Skip to main content

The NRC, under pressure from the indie journalists at Portland, Oregon based Cascadia Times, have just released a heavily censored report about inadequate flood protection at dozens of US Nuke plants.
The article, with a link to the NRC report, is here:

http://times.org/...

The NRC report admits that regulators initially improperly calculated the likely levels of floods at several nuclear plant sites, and often failed to consider the additional dangers to nukes from upstream dam failures.

In several instances, rather than “hardening” their plants against the additional flood predictions, Nuke plant operators, including Fort Calhoun in Nebraska, have promised the NRC they will implement temporary measures like stacking sandbags if flooding reached the newly predicted levels.

Those temporary measures failed last year at Fort Calhoun. Originally, the Federal Emergency Management Administration predicted the 100-year-flood at the Fort Calhoun plant, 15 miles north of the 408,000 residents of Omaha, Nebraska, would only reach 1006 feet above sea level.  The plant protected itself to 1007 feet. In 1993, the Army Corps re-calculated that floods could reach 1009.3 feet.  

Fort Calhoun promised it would make up the difference with flood gates and sandbags.  In June 2011, flooding reached 1007 feet. Floodwaters surrounded the plant when the temporary measures, including a “bladder” that was supposed to be a flood wall, failed.

Several other Nukes, according to the NRC report at page 10, are still relying on similar temporary flood control actions. Cooper Station, south of Omaha, will install sandbags and wood planks. Three Mile Island and Vermont Yankee will install floodgates and sandbags, and plug their floor drains, among other measures.

Arkansas Nuclear One, Beaver Valley, Pa., Watts Bar, Tn, and Sequoyah, Tn,  will just shut down when flooding threatens. Of course, those plants will still need to maintain core cooling with backup equipment and protect the plant from flood damage. However it isn’t clear the Nukes are well-prepared. The NRC warned “…it is not clear that the above (flood) factors were comprehensively and consistently considered for all plants.”

Several nukes are also downstream from large dams, and a dam failure could severely damage those plants.  The NRC specifically cited risks to the Oconee plant in southeast South Carolina.  Figure 6 in the NRC report also apparently revealed that a half-dozen nuclear plants are within about 10 miles of large upstream dams, and dozens of other plants face flooding risks.

The NRC’s discussed in some detail the dam failure risks at the Watts Bar and Prairie Island nukes. The NRC said the flood safety margin at Prairie Island “becomes negative,”  which is engineer-eese for saying the plant will flood if there are “wave effects.”

Watts Bar is hardened against floods up to 728 feet above sea level.  Yet “..the maximum probable precipitation event” could cause water to rise to 738.8 feet, apparently leaving part of the plant under 10 feet of water. But the Nuke operator claims its equipment “…is designed to operate submerged.”

Perhaps the most important issue is why the NRC initially withheld this information, and continues to withhold part of it.  The NRC has allowed the nuclear industry to secretly delay hardening their plants against these updated flood dangers.
The NRC and other agencies justify their secrecy by claiming that terrorists could exploit these plants’ deficiencies, apparently by blowing up a dam upstream from a nuke.  In my opinion, the best way to thwart terrorist attacks is to increase protections for the nuclear plants, not to keep their malfeasances secret.

Finally, I'm pro-nuke. But the Industry tries my patience way too often.  This is the latest example.

Originally posted to RedwoodMan on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 02:51 PM PST.

Also republished by Nuclear Free DK.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  So, what is/are the worst case scenario/s? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radical def, Joieau

    For instance, Watts Bar is safe in a flood up to 728 feet above sea level.  A maximum possible precipitation event would have flood waters at 738.8 feet above sea level.
    The plant operator claims the plant will function safely even under water.  Are there plans to evaluate these claims?  

    Democrats - We represent America!

    by phonegery on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 03:19:24 PM PST

  •  Let me get this straight: (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, gzodik, eigenlambda, bryfry, notrouble

    your one example where this actually happened is Fort Calhoun.  Unless there's some massive media conspiracy, there's been no disaster there despite this:

    "In June 2011, flooding reached 1007 feet. Floodwaters surrounded the plant when the temporary measures, including a “bladder” that was supposed to be a flood wall, failed."

    Additionally, despite everything going wrong at Fukushima, there is no massive exclusion zone, no uncontrolled release of radiation (a-la Chernobyl)...Compared to coal, even the disasters in nuclear release less radioactive material (unregulated unranium present in the tons and tons of coal burned at such plants).  Aside from shutting down modern civilization, nuclear is currently the only sustainable option.

    •  OR, here's another idea: (6+ / 0-)

      lift the freeze on new nuclear plant construction which has been in place for roughly the past 40 years and allow some of the advances in plant design to be deployed! Modern designs with passive cooling systems (no power required) or liquid metal reactors which self-shutdown come to mind.

