Skip to main content

View Diary: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Fukishima (154 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Most American reactors (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, patbahn

    are at or past their original design life. This is a huge problem for their owners as the sunk cost of these plants is enormous and the profits (when they are operating) will reverse into losses as soon as they close and begin the extravagantly expensive decommissioning phase. A questionable asset becomes a huge liability, overnight.

    So despite the poor design of this 1970's era technology (some with elevated fuel pools that have no containment and must be constantly cooled), and the accumulated corrosion, radioactive embrittlement, cracks and leaks, they must somehow be kept running.

    This economic pressure means that private companies and their coconspirator the NRC will keep extending their operating life, until something (tsunami or no tsunami) fails and we get our American Fukushima.

    •  hmmm.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Morgan Sandlin

      "Most American reactors are at or past their original design life."

      Well no. First there is no real "design life". There is only "life of the license" which is still the original 1950s era "boilerplate" based on hydro re-licensing. The life of the original gen II plants we have operating now is based entirely on the condition of the plant. that's it. So the plants, being overbuilt, can go beyond their 40 year license. They knew this based on the hyrdo-electric boiler plate, 40 years then ever 20 years. No dam was ever built for only 40 years. They 'expected' a 100 year life and informally it's about 1,000 years. Seriously.

      The build RE-licensing into the application for each nuke knowing this, which is why the can be re-licensed from the get go: there is no "life span".

      Secondly, most plants are well under the 40 year license renewable period, most around 30 years, not forty.

      Now all new plants, like the 4 under construction in S. Carolina and Georgia are seen as "lasting" to a minimum of 60 years with a 20 year re-licensing prospect.

      When you write "When they are online..." you imply that is rare. in fact they are online MORE than another form of baseload power in the world, including hydro which is subject to seasonal highs and lows. 90% is the average capacity factor in the US. 95% in Korea.

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 11:05:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I do not think your claims are true (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        enemy of the people, worldlotus
        No dam was ever built for only 40 years. They 'expected' a 100 year life and informally it's about 1,000 years. Seriously.
        I don't know of any engineer who claims current hydroelectric dams were built to last 1,000 years, informally or not.  I would love to meet the engineers who make that claim, formally or informally, or standing on a box in a park.

        If you actually believe the 1,000 year claim, it threatens the credibility about your nuclear power plant claims because the NRC would not currently agree with you that there is absolutely no safety "life span" for nuclear power plants. They may not agree with me about 40 years, but I have never head a one of them claim 1,000 years or forever.

        btw, You do know that plants are built with concrete and metal pipes and rebar and many of the same stuff that erode over time, especially when exposed to the kind of high stress in high heat nuclear power plants.

        "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

        by Uncle Moji on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 03:03:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I would not compare a nuclear plant (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        worldlotus, patbahn

        to a hydroelectric dam. Hydroelectric plants are extremely simple (dam, intake, turbines) and do not involve critical active cooling systems, radioactive fuel, control rods or onsite nuclear waste storage. A hydroelectric dam does not depend on grid power or emergency generators to prevent a meltdown, nor can it generate a hydrogen explosion or permanently contaminate hundreds of square miles of countryside.

        What is the current capacity factor at 3 Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima (x6) or San Onofre?

      •  so many mistakes (0+ / 0-)

        "First there is no real "design life". There is only "life of the license" which is "

        Um, no there is a design life, it's a basic part of all engineering efforts.  While the Primary containment may be designed for a long life, the steam components, valves, sensors, all that stuff is designed for a specific life.

        It's why they are undergoing some fairly expensive refits,
        they are picking the parts that are obviously worn and past their fatigue life.  The real issue is of course the
        reactor, the transition temps on the reactors keep creeping up from temperature and neutron embrittlement.  

        When the Rac passes 100C on that, it's toast.

        also lots of buried pipes,  when those go, it's super expensive to fix.

        As for Hydro, a dam has everything running cold and as it is, the overflow diverters are shot on the Glen Canyon and hoover dam.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site