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(WGAL 8)   Citing a near flawless record, Three Mile Island seeks a 20-year operational extension   (wgal.com ) divider line
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7092 clicks; posted to Main » on 26 Feb 2008 at 5:07 PM (8 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2008-02-26 06:17:40 PM  
I wonder how many people have been injured or killed say in the past 50 years while involved in the process of mining and burning coal, compared to same in nuclear power industry. I have a feeling that coal has killed mad heads, where nuclear power has a great track record. I think most ppl would be surprised at the number of working nuclear reactors in the world, because of a lack of disasters and deaths. I know that in China, coal miners die alot alot.
 
2008-02-26 06:18:44 PM  
I work at a nuclear power plant (like many people in this thread) so I'm really getting a kick out of these replies.

Actually, the majority are fairly sensible.

The nuke industry learned alot from TMI in terms of plant design*, contigency actions, operator training, and human error reduction.

*The basic physics concept for TMI is sound, but there were a number of support systems that have been improved as a consequence of TMI.

And again, as others have pointed out, TMI was a billion dollar industrial casualty. No one was injured. No one was over-exposed. They just had to use that 3 ft thick concrete building called 'Containment' that was put there expressly for that purpose.

Incidentally, many plants have double containments.

The ball for new nuclear plants is rolling along in the US, and you'll see some start to come online in the next decade or two.

The rest of the world hasn't stopped. New nukes have been popping up around the world continously and operating quite safely. The next two or three years should see the newest plant, Okilato-3 (Finland), start producing electricity.

Bless those Fins for biting the bullet on that, and the French (Flammanville-3) after them. They'll have the construction process for the Areva's EPR down pat before any US utility breaks ground.
 
2008-02-26 06:19:03 PM  
DaBishop: Wow, I've wiki'd the hell outta myself looking into this stuff. Good reading...

I had never heard of pebble bed reactors until one of these threads. I wiki'd the hell out of it and had myself a good nerdy read. I love this shiat.
 
2008-02-26 06:20:13 PM  
Can we give subby a "Dumbass" tag?

You get more ionizing radiation at the dentist's office would have if you'd been down-wind of Three Mile Island when they had that accident.

You use scare-tactics alnost as well as the Bush Administration.
 
2008-02-26 06:21:19 PM  
We need to build 400 more nuclear plants to completely replace fossil plants.

Setting a national goal of starting construction on 50 new plants a year is a good platform for anyone running for president.

We should also lift Prez. Carter's ban of transporting commercial spent fuel so we reprocess and reclaim the 40% of Uranium that's still usable.
 
2008-02-26 06:21:39 PM  
For all the peeps wondering about what to do with used radioactive waste, 1.4 million-dollars your tax dollars every day are going to building a vitrification plant at Washington State's Hanford Nuclear Reservation. When (and if) completed, it should contain most of the high level waste into a more stable glass form for long term storage in Nevada's Yucca Mountain.

Hanford has over 53 million gallons of nuclear waste, that is already in the ground and slowly leaking towards the Columbia

The latest numbers show the plant costing $12.2 billion dollars and opening around 2018. That's a little over 40 dollars for every man, woman and child in the US. It was originally projected to cost 4 billion dollars back in 2000, but has now more than tripled as the completion date has gone back nearly a decade.

Way to go nuclear!

/how many solar panels would 14 billion dollars buy?
 
2008-02-26 06:22:14 PM  
PenguinTheRed: MagusAzod: A coal fired plant produces about 25 tons of emissions and other waste every year per person served (from about 10 tons of coal)

The puppy distacts me from whatever point you were getting at.

/I've seen Three Mile Island.
//Let it continue, it's better than the alternative.
 
2008-02-26 06:25:26 PM  
I'm working on the project that will be the first nukes built in the US in like 30 years so I'm getting a kick out of these replies...
 
