Petition by the US NRC Engineers:
“l. SAFETY SIGNIFICANCE
At Byron, a failure to design the electric power system’s protection scheme to sense the loss of a single phase between the transmission network and the onsite power distribution system resulted in unbalanced voltage, at both engineered safety features (ESF) buses (degraded offsite power system), trip of several safety-related pieces of equipment and the unavailability of the onsite electric power-system. This situation resulted in neither the onsite (emergency diesel generators) nor the offsite electric power system being able to perform its intended safety functions (i.e., to provide electric power to the ESF buses with sufficient capacity and capability to. permit functioning of structures, systems, and components important to safety).
The Byron event identified a vulnerability in the design of US and international, operating plants. The current design requires an accident signal to automatically connect the emergency core cooling systems to the preferred power source to mitigate the consequences of a design basis event. As such, if the preferred power source, has an undetected open phase-condition, redundant trains of electrical equipment (electric motors that drive the pumps and valves) could burn out in few minutes and therefore will not be available for safe shutdown, even after restoration of an operable power source. In some cases, individual protective schemes for Specific loads may isolate the load. In such cases, manual actions, outside of control room, may be required to reset the protective device(s) and start the specific loads, thereby delaying the response time assumed in accident analysis. Since a common degraded offsite power source can potentially degrade or disable both trains of the emergency core cooling system, the protection scheme must automatically initiate isolation of the degraded offsite power source and transfer the safety buses to the onsite or back up power source within the time period assumed in the accident analysis in accordance with codes and standards specified: in NRC requirements 10 CFR 50.54 (jj) and 10 CFR 50.55a(h)(2) or 10 CFR 50.55a(h)(3). To-date,thirteen open phase events have been identified over the last fourteen years (both US and International)” (Emphasis our own) Original here: https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/view?AccessionNumber=ML16050A223
More from “Station Blackout at Browns Ferry Unit One Accident Sequence Analysis“ (This is a GE Mark I containment reactor, like the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactors; River Bend is a GE Mark III reactor https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_boiling_water_reactors ) This Browns Ferry study assumes the possibility that if power returns the situation could be salvaged. But, the new warning tells us that this may not be the case. The so-called SAFER backup supplies won’t arrive for about 24 hours.
“The MARCH code has been used in support of the analysis of the second phase of a Station Blackout, i.e., the period after the 250 volt DC system fails because of battery exhaustion. The existing versions of MARCH are too crude to permit modeling plant response to a series of postulated operator actions such as those previously discussed for the initial phase of a Station Blackout. Therefore, in the event sequence modeled by the MARCH code, the reactor vessel remains pressurized with pressure control by automatic relief valve actuation and level control by automatic operation of the HPCI system. As before, averaged suppression pool temperatures are used, and it is assumed that injection capability is lost after four hours, when the unit battery is exhausted. In the MARCH event sequence, the reactor vessel water level is in the normal operating range and the vessel is pressurized at the four-hour point when boiloff begins due to loss of injection capability.* The MARCH results predict core uncovery 62 minutes after the beginning of boiloff, followed by the inception of core melting 53 minutes later. The model provides that the melted core slumps down to the bottom of the reactor vessel and this results in a predicted failure of the reactor vessel bottom head at approximately three hours after injection capability is lost. The subsequent breaching of the primary containment because of failure of the electrical penetration modules by overtemperature is predicted at about four and one-half hours after the inception of boiloff …
Footnote: These conditions at the beginning of boiloff are similar to those predicted by the previously discussed sequence which models the plant re sponse to operator actions during the initial phase because in that sequence, the reactor vessel would have to repressurize before boiloff could begin. The difference is in the timing. If injection capability were lost at the four-hour point, the boiloff would begin immediately if the vessel is pressurized, but would be delayed if the vessel were depressurized. (p. viii)
7.2.2 Loss of 250 vdc Batteries — Conclusions
The results of this transient show very clearly how fuel damage is postponed because the reactor vessel was depressurized early in the Station Blackout:
1. The repressurization time after loss of the 250 vdc batteries is greater than one hour, during which time there is no significant coolant loss from the reactor vessel. 2. When the boil-off does begin, it takes a much longer time to uncover fuel because of the higher starting inventory of water. Although fuel damage is significantly delayed, the ability to avoid ultimate fuel damage is compromised because of the elevated drywell temperature experienced after loss of the 250 vdc batteries. As discussed in Sect. 3, a containment temperature of 149°C (300°F) would not prevent normal recovery. This temperature is reached about 40 min. after loss of the batteries. At about four hours after the battery loss, the fuel is beginning to be uncovered, and the drywell temperature is above 191°C (375°F). This elevated temperature may cause failure of the drywell electrical penetrations and may fail the solenoid operators necessary for operation of the SRVs, inner isolation valves, and containment cooler dampers (which fail closed on loss of AC power). Even if electrical power were fully restored at this point, considerable operator ingenuity would be required to effect a normal recovery if the MSIV and SRV solenoid operators have failed.