    •  I agree (6+ / 0-)

      I want nukes, and new nukes, but I think they should go the extra mile to protect those facilities. I am not convinced they are.

      Oddly, I am reading an NBC story on my other computer specifically about the "exclusion zone" at Fukushima at the same time I am reading your post.

      There was no disaster at Fort Calhoun, by the grace of God, not because of the splendid preparation by the Utility.  You can't balance sandbags on the narrow top of the floodgate and expect them to stay put against the raging Missouri River.

      •  i was over at msnbc on the comment section (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, native, Joieau, ozsea1

        there are a lot of people who just think fukushima is nothing but a  tiny mistake with no consequences

      •  You pinpointed a big problem (6+ / 0-)

        in saying (1) they are not willing to go the extra mile for plant safety.  Thank you.

        But, that's not the only problem. There's also:

        2) the waste problem.  It was my job to review the Yucca Mountain status reports and those were simply appalling.
        3) the emergency preparedness problem: flawed testing, negligence and whitewashes.  
        4) the cost problem: constant patching, toversight, preparedness, waste disposal, insurance and, when something blows up, the cost of cleanup, compensation, and replacement.
        5) the environmental impacts--and not just from accidents. Nukes need a lot of water, and we're going to run short of that before long due to global warming. Already, some plants have had to shut down due to lack of water needed for other purposes.
        6) the human impacts--the fear, health consequences, and displacement that come with an accident like Fukushima. Farmers' livelihoods and traditions crushed. Families fractured. Thyroid cancers.  And more.

        I've always been open to the idea that nuclear energy might be a reasonable choice, but these negatives are hard to ignore.

        •  I share all of your concerns about nukes (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Harm, subtropolis

          especially water use.  But Climate Change and the rising carbon dioxide percentage in the air has me utterly dismayed.

          I don't see any way out, short of curtailing future fossil-fuel-fired power generation.

          And nukes are the only carbon-free large base-load power provider.

          I was unnerved to watch all the reactors at Fukushima explode, though.

          •  There are no simple solutions surely nt (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            subtropolis
          •  Why "only" baseload (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elfling, oldpotsmuggler

            source? Hydro is certainly a viable technology, and that does not need to be gigawatt plants at all if we don't box ourselves into the bad planning of the early 20th century (nothing "new" in that, is there?). Decentralization is the smarter way to go, and there are literally multi-thousands of villages, towns and cities all across this country with flowing water that can be used to turn wheels. No need for big dams and impounded land-hogging lakes, undershots work just fine.

            Geothermal could be developed as well, though that doesn't seem to be happening very fast. I've suggested many times that Japan has immense geothermal resources and people complain that they can't build in the mountains. Well, then drill slant-wells to tap the heat. It's not like we don't have THAT technology or anything.

            Insist on site generation for industry, solar on their acre-sized roofs and wind on the property. It would certainly dent their consumption from the grid. Subsidies for farms, homesteads and rural counties to install site generation as well. Tidal technologies are making big strides as well, and surely no one claims the tides are somehow "intermittent." We need to get away from simply boiling water and go for direct generation without adding heat or hogging the water supplies.

            Look up "nuclear fuel cycle carbon" and you'll get lots of returns on just how NOT carbon neutral nukes really are. They will not save our planet, so we're better off doing something smart.

            •  We need to keep thinking (0+ / 0-)

              It would take an awful lot of small hydros to make 1000 Mw, and some of those would degrade aquatic habitat.  In the Pacific NW the big dams have destroyed salmon runs.  

              I've reviewed "bundles" of a dozen or so proposed small hydros in the 1-20 MW range. Usually most of them choked off the upstream areas from the fishies.

              Government Folks don't want dams on the Mekong because of habitat destruction. What a shame.

              Smaller hydros will also run dry in the summer.

              Geothermal has plugged away my whole adult life and is only up to a few thousands megawatts in the USA, despite opening up new fields like Imperial County and Mammoth and China Lakes.

              On site generation for industry will probably include cogeneration gas turbines to firm up their power supply, and natural gas, my former favorite, is under attack for the fracking impacts.

              I strongly favor the on site solar you mentioned, and let's not forget massive energy conservation efforts; insulation and so on.

    •  Um, there certainly was (12+ / 0-)

      uncontrolled release of radiation ... as well as controlled release of radiation .... and significant areas are still contaminated and evacuated.

      Was it the end of civilization as we know it? No. But it was still very, very bad.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 03:50:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your line is false, ace... (15+ / 0-)

      The risks of flooding are real, and there is, in fact, a large exclusionary zone around Fukushima, and nobody with a brain is proposing coal as an "alternative" to nukes.

      Going green all the way will not throw us back into the stone age, but is, in fact, the cutting edge of the latest advances in modern technology.

      The real "Luddites" are those reactionary conservatives who stubbornly want to stick with old, obsolete nuke tech, against the popular democratic will and the public interest, and who refuse to allow us to go green, so we can surge forward into the 21st Century.

      Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

      by Radical def on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 03:53:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's it, Ace!!! The explosions (10+ / 0-)

      at Fukishima never happened!

      There's not still a giant lump of molten corium burning its way to ground water.

      It's all cleaned up.

      Right?

      Bombing Iran is far more dangerous than Iran getting The Bomb.

      by JesseCW on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 04:49:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The bladder (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NYFM, bryfry, subtropolis, erush1345, Sean X

      that failed was to protect the transmission yard, not the reactor buildings. It was put in ad hoc to add operational flexibility but was not credited in their flooding analysis. The diesel generators they did rely on were protected and were unaffected by the bladder failure.

    •  ????? (5+ / 0-)
      Additionally, despite everything going wrong at Fukushima, there is no massive exclusion zone, no uncontrolled release of radiation (a-la Chernobyl).
      WTF?
    •  Oh sure. (6+ / 0-)

      Everything's fine at Fukushima.

      "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

      by native on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 05:28:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry but your statement is inoperative (7+ / 0-)

      "there is no massive exclusion zone, no uncontrolled release of radiation"

      There is an exclusion zone around Fukushima Daiichi and significant release of radiation to the air and ocean.

      The shear quantity of fresh and spent fuel (in 4 reactors and their associated spent fuel pools) makes this ongoing situation very dangerous.  Trying to minimize the melt-down at Fukushima by comparing it to Chernobyl is disingenuous.

      •  Meant about Calhoun, where NOTHING (1+ / 1-)
        Recommended by:
        bryfry
        Hidden by:
        ozsea1

        HAPPENED despite the doomers here who WANTED something to happen.

        The way the sentence was written appears to be conflating Calhoun and Fukushima.

        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 Mar 08, 2012 at 08:40:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  FALSE (0+ / 0-)

          and out of bounds. There were no

          doomers here who WANTED something to happen.
          This is donut-worthy. To conflate legitimate concerns about fission-driven steam power with misanthropic nuclear death is Breitbart material.

          "I'm good, but I'll get better". ~ Thom Hartmann

          by ozsea1 on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 10:39:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Nothing happened at Calhoun (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling

          Except it scared the s--t out of everyone including the NRC because the plant was not protected as designed from the anticipated storm.

          The NRC took enforcement action against the Calhoun owner for failure to maintain external flooding procedures.

          If the NRC hadn't blacked out the entire letter it sent to the utility that owned Calhoun, we might know a little more.

          Please note I'm not calling for closing Calhoun, but I think they need more than extra sandbags against floods.

        •  not sure who you consider to be a "doomer" (0+ / 0-)

          but a big eff you if you're implying that I "WANTED" something bad to happen.

    •  FALSE (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Radical def, Russgirl
      Aside from shutting down modern civilization, nuclear is currently the only sustainable option.
      This statement is hyperbolic bullshit and worthy of a donut.

      "I'm good, but I'll get better". ~ Thom Hartmann

      by ozsea1 on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 05:56:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  ??? (8+ / 0-)

      600 square kilometers isn't 'massive' in a country the size of Japan? And it should easily be two or three that if they weren't determined to poison their own people.

      And you're telling us they controlled those exploding buildings, those leaks of billions of trillions of becquerels into the ocean, and everything still coming out 24-7 to this day? Really?

      By the way, there are all of 2 nuclear plants operating in Japan right now. Those will be closed by summer and then there will be none. They have suffered a lot this past year, but they look to still be civilized and modern. This sort of hyperbole isn't very convincing.

    •  Everything has NOT gone wrong (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Radical def, bear83, elfling, Lawrence, Joieau
      Additionally, despite everything going wrong at Fukushima, there is no massive exclusion zone, no uncontrolled release of radiation (a-la Chernobyl)...
      So far, anyway. Radioactive waste continues to seep into groundwater and then the nearby saltwater.

      "I'm good, but I'll get better". ~ Thom Hartmann

      by ozsea1 on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 06:51:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  note the diarist is "pro-nuke" (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence, Joieau, elfling, ozsea1

      The point here isn't that NRC is covering up any disasters. The Fort Calhoun episode is a reminder of how little has been done. And there are dozens of other reactors at risk. What measures that have been taken—and apparently deemed acceptable by NRC—have been only barely adequate. Protecting nuclear power plants with sandbags is a joke.

      And enough went wrong at Fukushima for all of us to be chilled.  Indeed, had the plant manager listened to Tepco and evacuated everyone we would have seen a catatrophe to dwarf the initial tsunami. Picture Tokyo uninhabitable and many millions of people severely dosed. It was a very close thing and remains a huge problem to deal with. You make it seem as if everything's just hunky-dory now. It ain't.

