Boston, cancer, Chernobyl, clean water, cooling system, dangers of nuclear, environment, extreme weather, Fukushima, hot shutdown, LOCA, loss of cooling, Massachusetts, New Jersey, nuclear, nuclear accident, nuclear disaster, nuclear energy, nuclear industry, nuclear power, nuclear reactors, nuclear safety, Philadelphia PA, risk management, SCRAM, US NRC
Not only dangerous, nuclear power stations are unreliable electicity sources in extreme weather. So much for the “baseload power” lies. Why are the nuclear utilities courting nuclear disaster during blizzard – extreme cold conditions? Price Anderson limits their liability is why: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/price-anderson-act-billions-in-bailout-for-nuclear-disasters/
GOES-16 ABI image of the Early January 2018 Nor’easter maturing off the east coast of the United States. Date 4 January 2018, NOAA: https://cdn.star.nesdis.noaa.gov
Not only dangerous, nuclear power stations are unreliable electicity sources in extreme weather. Worse, they require energy input for cooling, so as not to meltdown. Even though they can’t be turned off, they are supposed to be powered down during extreme weather, but were apparently not for the recent blizzard with hurricane force winds. Pilgrim nuclear power station near Boston had a forced shutdown due to loss of power, and Oyster Creek near Philadelphia reduced its power due to low water levels in the cooling canals.
They were expecting high winds and snow with the East Coast Bomb Cyclone (Storm Grayson) leading to power outages and more. Why didn’t they power down ahead in an orderly manner like they are supposed to do for hurricanes? Powering down means loss of profit and Price Anderson limits their liability.
At Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station not very far from Boston Mass: “On January 4, 2018, at 1410 hours EST, with the reactor at approximately 100 percent power and steady state conditions, the winter storm across the Northeast caused the loss of offsite 345 kV Line 342. Reactor power was reduced to approximately 81 percent and a procedurally required manual reactor scram was initiated. All control rods fully inserted…..“As a result of the reactor scram, indicated reactor water level decreased, as expected, to less than +12 inches resulting in automatic actuation of the Primary Containment Isolation Systems for Group II – Primary Containment Isolation and Reactor Building Isolation System, and Group VI – Reactor Water Cleanup System….” https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2018/20180105en.html
“Low Tides, High Winds Spur N.J. Nuclear Plant to Reduce Power“, January 06, 2018 9:39 PM https://www.voanews.com/a/tides-winds-spur-new-jersey-nuclear-plant-reduce-power/4196721.html
Pilgrim Nuclear Near Boston Mass:
“MANUAL REACTOR SCRAM DUE TO PARTIAL LOSS OF OFFSITE POWER DURING WINTER STORM
“On January 4, 2018, at 1410 hours EST, with the reactor at approximately 100 percent power and steady state conditions, the winter storm across the Northeast caused the loss of offsite 345 kV Line 342. Reactor power was reduced to approximately 81 percent and a procedurally required manual reactor scram was initiated. All control rods fully inserted.
“As a result of the reactor scram, indicated reactor water level decreased, as expected, to less than +12 inches resulting in automatic actuation of the Primary Containment Isolation Systems for Group II – Primary Containment Isolation and Reactor Building Isolation System, and Group VI – Reactor Water Cleanup System.
“Reactor Water Level was restored to the normal operating band. The Primary Containment Isolation Systems have been reset. The Reactor Protection System signal has been reset.
“Following the reactor scram, the non-safety related Control Rod Drive Pump “B” tripped on low suction pressure. Control Rod Drive Pump “A” was placed in service. All other systems operated as expected, in accordance with design.
“This event is reportable per the requirements of Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 50.72 (b)(2)(iv)(B) – “RPS Actuation” and 10 CFR 50.72 (b)(3)(iv)(A) – “Specified System Actuation.” ….
The main steam isolation valves are open with decay heat being removed via steam to the main condenser.
Offsite power is still available from 345kV line 355. As a contingency, emergency diesel generators are running and powering safety busses per licensee procedure.
The licensee notified the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The licensee will be notifying the town of Plymouth as part of their local notifications. The licensee will be issuing a press release.”
Nuclear “events” page: https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/en.html
As of Friday, the last update, Pilgrim was still at zero power. Hopefully it is still powered down. This is still not “off” but it lessens the danger: https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/reactor-status/ps.html
Oyster Creek Near Philadelphia PA:
Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating station is located near the New Jersey coast, around 50 miles east of Philadelphia, PA, and 75 miles south of NYC. On Saturday, January 6, Exelon reported in a press release that “Operators at the station are closely monitoring a host of environmental conditions and making power level adjustments to ensure safety and minimize impact on aquatic life./ Earlier this morning, operators reduced power and declared an Unusual Event as unusually low tides and high winds impacted water levels in the bay and subsequently, the plant’s intake canal. Minimum water levels were established as one of many conservative measures to ensure that operators have access to multiple and redundant sources of cooling water in the event of an emergent shutdown.” (According to the VOA news article the “unusual event was at 5.25 am Saturday)
Saturday afternoon or evening, Neil Sheehan of the US NRC, reportedly made a statement which said that “Control room operators reduced reactor power to about 70 percent in response to the lower-than-normal water intake levels and will continue to monitor and evaluate conditions.” Sheehan said that the NRC inspectors were continuing to monitor the nuclear power station conditions and “operator decision-making“. He added that “The low water intake levels are believed to be due to weather conditions… The passing winter storm, as well as strong winds from the west, apparently caused the low water levels…” He should have updated the NRC blog (or NRC twitter or Facebook page) and has not, so see: “Unusual Event’ declared at Oyster Creek“, by Erik Larsen, 2:56 p.m. ET Jan. 6 , 2018 | Updated 7:15 p.m. ET Jan. 6, 2018, Asbury Park Press. On Monday the US NRC should have additional information under NRC “events”.
Jan. 4, 2018
East Coast Bomb Cyclone Seen by NOAA’s GOES-16 Satellite
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) GOES-16 satellite caught a dramatic view of the bomb cyclone moving up the East Coast on Jan. 4, 2017. The powerful nor’easter is battering coastal areas with heavy snow and strong winds, from Florida to Maine. Notice the long line of clouds stretching over a thousand miles south of the storm, which is drawing moisture all the way from deep in the Caribbean.
Why is it called a “bomb cyclone”? Meteorologists say that a storm undergoes “bombogenesis” when it rapidly intensifies over a short period. More precisely, it’s a mid-latitude cyclone that sees its central pressure drop 24 millibars or more within 24 hours. Storms like this typically bring heavy precipitation, strong winds, and coastal storm surge and are common along the East Coast during the winter months.
The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) – R Series is a collaborative development and acquisition effort between NOAA and NASA. The GOES-16 (GOES-East) satellite, the first of the series, provides continuous imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth’s western hemisphere and space weather monitoring.
Image Credit: NOAA/CIRA
Last Updated: Jan. 4, 2018
Editor: Sarah Loff
Tags: Earth, GOES (Geostationary Environmental Operational Satellites), GOES-R”