Skip to main content

Memories of an Earthquake

How serious was the earthquake the hit the east coast last month. Consider:

rapelling

These fine folk are starting at the top of the Washington Monument and rappelling down to check out the structure. In the meantime, the monument is closed to the public. Here’s some detail:

The team [two men and two women] plans to climb up and down the monument to check each stone for cracks, chips and other damage caused by the 5.8-magnitude quake that shook the nation's capital Aug. 23. They will take breaks as needed by making a descent that can take 12 to 15 minutes without stops, and resume work by riding the elevator back to the top.

Presumably, the fourth team member is on the dark side of the monument. Happily, these aren’t just daredevils without portfolio.

[Team member Erik] Sohn is part of a team from a private firm that's certified with a rare combination of climbing and engineering skills.

and:

Each team member is carrying several items, including a digital camera, an iPad that includes data from the 1999 restoration of the monument, a two-way radio, masonry tools that will allow them to remove loose pieces of stone or mortar and a soft mallet for audio testing.

An iPad! Hip engineer daredevils!

---

And speaking of that August 23 earthquake, what about the North Anna plant in Virginia that has been closed since it occurred?

Dominion Resources officials said vibration from an August 23 earthquake in Virginia detected inside the two North Anna nuclear reactors caused the units to shut rather than a loss of power into the station, a Dominion spokesman said on Tuesday.

Which it’s supposed to do. The reason the two reactors remain closed is because no U.S. nuclear plant has experienced an earthquake larger than its design basis and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Dominion want to be thorough in their review of the facility. It can also act as a case study of such an incident.

Even with these ongoing efforts, Dominion is ready to roll:

Richmond-based Dominion had asked the commission to possibly restart one of the reactors by the end of the month…

But may be cooling its heels until the NRC issues a report, now due in late October. We’ll see.

Comments

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…