      All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

      by subtropolis on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 10:26:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I concur with Union of Concerned Scientists... (9+ / 0-)


    Nuclear energy research and development (R&D) should therefore continue, with a focus on enhancing safety, security, and waste disposal.
    But meanwhile, nuclear power is  not safe "enough", especially due to lax regulation and enforcement.  

    UCS Position on Nukes

    Personally, I think new deployment should be curtailed, and existing plants should be shut down and decommissioned if they cannot be rendered safe, which I don't think they can.

    The decommissioning itself will take many years, with huge costs, including further R&D just to figure out how to do it properly, especially in regard to all the waste we've already piled up.

    Our only hope for really getting on top of this issue is a fully staffed and funded EPA that's Not rotten with Chamber of Commerce hacks from the same industries they're supposed to regulate.

    I have no doubt such an EPA would soon put a report on the desk of the Prez, informing him that there presently is no such thing as "safe" nukes (or "clean" coal), and that we must go green, all the way, immediately, to save the planet.

    And the Prez will say "OK, let's do it!".

    But for this to happen will require substantially more progressive plurality in the House and Senate, plain and simple.

    As long as we're hostage to right wing majorities the whole world is screwed, on this, or any other issue.

    Bring the Better Democrats!

    All Out for the Primaries!

    Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

    by Radical def on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 03:34:11 PM PST

    •  Safety Could be Ensured - Just Not Cheaply (8+ / 0-)
      "...Personally, I think new deployment should be curtailed, and existing plants should be shut down and decommissioned if they cannot be rendered safe, which I don't think they can..."
      For half a century the US Navy followed a basic principal in the deign of its battleships (the dreadnoughts, those old ships named after states).  All of the critical components were placed inside a heavily armored area of the ship called a citadel.  The items placed inside this area were necessary  for the functioning of the ship in battle and its return to port even after receiving heavy damage.

      This principal could be followed with nuclear reactors.  It would just involve an expansion of what is considered vital to the the reactors safe operation and shut down.  It would mean that much more electrical and control equipment would need to be treated with the same reverence given to the reactor core itself.  Much of this equipment is pretty mundane - plant control systems, electrical switchgear, diesel generators, plant emergency batteries, diesel fuel tanks.  All of it would need to be placed in a hardened environment impervious to flood and fire and storm, similar to the reactor's containment vessel.  It just wouldn't be cheap.  That is the principal reason it hasn't been done, not that it can't be done.

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 03:57:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  EPA abrogated its (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1, Radical def, Russgirl, Deep Harm

      responsibilities by shutting down the constant-read RadNet when releases INCREASED at Fukushima last year, going back to occasional monitoring of food, milk, water and such.

  •  What concerns me most about this (11+ / 0-)

    is the lackadaisical sensation about it all. "Oh, sure, there could be some sort of disaster. We'll have 72 hours to go to the hardware store and stock up and build us some countermeasures and it will all turn out fine."

    Sandbags are good against relatively quiet floods, the kind where water just rises. They're not good against raging, broiling water and unless you have them just lying around, it takes real time and effort to deploy them. You have to collect sand and you have to fill them and you have to stack them. They're not going to save you in a dam breach and they're not going to save you if the rise in water is sudden.

    Then there's the whole "requires backup power" problem. No one could imagine that they'd be 72 hours off the grid. It's time to imagine it, because in a severe disaster, anyone could be more than that from having a grid hookup, even an installation as high priority as a nuclear power plant, as Fukushima so sadly demonstrated.

    They need to be prepared for disasters beyond their wildest dreams and to be inaccessible to the outside world for a week with zero notice.

    If they are not willing and able to take these measures, then you have to wonder if they are really willing and able to operate a nuclear power plant at all.  

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 04:05:59 PM PST

    •  That's exactly right (8+ / 0-)

      In fact some of the operators are apparently assuming hey, if the dam breaks, its 100 miles away, the flood travels 3-4 miles an hour, we've got a whole day to prepare! (P. 11)

    •  and we all know who pays and who gets hit the (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      native, Radical def, Joieau, Russgirl

      hardest and who has no insurance to cover anything and who lives near power plants. and it isnt the rich or even the well to do. it is the poor

    •  The reason they're not (6+ / 0-)

      prepared for disasters beyond their wildest dreams is because there is constant pressure from industry to keep the scenarios used for emergency exercises "realistic," which means TMI at worst.

      •  TMI at worst... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bryfry

        remember how, after TMI, there was no new nuclear construction in America?  I guess it's nice to finally hear the anti-nuclear crowd admitting that TMI wasn't really that bad.

        Global warming is the inconvenient truth, nuclear power is the inconvenient alternative.

        by eigenlambda on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 05:19:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wrong, wrong (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          subtropolis, Joieau

          First:  I don't speak for the "anti-nuclear crowd" (which is not a monolith, anyway).

          Second:  Nothing I said implied that TMI "wasn't really that bad."  A unclear accident doesn't have to be a worst-case scenario to be a terrible mess.

