Skip to main content

They Write Letters (or Emails)

contra_costa The Syracuse (N.Y.) Post-Standard introduces us to the NRC inspectors who oversee the two plants in that part of the world – Nine Mile and James A. FitzPatrick:

“Every day, we do a control room walk-down,” [Inspector Edward] Knutson said. “We look at what’s going on, we indicate what we expect them (operators) to do.”

“We talk to the control-room supervisor and get from them what has occurred in the previous shift,” [Inspector Scott] Rutenkroger said. “We see what’s in service and what’s out of service. We find out what they see as the condition of the plant.”

And they keep their eyes perpetually open:

Rutenkroger once noticed that the door between an emergency diesel-generator room and turbine building had a support missing. It could have hampered proper operation of the door and that could have led to trouble: Steam lines are located on the other side of the door. If the door hadn’t shut properly and one or more of the steam lines ruptured, steam could have seeped into the generator room and knocked out the generators — the backup power source for the plant.

Nice story – writer Debra Groom sticks close to home and doesn’t expand the story to make a point about American plants (well, except that they have regulatory inspectors on-site). Worth a read.

---

Interestingly, when news readers are asked to weigh in on nuclear energy, the results are surprisingly favorable given some of the coverage. For example, the Contra Costa (Calif.) Times posted a series of letters (or emails, I guess, these days). Some excerpts:

Yes, we need new nuclear plants. Forget about the fact they will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and that they will help to meet our future needs for electricity. Instead, realize that as we build nuclear power plants, we will reduce our dependence on our own coal-fired plants.

---

Let's be rational. Nuclear energy is our best prospect for future economic stability and energy independence. Our nation deserves it.

---

Keep in mind that people of my generation survived atmospheric detonations of hydrogen bombs for many years in the 1950s and '60s. This irrational fear of radiation is causing us to make poor decisions based on junk science and environmentalism run amok. Life goes on, even in Chernobyl.

---

Given the amount of damage done, the radiation levels, so far, have been more than survivable. Bear in mind those plants are over 30 years old and technology has improved since then.

And so on. There are a few negative comments, too:

I am constantly amazed at how short American's memories are. After the Three Mile Island disaster, everyone said "never again."After Chernobyl, there was zilch interest in new nuclear power development. Hopefully, what has happened in Japan will wake the U.S. public up to the dangers of nuclear power plants, but I'm afraid after a few months, no one will recall what has just happened, or if they do, they will say "it couldn't happen here."

---

A nuclear energy accident can ruin your whole day, year, century and beyond -- thousands of years. The downside is great and the upside ethereal.

Don’t look at me. I’m not going to dispute any of this – the discussion is what’s important. Even if, in this round up, the pro-nuclear contingent enjoys a 6-2 margin, the is a good moment to hash out attitudes. In you have the means to put them online, go ahead and do it.

Lovely Contra Costa. It is inland from San Francisco, with Mt. Diablo State Park providing a lot of its scenery.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

Seeing the Light on Nuclear Energy

If you think that there is plenty of electricity, that the air is clean enough and that nuclear power is a just one among many options for meeting human needs, then you are probably over-focused on the United States or Western Europe. Even then, you’d be wrong.

That’s the idea at the heart of a new book, “Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” by Scott L. Montgomery, a geoscientist and energy expert, and Thomas Graham Jr., a retired ambassador and arms control expert.


Billions of people live in energy poverty, they write, and even those who don’t, those who live in places where there is always an electric outlet or a light switch handy, we need to unmake the last 200 years of energy history, and move to non-carbon sources. Energy is integral to our lives but the authors cite a World Health Organization estimate that more than 6.5 million people die each year from air pollution.  In addition, they say, the global climate is heading for ruinous instability. E…