2008-02-26 06:26:30 PM  
Well, I'm sure all of us here have been to the doctor and had our chest x-ray, haven't we? Well, it's just like that, only it's as if the doctor had to give you the chest x-ray over, and over, and over again. Or, it's like falling asleep under a sun lamp for a week or two! Or, it's like drying your hair in a microwave oven!
 
2008-02-26 06:27:32 PM  
Hender: Max Danger Power: 2) It melted down because the USSR government was curious as to what would happen if they turned all the valves off and shut down the reactor all at once.

That's not exactly true. That's a bastardized description of what went wrong, but I'm not going to type it all out when you could just Google it.

Remember that scene in Ghostbusters? Yeah kinda like that. Morans. Nuclear power is the safest, cleanest, cheapest energy out there and nobody knows it cause the oil industry sponsors Nuclear terror inside countries.

The other reason thatnooclear power has a lot of roadblocks is that it's exorbitantly expensive to build one. So much so that there are few companies and authorities that can afford them. It requires a lot of time and investment money to get one off the ground, though operating costs are lower than other power plants.

Coal is exactly the opposite. You can build a coal plant fairly quickly and for comparatively little money, but it costs a lot to keep them running.


I learned all this playing sim city!
 
2008-02-26 06:27:35 PM  
They should upgrade to RBMK-1000s.
 
2008-02-26 06:27:52 PM  
I work with a guy who was an operator at Three Mile when it happened. His shift was off that day.
 
2008-02-26 06:28:02 PM  
MrSteve007: Hanford has over 53 million gallons of nuclear waste, that is already in the ground and slowly leaking towards the Columbia

Citation?
 
2008-02-26 06:28:51 PM  
BetterThomas: Thank you TheFlannelAvenger. Living near a nuclear station isn't scary at all. I hail from an area 4 or 5 miles from TMI and I'm doin' fine.

How's that third eye workin' for ya?

/I keed
 
2008-02-26 06:29:47 PM  
TailsAndy: What in the hell is three mile island?

/DNRTFA, dont care


Gee, even I know what Tree Mile Island is, and approximately where it's located.

/Canadian
//Learned about it from watching Viva La Bam.
 
2008-02-26 06:31:12 PM  
Containments are wonderful things, and strictly built and monitored.

TMi was a wakeup call, as was Browns Ferry's fire.

We have made great strides and I look forward to a new plant right over there past that tree.

/Past member ASME WG-Containment
 
2008-02-26 06:31:23 PM  
PenguinTheRed: MagusAzod: A coal fired plant produces about 25 tons of emissions and other waste every year per person served (from about 10 tons of coal)

Because they BURN it. You know, combine it with oxygen? Turning it into carbon dioxide? Get it now?
 
2008-02-26 06:32:28 PM  
For those of you disparaging hippies, I think their contention is we don't need such large sums of energy in the first place since we could be living much more simply.

Wouldn't it be nice if the Type A portion of our society all became Type B?

/is Type B
//Would trade a few degrees of hustle, bustle and superfluous reward for a few degrees of sloppiness and happiness
///In terms of reality, I'll take nuclear fuel over coal any day...
 
2008-02-26 06:35:38 PM  
NEWK-ya-lur

mmmkay
 
2008-02-26 06:36:36 PM  
MassDeficit: MrSteve007: Hanford has over 53 million gallons of nuclear waste, that is already in the ground and slowly leaking towards the Columbia

Citation?


He's right to some extent. But Hanover is a relic of a bygone era in nuclear power - it's the only facility of it's kind we have or ever will have. It needs to be cleaned up, but it has nothing to do with contemporary nuclear technology, and will not be repeated, and is not relevant to discussions of possible future power generation. Basically, Hanover is just another Luddite talking point - FUD intended to scare the ignorant.
 
2008-02-26 06:36:58 PM  
Zoinks!: Again, I would say that we barely avoided a much larger disaster. See my comments above.

Well, this has to be taken in context.