          •  Unclear? (0+ / 0-)

            I assume that you mean "nuclear."

            A unclear [sic] accident doesn't have to be a worst-case scenario to be a terrible mess.
            Neither does a traffic accident. You still rely on motor vehicles for transportation, don't you?

            Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
            -- Albert Einstein

            by bryfry on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 08:06:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, it was a typo (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              subtropolis

              And your traffic analogy doesn't begin to compare, as my detailed explanation upthread demonstrates.

              •  Doesn't begin to compare? (1+ / 2-)
                Recommended by:
                eigenlambda
                Hidden by:
                indycam, cville townie

                Yes, I agree. Motor vehicles resulted in almost 33,000 deaths in the US alone in 2010. Meanwhile, how many deaths did nuclear plants cause that year worldwide? Even given the Fukushima event last year, how many deaths did nuclear plants cause in 2011?

                Even the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan a year ago didn't manage to kill 33,000 people, and none of these people were killed by radiation from the nuclear plant.

                Don't you have any sense of perspective?!

                I'm just glad that you apparently aren't working for the government in disaster preparedness any more. Thank god for small miracles. Explain all you want. Your "explanations" simply serve to exhibit your irrationality and make me feel even better that you have been removed from a position in which you could do some real, deep harm.

                Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
                -- Albert Einstein

                by bryfry on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 08:45:20 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Where did you get that? (8+ / 0-)

                  I was not "removed." I retired from my position--with multiple awards, by the way.

                  If you knew anything at all about my job you wouldn't make the comments you did.

                  Of course, I have perspective.  I also have the good sense not to mix apples and oranges. Upthread, we were talking about energy production, not the universe of hazards faced by humanity.  Nuclear plants compete with other kinds of energy production--not cars, and certainly not tsunamis. Coal has killed many people, but no one here is recommending coal-fired plants. When you throw up the "cars kill lots of people" argument, you're throwing up a red herring.

                  We don't know yet how many people Fukushima will kill because the health impacts are delayed, not nonexistent. In any case, traffic accidents are not in the same category as disasters. To qualify as a disaster, a situation must  require more resources than local authorities can handle. The average traffic accident is cleared by local authorities  within an hour or two. Fukushima required national and worldwide assistance.  Responding to a car accident is not remotely as difficult as responding to a nuclear disaster (and I've had a role in both) because it does not result in mass evacuations, long-term environmental devastation, trade embargoes, crippling of the national economy, relocation of thousands of people, massive interventions to protect the food supply, setting up decontamination stations, waste disposal messes, trade embargoes, disruption of community services, around-the-clock technical teams, enormous logistical problems, international diplomatic incidents, and political fallout.

                  Hopefully, someday we'll have alternatives to both nuclear plants AND cars. But, playing one off against the other is a ridiculous argument that gets the country nowhere.

                  •  Meh (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Mcrab
                    I was not "removed." I retired from my position ...
                    You removed yourself. I never said who did the removing.
                    --with multiple awards, by the way.
                    Congratulations. Well, aren't you proud.
                    If you knew anything at all about my job you wouldn't make the comments you did.
                    All I know of you is from the crazy comments and diaries that you post here on DailyKos. However, even if I knew more, I doubt that I would change my opinion. I've known plenty of people like you. Or don't you think that you accurately convey how you think in the comments that you post here?

                    Now we've gotten all of the petty stuff out of the way ...

                    Responding to a car accident is not remotely as difficult as responding to a nuclear disaster (and I've had a role in both) ..
                    You still don't get it, do you? So-called "nuclear disasters" get so much attention because they are so rare. When, for example, an ammonia truck crashes and kills seven people, spilling a toxic cloud of anhydrous ammonia fumes, nobody bats an eye, and hardly anybody remembers. This one wreck killed more people than the TMI accident. This "traffic accident" is almost forgotten, but everybody remembers TMI, despite that the increase in mortality from TMI cannot be reliably detected by the most careful epidemiological studies.

                    In case you don't follow the link to the "car accident," ...

                    Here's what happened. About 11:15 a.m. on May 11, 1976, a truck carrying 7,500 gallons of anhydrous ammonia from a Tenneco chemical plant was traveling north on the West Loop en route to Corpus Christi. The truck, owned by Transport Co. of Texas, was turning off the Loop on to the Southwest Freeway when the driver lost control of the vehicle, careened off the exit ramp, struck a support column and plunged 15 feet onto the Southwest Freeway.

                    The crash unleashed a cloud of ammonia upon the interchange, severely burning the lungs of anyone who came in close contact. Those who couldn't drive away fled on foot.

                    Seven people died as a result of the accident — five almost immediately, one due to a heart attack after the crash, and one more three years later due to health complications resulting from the accident.
                    Seventy-eight people were hospitalized, and more than 100 were treated for injuries. I m sure some of those people are probably still suffering long-term ailments.
                    Have you ever worked one of those accidents? The main difference between these accidents and the so-called "nuclear disasters" is that these accidents actually require body bags.

