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Requiem for five nuclear power plants

Nuclear Renaissance–Nuclear Requiem, Union of Concerned Scientists , DIRECTOR, NUCLEAR SAFETY PROJECT | AUGUST 25, 2016 There was considerable discussion a decade or so ago about the purported Nuclear Renaissance. New reactors were proposed almost everywhere but Delaware: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Time turned renaissance into requiem. Owners permanently shut down five reactors since 2013 and have informed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of plans to close several other reactors over the next three years.

Whether you celebrated or mourned the five reactor closures, it’s worth reflecting on what each accomplished during its lifetime.

Crystal River Unit 3 (Florida) first achieved criticality of the reactor core on January 15, 1977. It shut down in September 2009 for a refueling outage during which the steam generators were to be replaced. The containment structure was severely damaged by the hole cut through it to allow replacement of the steam generators. Attempts to repair the damage failed, leading the owner to announce in February 2013 that the reactor would not be restarted……..

Kewaunee (Wisconsin) first achieved criticality of the reactor core on March 7, 1974. It shut down permanently on May 7, 2013, due largely to economic pressure from natural gas generators……..

San Onofre Unit 2 (California) first achieved criticality of the reactor core on July 26, 1982. It shut down on January 9, 2012, for a refueling outage. Workers identified abnormally high wear and tear of the tubes in the recently replaced steam generators. Plans to remedy the damage proved futile, leading the owner to announce in June 2013 that the reactor would not be restarted…….

Vermont Yankee (Vermont) first achieved criticality of the reactor core on March 24 1972. It shut down permanently on December 29, 2014, due largely to economic pressure from natural gas generators……

5 Reactors, 0 Meltdowns, 1 Near Miss (nearly)

According to the NRC’s Accident Sequence Precursor program, Kewaunee experienced the most serious safety event among these five reactors. Resin beads leaking from a mixed-bed demineralizer unit in the makeup water system collected in the condensate storage tank. The three auxiliary feedwater pumps transfer water from the condensate storage tank to the steam generators to assist in removing decay heat generated by the reactor core. On November 5, 1975, the motor-driven auxiliary feedwater pumps 1A and 1B failed when resin beds clogged the strainers installed in the piping before the pumps. Turbine-driven auxiliary feedwater pump 1C also failed when resin beads clogged its suction strainer. Fortunately, the feedwater pumps that normally transfer water from the condenser hotwell to the steam generators were unaffected by this problem and remained operable throughout this event.

The NRC calculated a core damage frequency of 2.3E-02 for this incident, solidly among the NRC’s top ten near misses of all time………http://allthingsnuclear.org/dlochbaum/nuclear-renaissance-nuclear-requiem

August 26, 2016 - Posted by | business and costs, USA

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