What's the risk of nuclear power, particularly newer passively safe designs, compared to coal with its emissions of radioactivity, heavy metals and other toxins, and CO2? What's the risk relative to the chemical industry (eg Bhopal killed and injured more people than Chernobyl)?

Nuclear power is economical even though it's held to a vastly higher standard than these other industries.
 
2008-02-26 06:37:39 PM  
Zoinks!: TMI was within an hour or so of a complete meltdown because nobody knew what was happening inside the reactor. Pressure sensors were used to measure the water level. But the steam leak pushed the pressure level up, so the engineers continued to cut the cooling water. They had no idea the water level was dropping and dropping.

And even with ALL the mistakes that were made*, the accident was resolved without a single fatality. (Can you say that of a major oil refinery fire?) And, lessons were learned. Designs and procedures were changed. That accident could NOT happen now.

And, of course, there are newer designed of reactors (pebble-bed, etc) where this type of accident cannot happen at all.

*which include:
- using the water level in a raised tank to judge the water level in the (lower) core.
- a 'pilot-operated pressurizer relief valve' stuck open
- two valves on the emergency feedwater lines were closed
- ignoring/not seeing important readings because they were covered by hanging 'trouble tags'.
 
2008-02-26 06:37:41 PM  
TooMuchToDo: Russ1642: TooMuchToDo: Still puts out less radiation then coal-fired plants. Google it.

I guess used nuclear fuel doesn't count.

I'm talking about emissions, not stored spent fuel. People need to get with it and realize thatnooclear is the only fuel source with close to no carbon output that is going to be able to provide a base load. Yes, renewables can contribute towards a peak load, but we need to stop living in the '50s and build modern-day pebble bed/breeder reactors (breeder reactors "burn" up the nuclear waste, so they use it all up).


Well uranium is mined here in Canada so there is a decent carbon output just for that step as well as an environmental concern. I'm very much for nuclear power but I was just pointing out that it isn't as green as we'd like to think. Where you get the idea that the fuel is "burned up" I'll never know. Yes modern processes recycle fuel to remove daughter products that poison the fuel but you still end up with nuclear waste from the recycling process and from the reused fuel. It is very radioactive and needs to be stored for a very long time which is rather expensive. The only way we know of to get rid of nuclear waste is time.
 
2008-02-26 06:38:13 PM  
I too enjoy the replies. A few in the industry, and a lot of don't-have-idea-what-they're-talking-abouts. To answer some questions:

Fusion: it's the protons. Specifically the proton blast would degrade the containment making the reactors unviable economically. A possible answer is Helium3. The place to get it is the moon.

How close was TMI to causing a bunch of deaths? Book or no book, the containment held as designed. Thank you very much. And spare us the China Syndrome fairy tale.
 
2008-02-26 06:38:50 PM  
MassDeficit: MrSteve007: Hanford has over 53 million gallons of nuclear waste, that is already in the ground and slowly leaking towards the Columbia

Citation?


Washington State Department of Ecology (pops)

"Currently, there are 177 underground storage tanks at Hanford, including 149 leak-prone, single-shelled tanks. These tanks hold 53 million gallons of highly radioactive and chemically-hazardous waste, representing more than 60 percent of the nation's radioactive and chemical waste. Many of these tanks have already leaked a total of approximately one million gallons of highly toxic contaminants into the ground. This radioactive and chemical contamination is moving through groundwater toward the Columbia River."
 
2008-02-26 06:43:27 PM  
Drunk Astronaut: I too enjoy the replies. A few in the industry, and a lot of don't-have-idea-what-they're-talking-abouts. To answer some questions:

Fusion: it's the protons. Specifically the proton blast would degrade the containment making the reactors unviable economically. A possible answer is Helium3. The place to get it is the moon.

How close was TMI to causing a bunch of deaths? Book or no book, the containment held as designed. Thank you very much. And spare us the China Syndrome fairy tale.


You have to admit, a hole to China would be cool.
 