                    At the end of the day, all that matters is how many people were killed and how many people were harmed. Studies and reports by credible sources like university researchers and the World Heath Organization have demonstrated, again and again, that the toll in mortality and morbidity from these "nuclear disasters" are less than was originally anticipated and are less than what emergency preparedness plans expect.

                    In fact, some actions taken in the aftermath of such an accident can be more harmful than the accident itself, leaving the affected population displaced and without hope. This leads to other health problems, including such hopelessness-inspired diseases as alcoholism and depression. The United Nation's Chernobyl Forum was quite clear about this.

                    Thus, in the interest of public health, what is needed is not more evangelical disaster preparedness specialists — full of doom-and-gloom and looking to win awards — but a more-intelligent, more-informed approach to handling such situations. This is why the NRC is currently in the process of updating its Reactor Consequence Analyses to use the most up-to-date information and state-of-the-art methodologies available to better understand what happens as a result of an accident.

                    Since you're now retired, you probably don't keep up with such things anymore, so let me bring you up to date with what the NRC has found (PDF):

                    • Existing resources and procedures can stop an accident, slow it down or reduce its impact before it can affect the public;
                    • Even if accidents proceed uncontrolled, they take much longer to happen and release much less radioactive material than earlier analyses suggested; and
                    • The analyzed accidents would cause essentially zero immediate deaths and only a very, very small increase in the risk of long-term cancer deaths.
                    FYI, these finding don't come from assuming that TMI was the "worst." If you are going to comment on such stuff, then you should come out of retirement for a moment and educate yourself on what is currently being done, instead of making ignorant, blanket statements, based on outdated information.

                    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
                    -- Albert Einstein

                    by bryfry on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 04:53:28 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  More baseless charges, (0+ / 0-)

                      goofy claims, and slanderous allegations.

                      Have a nice day, Junior.  I have better things to do with my time.

                      •  Goofy? Slanderous? (0+ / 0-)

                        I referenced and quoted directly from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

                        You have a problem with that?

                        Yet one more reason that I'm glad that you no longer work in "disaster preparedness."

                        Good bye and good riddance.

                        Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
                        -- Albert Einstein

                        by bryfry on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 10:01:19 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

            •  Non sequitur (0+ / 0-)

              But hey, at least you're good at something.

              Now, here's a cookie and a warm glass of milk.

              "I'm good, but I'll get better". ~ Thom Hartmann

              by ozsea1 on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 10:41:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  I read this comment differently (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau

          that the nuclear operators aren't obligated to plan for anything worse than a TMI-type accident, 'because obviously that is as bad as it might get.'

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 10:18:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Heck, a single big CME (7+ / 0-)

      could knock out the grid entirely and keep it down for however long it takes to rebuild/repair it - months or years. It only takes 16 hours for a nuke to melt all the way down. In another 8 or so it'll be in the basement and headed for the easiest way out of the building.

      If the EDGs are unavailable for any reason, the 8 hours' worth of battery backup isn't anywhere near enough.

  •  I remained neutral for years (11+ / 0-)

    as I evaluated emergency preparedness for nuclear power plant disasters. But, increasingly I became fed up with the stalling, lies, negligence, and coverups by government on behalf of the industry. I could write pages about the problems I uncovered that had been ignored for years.

    The emergency response at Fukushima by government officials was simply appalling, and I'd like to think the US would do better, but I sincerely doubt it would be any more honest with its citizens.

    •  Think Katrina (8+ / 0-)

      with a radioactive disaster.

      Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

      by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 05:42:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Katrina? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        notrouble, erush1345, Sean X

        Uh ... you do realize that the Waterford Nuclear Plant is in St. Charles Parish, in the "Greater New Orleans" region, and was directly in the path of Hurricane Katrina, don't you? No, I suppose you don't.

        For your information, it not only weathered the hurricane, but it came back online less than two weeks later.

        Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
        -- Albert Einstein

        by bryfry on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 08:02:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Big deal! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Horace Boothroyd III, Joieau

          A friend of mine has an ordinary house near the plant, and it made it through the storm okay, too. (The flooding didn't reach that far.)

        •  That could demonstrate that (0+ / 0-)

          a nuke can withstand brutal conditions, if planned for. Maybe the Waterford nuke owners deserve praise for designing and building a tough plant that defeated a more-severe-storm than predicted.

          •  And Deep, tell that to the people in the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bryfry

            Lower 9th Ward. NOTHING survived. Always few exceptions. As such no nuke in the US has suffered an onsite power failure due to natural disasters. Muchadobaboutnothing. AGain. Period.