In addition, the chances for a normal recovery are compromised by the elevated suppression pool temperatures experienced at the end of the transient. Condensation oscillation during SRV discharge (see Appendix D), which can damage the suppression pool pressure boundary, becomes more likely at higher pool temperatures. Steam discharge without oscillation from the Browns Ferry T-quencher type discharge piping is assured up to 88°C (190°F), but average pool temperature at the end of the Loss of 250 vdc Batteries calculation is above 93°C (200°F). (p.37)
“Sequence 7: The RCIC system is not available because of equipment failure, or lack of operator action. The HPCI system has failed because of a system malfunction. The represents the worst case of loss of injection capability while DC power remains available. A boiloff of the initial reactor vessel water inventory begins immediately after the complete loss of AC power, leading to a relatively quick core uncovery and subsequent meltdown. In this sequence, the core uncovery is hastened by a depressurization of the reactor vessel either by means of a stuck-open relief valve or because of inappropriate operator action; the depressurization increases the rate of loss of the irreplaceable reactor vessel water inventory.” (p.62) “NUREG/CR-2182, Vol. I ORNL/NUREG/TM-455/VI Dist. Category RX, IS Contract No. W-7405-eng-26 Engineering Technology Division STATION BLACKOUT AT BROWNS FERRY UNIT ONE ACCIDENT SEQUENCE ANALYSIS D. H. Cook S. R. Greene R. M. Harrington S. A. Hodge D. D. Yue Manuscript Completed — October 6, 1981 Date Published — November 1981” http://web.ornl.gov/info/reports/1981/3445600211884.pdf
River Bend Nuclear Reactor was scrammed due to lightening and stayed at zero power for three weeks from January 9 to Jan. 30th. On Jan. 31st it powered back up to one percent, Feb. 1st 18% and got up to 100% for 5 days from Feb. 8th to 12th before powering down to zero again, as of today:
“On 1/9/16 at 0237 [CST], River Bend Station sustained a reactor scram during a lightning storm.“. It belongs to Entergy. It had another “event” less than one week earlier, on Jan. 5th, a “Potentially Uncontrolled Radioactive Release“. https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/lightening-scrammed-nuclear-reactor-lost-cooling-off-for-weeks-on-again-now-off-usnrc-inspection/
An expert (David Lochbaum) explains the NRC petition in easy to understand terms (it gets more clear as it goes along), and provides other important information: http://allthingsnuclear.org/dlochbaum/the-nrc-seven-petitioning-the-nrc-over-safety
The lead US NRC electrical engineer petitioner regarding Nuclear Power Station electrical defects:
“Roy K. Mathew
Mr. Mathew has extensive experience and background, approximately 33 years, in the nuclear power plant design, construction, start-up, and operation. Mr. Mathew joined the NRC in 1988 as a Reactor Engineer in Region I. He led NRC inspection teams from Regions and headquarters such as EDSFIs, SSFIs, ORATs, AITs, and AE Design Inspections. He was the lead senior staff for developing many of the Engineering, Maintenance, and Surveillance program inspection procedures for ROP. He was a Team Leader in the Division of License Renewal, NRR. He has been the Acting Chief of the Electrical Engineering Branch, NRR. He is currently a team leader in the Electrical Engineering Branch, Division of Engineering, NRR.
Prior to joining the NRC, Mr. Mathew worked as a design engineer, construction engineer, start-up engineer and a supervisor for Bechtel Power Corporation. He received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from University of Kerala and attended Master’s Degree program in Electrical Power System at the California State University. He is a graduate of the NRC Team Leader Development Program. He is a member of the IEEE. He represented NRC in developing several standards at the IAEA, IEC, and NEA.” http://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/conference-symposia/ric/past/2014/docs/bios/bio191.html
 “Report of The President’s Commission On the Accident at Three Mile Island” (Kemeny et. al. Oct. 1979) found here: http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1216/ML12167A050.pdf and here: http://www.threemileisland.org/downloads/188.pdf
The so-called “SAFER” program is not supposed to deliver backup for 14 (to nearby airport) and 24 hours to site. But, they were having trouble even with this timing. The OECD said that Fukushima meltdown started within hours of the Tsunami.
Many thanks to FC for finding the Browns Ferry document and Dr. Leuren Moret for recalling its existence. https://flyingcuttlefish.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/hey-epa/
1981 doc – simulation blackout at Browns Ferry – just like Fukushima
Pre-Fukushima Studies of Tsunami-like conditions from Dam Failures
German Storage Sites
Most of the Pebble Bed fuel is in an above ground bunker-like concrete building at Ahaus. Germany has another such above ground facility at Gorleben, and apparently others, as well. The Juelich facility has a proper floor, but it is unclear if the walls are in concrete or metal. It has thick steel beams. Regardless, it is structurally more sound than where it will sit in America (South Carolina). And, it will be in a hot, humid climate in South Carolina, as well.