2008-02-26 06:44:44 PM  
Blues_Fan: TMi was a wakeup call, as was Browns Ferry's fire.

Wakeup call? Only for dumbasses.
"Site personnel were resealing the penetration after cable installation and were checking the airflow through a temporary seal with a candle flame prior to installing the permanent sealing material. The temporary sealing material was highly combustible, and caught fire."

/image if they used a candleflame at a oil refinery....
 
2008-02-26 06:45:29 PM  
"Currently, there are 177 underground storage tanks at Hanford, including 149 leak-prone, single-shelled tanks. These tanks hold 53 million gallons of highly radioactive and chemically-hazardous waste, representing more than 60 percent of the nation's radioactive and chemical waste. Many of these tanks have already leaked a total of approximately one million gallons of highly toxic contaminants into the ground. This radioactive and chemical contamination is moving through groundwater toward the Columbia River."

Nice work there providing a source that reveals you trumped up your claim 53 times without an, "I was incorrect."

Also as has been said before, that entire facility is the result of an incredibly stupid decision, and has nothing to do with modern nuclear tech.
 
2008-02-26 06:45:41 PM  
LukeA: PenguinTheRed: MagusAzod: A coal fired plant produces about 25 tons of emissions and other waste every year per person served (from about 10 tons of coal)

They take in 10 tons of coal and combust it with approximately 15 tons of oxygen.

For 25 tons of emissions, you'd need 6.8 tons of carbon and 18.2 tons of oxygen if you're combusting in excess oxygen, which you're not in a power plant, so you end up with some carbon monoxide which has a higher ratio of carbon to oxygen, so the 10:25 ratio is reasonable.


I figured at least a few people would balk at the number, but I left it in to make sure people were actually reading. Frankly, the first time I looked at it, I had the bewildered puppy dog look in my eyes, too; before I remembered that pesky oxygen. Common sense tells you that there should be less material after the fact. And that is exactly what is wrong with applying so-called "common sense" answers to science - often times they are wrong.
 
2008-02-26 06:53:04 PM  
MrSteve007: "..Currently, there are 177 underground storage tanks...

Excellent. Thank you -- and it deserves more attention by the media.
 
2008-02-26 06:56:34 PM  
Future nuclear engineer here. I'm really interested in the GE PRISM reactors. GE talked to my university a couple of days ago and they're trying to built a model of one...look it up online too lazy to explain how it works or why its safer...oh added benefit to that reactor, it can be used for electrolysis
 
2008-02-26 07:02:45 PM  
Antimatter: I seem to remember some form of nuclear that involved smacking tiny atoms into each other, making Helium, and producing godlike amounts of clean power.

anyone know why the government isn't throwing money at making that work? A few trillion over the next decade would probabaly be enough to make it work, and hell, being able to tell the middle east to go fark itself afterwords would make it all worth while.


That's fusion power. Works by fusing two atoms of hydrogen into a single helium atom. They know how to make it go--it's essentially the same process as a hydrogen bomb--what they can't figure out is how to contain the reaction; as far as I can remember, there's no material strong enough, and they have to use incredibly powerful magnetic fields.

This is from memory, mind you. Any nuke students out there, if I'm wrong, please weigh in.
 
2008-02-26 07:03:26 PM  
MassDeficit: MrSteve007: "..Currently, there are 177 underground storage tanks...

Excellent. Thank you -- and it deserves more attention by the media.


Why, so you can use it for even more baseless fear-mongering?
 
2008-02-26 07:03:51 PM  
TheGreyPiper: Better yet: how can we get rid of all the anti-nuke hippies?

Even better
 
2008-02-26 07:09:43 PM  
MassDeficit: MrSteve007: "..Currently, there are 177 underground storage tanks...

Excellent. Thank you -- and it deserves more attention by the media.