            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 Mar 08, 2012 at 08:44:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I think the comment was intended to be (0+ / 0-)

          more metaphorical. Not that a Cat 3 hurricane would be likely to take out a nuclear power plant, but that widespread disasters can and do happen even in America, and that a disaster on that scale with a nuclear plant involved either as a primary or secondary victim (as would be the case, say, with a major dam breach) would be overwhelming.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 08:45:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And yet...here we are. I think the dam issue (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bryfry

            has to be looked at. So...what? Seriously...if we TAKE it seriously, we address the issue. But your end game has to be clear: IF there are really any threats against dams upriver from nuclear power plants, what needs to be done to make them safe? Again, if you support real solutions, this means you end up being in favor of continuing nuclear energy from reactors down river from these dams.

            A serious Risk Assessment, publicly available, should be released and I join you in demanding this. However, does this mean you stop harping about it?

            The Ft. Calhoun seen...really, here on the DK it was total and absolute doom and gloom from the usual Doomers here. it was sad.

            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 Mar 08, 2012 at 08:56:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Personally? I don't believe being downriver from (0+ / 0-)

              a dam in an inundation zone is safe. I wouldn't buy a house below a dam either. It shocks me how many people are willing to do so. The force and power of water is not to be trifled with. And it's not just water that comes when they break: it will roar down river with houses, cars, all kinds of heavy, battering debris.

              Since the plant is there, they need to look at serious, permanent, powerful structures that would protect it from such an event. Not, "Oh, if we hear the dam has broken, we'll go get some sandbags."

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 01:45:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  They're having a grand old time (7+ / 0-)

    doing a clean up at Hanford these days. Spending $2 billion a year with no end in sight. After 30 years of trying.

    Of course nothing like that could ever happen again. Certainly not.

    "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

    by native on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 05:57:29 PM PST

    •  Hanford is a little different situation (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling, notrouble, subtropolis

      But, a warning we should not ignore.

      •  So the issue is how to address it. (0+ / 0-)

        If you take an anti-nuke position, you are out of the discussion. If you take the outlier, USC position, in theory, you want to solve the problems in order to make nuclear even safer. If you make it safer, you make it yet more acceptable. It's in contradiction to Green Peace which universally wants all nukes phased out.

        When you argue, as you did above, that you want to see R&D shifted away from nuclear, and then have it phased out, you are part of the problem, not the solution.

        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 Mar 08, 2012 at 08:46:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Au contraire (0+ / 0-)
          If you take an anti-nuke position, you are out of the discussion.
          Bleats you.

          The discussion, as you so blithely put it, has hardly begun.

          We're not going away, despite your glib reassurances and condescension.

          We don't need early twentieth-century-tech fission steam power. Thorium as a bridge tech, maybe. Fusion, zero-point for the future, definitely.

          "I'm good, but I'll get better". ~ Thom Hartmann

          by ozsea1 on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 10:49:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Possible reason for redaction. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bryfry, bear83, Deep Harm, subtropolis, Sean X

    I know when a lot of people on DK see blacked out text they assume the NRC is doing it to protect themselves or the industry from bad press. The introduction to the report specifically points out that plants that failed to meet flooding requirements were cited for it, that those deficiencies have since been corrected and that the remaining plants in the country are meeting the existing requirements for flooding protection. Whether those requirements need to be changed is the question. I don't know the current requirements off the top of my head, but if the current requirement is to protect against flooding resulting from Spring snow melts that you only see once every 500 years the debate might be whether to up the requirement to a flood not seen for a thousand years.

    One possible reason much of the text is blacked out is because it may discuss measures utilities have put in place since 9/11 (aka"B5b") to deal with the damage caused by a terrorist attack that could be brought to bear in dealing with a flooding event as well. These measures are not discussed publicly, just as the plants don't discuss their security measures, like how many hungry alligators they keep in the moat or the number of cauldrons of boiling oil they maintain on their parapets. Frankly it wouldn't be much of a report if it didn't acknowledge these contingency measures.

    I realize all that blackened text is going to put some people here into Area 51/tin foil hat mode but that is their problem.

    •  Or maybe the blacked out text (5+ / 0-)

      relates to the security threat posed by the dams themselves - not just due to partly controlled flooding, but also due to the potential for the dams to be terrorist targets.

      Perhaps the most important issue is why the NRC initially withheld this information, and continues to withhold part of it.
      I mean, why attack a hard target like a nuke plant when you can get the same results by attacking a upstream dam guarded by park rangers?

      Its a scary thought for people with families anywhere near Oconee.

      •  Plants are required to analyze for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bryfry

        and protect against a design basis flood, which includes consideration of upstream dam failures. In terms of effects, I don't know that it matters much why a dam fails, be it from seismic events or terrorism. I should think the effects would be pretty much the same. But insofar as terrorism is discussed at all, it would be blacked out. The report says that the NRC staff learned a lot from the flooding at Ft. Calhoun and also mentions the availability of newer more sophisticated methods of modeling flooding effects (presumably more accurate modeling of topography and/or hydrology). The impetus for the report seems to be to update the regulations to take advantage of this new knowledge and possibly require plant owners to redo their analysis. The report doesn't make recommendations specific to dealing with terrorism threats.

