Skip to main content

National Journal’s Blog - How does Japan's Crisis Affect America's Nuclear Industry?

Four folks have weighed in so far including NEI’s Marv Fertel:

All U.S. electric companies that operate nuclear power plants are taking action now to verify their capability to maintain safety even in the face of severe adverse events. The industry is verifying that the emergency response capability to withstand a total loss of electric power to a nuclear power plant will maintain safety at the facility even after extreme events. We also will verify our capability to withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes and flooding, as well as the impact of floods on systems inside and outside the plant.

The Fukushima accident certainly will prompt a review of nuclear energy facility capabilities in America and we support that reassessment. However, we recognize that America’s reactors – which are inspected daily by federal regulators – continue to exceed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) safety standards.

Comments

Steve said…
The Las Vegas Business Press posted a similar poll:

Does the nuclear crisis in Japan make you believe a nuclear storage facility at Yucca Mountain would be dangerous?

Voting ends March 23. So far, results are about tied.

http://www.lvbusinesspress.com/articles/2011/03/16/poll/doc4d81315cc7fac753401429.txt
Horizon3 said…
A suggestion for those involved in designing the backup systems.

Fore reactors in flood prone (tsunami) zones, encase the backup power source and its fuel supply in an air and water tight reinforced concrete enclosure.
Use the valve technology developed for submarines to isolate the engines intakes and exhaust from the outside environment. And elevate the intakes and exhaust stacks far enough off ground level to allow the engine to operate while the enclosure is completely submerged.
Only put one unit and its fuel supply and switchgear per enclosure, for redundancy.

I know elevating the units will be the first knee jerk reaction, but this is an inherently bad idea, generator sets of the size required to perform backup power duty for a nuclear unit are very large, and very heavy.
Anyone that has experience designing equipment for use in seismic zones knows that the farther off the ground something is, the more prone it is to be damaged by high degrees of earth movement. (Look to the bridge collapses in the Loma Prieta Quake in S.F.) Not to mention it makes servicing the unit that much more difficult.

Popular posts from this blog

Knowing What You’ve Got Before It’s Gone in Nuclear Energy

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior director of policy analysis and strategic planning at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

Nuclear energy is by far the largest source of carbon prevention in the United States, but this is a rough time to be in the business of selling electricity due to cheap natural gas and a flood of subsidized renewable energy. Some nuclear plants have closed prematurely, and others likely will follow.
In recent weeks, Exelon and the Omaha Public Power District said that they might close the Clinton, Quad Cities and Fort Calhoun nuclear reactors. As Joni Mitchell’s famous song says, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”
More than 100 energy and policy experts will gather in a U.S. Senate meeting room on May 19 to talk about how to improve the viability of existing nuclear plants. The event will be webcast, and a link will be available here.
Unlike other energy sources, nuclear power plants get no specia…

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…