Eh, they don't care unless there's another accident or leak. I used to be the CBS and CNN producer contact for the area for KIMA TV. Although I thought they might have been more interested in last year's 100 gallon leak during clean up that caused a temporary evacuation of the reservation.

Hanford actually has a lot to offer currentnooclear technology. Did you know that they operated breeder reactor there? And it's currently being scrapped.

Calls were made to restart the breeder reactor, but then that was quickly ended after reports found that the Fast flux reactor had a 1 in 3 chance over 30 years of a major radiation release on the nearby public.
 
2008-02-26 07:15:59 PM  
MrSteve007: MassDeficit: MrSteve007: "..Currently, there are 177 underground storage tanks...

Excellent. Thank you -- and it deserves more attention by the media.

Eh, they don't care unless there's another accident or leak. I used to be the CBS and CNN producer contact for the area for KIMA TV. Although I thought they might have been more interested in last year's 100 gallon leak during clean up that caused a temporary evacuation of the reservation.

Hanford actually has a lot to offer currentnooclear technology. Did you know that they operated breeder reactor there? And it's currently being scrapped.

Calls were made to restart the breeder reactor, but then that was quickly ended after reports found that the Fast flux reactor had a 1 in 3 chance over 30 years of a major radiation release on the nearby public.


But it can turn a DeLorean into a time machine!
 
2008-02-26 07:19:42 PM  
TheGreyPiper: Better yet: how can we get rid of all the anti-nuke hippies?

Nuke 'em?
 
2008-02-26 07:28:25 PM  
A quick, slightly off-topic question for the nukes:

What is the power plant job market looking like for reactor operators these days?

I might be looking to inquire about just such a job in just under 1000 days, 4 hours and 37 minutes (numbers fudged for the interweb, but you better believe I'm counting them).
 
2008-02-26 07:32:27 PM  
Zoinks! Again, I would say that we barely avoided a much larger disaster.

"Much larger disaster"? What was the disaster? Cost the power company some money, that's all.

On my way home from work I "barely avoided" running a red light which probably would've killed several people. But I used the brakes on my car and stopped at the light instead.
 
2008-02-26 07:33:27 PM  
Antimatter: I seem to remember some form of nuclear that involved smacking tiny atoms into each other, making Helium, and producing godlike amounts of clean power.

As Auditory_Hallucination pointed out, that's fusion.

Antimatter is still mostly theoretical and mathematical. It's needed to balance out certain equations, I believe.

The general idea is that Matter and Antimatter anihilate each other when they come into contact, resulting in and enormous discharge of energy. IIRC, the notion for a reactor is that you could collide protons with anti-protons in a controlled reaction and harness the energy released. The concept is mathematically simple, at least in theory.

The risk factor with a matter=antimatter reactor is quite high, though, as containment tends to fail at critical moments, such as when a Romulan Warbird is hot on your tail, or seconds after your core ejection systems are unrelatedly disabled. Scottish engineers have had some success at overcoming these problems, and have averted several potential disasters with mere seconds to spare.
 
2008-02-26 07:39:55 PM  
fredklein: Blues_Fan: TMi was a wakeup call, as was Browns Ferry's fire.

Wakeup call? Only for dumbasses.
"Site personnel were resealing the penetration after cable installation and were checking the airflow through a temporary seal with a candle flame prior to installing the permanent sealing material. The temporary sealing material was highly combustible, and caught fire."

/image if they used a candleflame at a oil refinery....


Never said it was the smartest thing in the world, just a standard, for the time, industrial practice. At least as I understand it.

In fact, the Browns Ferry fire was a dumbass move all around, including not fighting the fire. Choosing instead to close the doors and let it burn itself out. Good luck with that ($250 million later, plus what ever costs were incurred and generation lost in 20 years of down time.

For reference, the first plant I worked at cost $85 million, 100 if you count initial fuel.
 
2008-02-26 07:41:36 PM  
CTaylor80: A quick, slightly off-topic question for the nukes:

What is the power plant job market looking like for reactor operators these days?