    •  That's entirely possible (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim P, subtropolis, Joieau

      And, I'd really love to believe that.  However, my experience submitting FOIA requests to other government agencies has not left me optimistic.  Accidental revelations by agencies, and revelations obtained through appeals, showed that most of the redactions did not fall within the protected categories claimed by the agencies. The redactions simply covered up embarrassing information. Maybe the NRC is different--but, I wouldn't bet a dollar on it.

      •  I don't think this is about (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bryfry

        trying to keep information about extravagant management retreats out of the public eye. For all I know the report may contain embarrassing information (I personnally doubt it) but if it was related to security threats it would be legitimately withheld for that reason.

    •  agreed that's quite possible (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Blubba, Joieau, elfling

      That was pretty much my first thought and i can accept that. All the same, there's no reason for the "Area 51/tin foil hat mode" remark. History has shown time and again that we should question why something's been redacted.

      All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

      by subtropolis on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 11:09:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are right that the public should (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bryfry

        exercise it's rights to get information it has a legitimate right to. It is a good and a healthy part of a particpatory democracy. On the other hand there are people who regularly post to this site who, in the absence of information, will cynically construct an alternative reality to explain the gaps rather than accept what isn't known.

        •  Really! I'm a little new here. If you can name (0+ / 0-)

          some, please do. Or, if you "can't", admit how unfair it is of you to make unsubstantiated accusations and then fall back on your "classified information" rationale. It seems to me that if all you want to do is cast aspersions, and then hide behind "protected sources", what you really need to do is take both yourself and your propaganda out of the public arena altogether.

          There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

          by oldpotsmuggler on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 09:05:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bryfry

            this discusses the existence of B5b. The article shares the understandable frustration you must feel.

            Bear in mind, all I said was that B5b measures were relevant to any discussion about responses to a dam failure and could explain the redaction. How useful those measures would be and how effective they would be or what could be done to make them more effective is a discussion that will take place behind closed doors because specific knowledge of those same measures could aid those with evile intent Mr./Ms "Oldpotsmuggler", if that is your real name.

  •  UK version (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Blubba, Lawrence, Jim P

    Just seen at the Guardian website:

    UK nuclear sites at risk of flooding, report shows

    As many as 12 of Britain's 19 civil nuclear sites are at risk of flooding and coastal erosion because of climate change, according to an unpublished government analysis obtained by the Guardian.

    Nine of the sites have been assessed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as being vulnerable now, while others are in danger from rising sea levels and storms in the future.

    All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

    by subtropolis on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 12:30:40 AM PST

    •  Lovely: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, Jim P
      The sites include all of the eight proposed for new nuclear power stations around the coast, as well as numerous radioactive waste stores, operating reactors and defunct nuclear facilities. Two of the sites for the new stations – Sizewell in Suffolk and Hartlepool in County Durham, where there are also operating reactors – are said to have a current high risk of flooding. Closed and running reactors at Dungeness, Kent, are also classed as currently at high risk.
      The current, conservative, neo-liberal govt. in Britain is an absolute catastrophe.  Britain has some of the best, shallow-water offshore wind resources in the world and they still want to build nuke plants....

      I guess none of them read the report that concluded that G.B. could cover 3 X its energy needs with wind power alone.

      Or they just don't care.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 03:18:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Such energy resources (0+ / 0-)

        do nothing to bolster the kind of authoritarian "Security State" that nukes both engender and justify at every step along the way. Hence you'll see the greatest nuclear development in traditionally authoritarian, imperialistic nation-states (and wannabes, which the already-haves fight every step of the way). It's always been about capital-p Power, the kind of power that's not measured in kilowatts.

        Electricity is and always was simply a lucrative (handy money-laundering) sideline having nothing much to do with the reasons for building them in the first place.

        •  Like France, S. Korea, Turkey, Finland and the UK? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bryfry

          You amaze me at every level how you sink to new lows in your Jihad against nuclear Joy B. Amazing.

          How does it 'bolder the kind of authoritarian state'? What does it say about China, for example, being the largest PV and wind developer in the world? Actually what does it say about PV an wind? Build a windmill and a labor camp is soon to follow?

          You need to deal with reality, Joy. Not this fantasy. Your back-to-the-land won't work in NY, Philie or San Francisco. You are getting like Wasserman and his a-historical anti-science 'solartopia' nonsense.

          Countries like the U.A.E, Jordan, China and Vietnam look to nuclear is for the same reason any country does: it meets their base load needs for development and industrialization. Your Hobbit-inspired lifestyle advocacy falls on deaf ears, world wide, when BILLIONS have no electricity and their standard of living is directly predicated on low levels of energy use.

          D.

          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 Mar 08, 2012 at 08:52:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site