I might be looking to inquire about just such a job in just under 1000 days, 4 hours and 37 minutes (numbers fudged for the interweb, but you better believe I'm counting them).



Excellent.

license bonuses, retention pay, etc.
 
2008-02-26 07:42:40 PM  
I'd like to offer cookies to the nuke people in this thread, and smacks upside the head to the people in this thread who don't seem to understand that TMI does not equal Chernobyl. TMI ain't shiat, the other unit is still running and has had NO problems that I'm aware of.

/In my opinion, Davis Besse is the worst
//over TMI by far
///getting a kick
 
2008-02-26 07:43:54 PM  
i design safety systems for nuclear power plants, so im really getting a kick out of these replies

/no really, i do
//works for westinghouse nuclear
///not as scary as the "general public" thinks.
////working on the next generation of nuclear plants - google pebble bed modular reactor if youre interested
 
2008-02-26 07:43:58 PM  
img509.imageshack.us

I'm a nuclear engineer & I'm pretty worried right now...

/How big is the Pwesident?
 
2008-02-26 07:44:51 PM  
CTaylor80: A quick, slightly off-topic question for the nukes:

What is the power plant job market looking like for reactor operators these days?

I might be looking to inquire about just such a job in just under 1000 days, 4 hours and 37 minutes (numbers fudged for the interweb, but you better believe I'm counting them).


As soon as they let you off the boat, your chances are probably pretty good. My plant and others need dozens of operators (non-licensed and licensed) and further, they like to staff the 'leadership' of as much as the plant as possible with operators.

This means there's a continous vacuum upwards for operators. As a cosequence, their continual recruitment, training, and advancement is required. Navy Nukes consist of a significant part of the new hires.

Depending on the plant and your educational background, you may have to start as a non-licensed operator, work for a few years, and then go to license class.

Overall I get the impression that the staffing pressures faced at my nuke plant are common throughout the industry.
 
2008-02-26 07:46:50 PM  
I used to drive past that area on my way to & from work, and saw somebody with the license plate, "1MLTDWN". Now THAT'S a Pennsylvanian with a sense of humor!
 
2008-02-26 07:47:44 PM  
Blues_Fan: CTaylor80: A quick, slightly off-topic question for the nukes:

What is the power plant job market looking like for reactor operators these days?

I might be looking to inquire about just such a job in just under 1000 days, 4 hours and 37 minutes (numbers fudged for the interweb, but you better believe I'm counting them).


Excellent.

license bonuses, retention pay, etc.


Awesome, man . . . what kind of degrees or qualifications are they looking for, mostly? Or who should I talk to about such things?
 
2008-02-26 07:50:42 PM  
Its all a matter of risk aversion. Do you accept the small risk of a big disaster or do you accept the guarantee of low-levels of pollution. Thats what this all comes down to in IGCC Coal v Nuclear.

The public has seen the havoc a poorly maintained reactor can do, and by and large they are not risk neutral, they are risk averse.

MagusAzod: A coal fired plant produces about 25 tons of emissions and other waste every year per person served (from about 10 tons of coal). By contrast, an person's entire lifetime worth of processed waste generated from a nuclear plant (including encapsulation) could fit in the palm of his hand.*

Fail, See: conservation of mass.
 
2008-02-26 07:52:45 PM  
tman17m: i design safety systems for nuclear power plants, so im really getting a kick out of these replies

/no really, i do
//works for westinghouse nuclear
///not as scary as the "general public" thinks.
////working on the next generation of nuclear plants - google pebble bed modular reactor if youre interested


Pebble beds look great, but is it really feasible to either build a containment around each reactor (economical?), or convince folks they're not needed (politically difficult)?

That's the big thing I'm wondering about. I get the impression that the power density is so low (for non-nukes out there, that's great for safety!) that you'd have to fill a containment building with reactors to get the same thermal output as a PWR that only takes up a comparitively small fraction of the building.
 
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