Nuclear Power Plant News O Day- Oyster Creek's 8 year lapse in safety proceduresSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


 

Nuclear Power Plant News O Day- Oyster Creek's 8 year lapse in safety procedures
 


8 February 2007 at 3:23:00 PM
salon

Have a few items from today, including, after the news bits, a snip of more comment from Mr. B from yesterday.

First, a joke from the Daily Record

RUSSIA'S SEXIEST NUCLEAR POWER PLANT WORKER
Tam Cowan

ACCORDING to a little snippet from last week, the hunt is now on to find Russia's sexiest nuclear power plant worker. If all the judges are blokes, the winner will probably turn out to be a former Chernobyl worker who has got three pairs of knockers.

Article on how Oyster Creek Nuclear Power plant in New Jersey, despite saying they would, didn't take all the steps to safeguard the containment liner

After inspectors found 10 years ago that rust had eaten nearly a third of the way through parts of the steel containment liner that surrounds the Oyster Creek nuclear reactor, the plant’s owner signed an agreement with federal regulators promising to stop further damage before it became a safety hazard.

Now, the plant’s license is up for renewal before the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and state records say the owners failed to take all the promised steps to prevent water from reaching the liner. In recent ultrasound tests, parts of the steel liner measured thinner than it did 10 years ago.

The condition of the liner, designed to trap radiation in case of a nuclear accident, has been at the center of a dispute over the license application for the Oyster Creek plant in Ocean County, the oldest operating nuclear power station in the country.

Interesting article on nukes and risk. I can't figure out why, with such low numbers of trust in the energy industry, etc, 30 percent of people would want nuclear power plants in their community, but I wonder how the questions were asked.Beyond the poll, however, and even issues about nuclear waste, etc, enlightening to read about the financial risk issues involved.

On the one hand, the utility companies that would build and run the new plants will need guarantees that future electricity prices will be high enough to guarantee them some kind of return on investment. And Wall Street, which will be organizing the finances through bond issues that will support the multibillion dollar costs of construction, will also need assurance that the rug will not be pulled out from the industry yet again as it was after the Three Mile Island accident. No nuclear reactor has been licensed in the United States since 1979.

But that is an assurance that no government can give -- and that few insurers want to take on. Bond agencies have already made it clear that energy or finance groups that take on the risk of new plants are likely at the same time risking their credit ratings. And investors who prefer to see some prospect of their investment paying off in less than 10 years may be looking at a 30-year investment horizon with nuclear power.

To ease these problems the U.S. government has already committed $6 billion in tax credits for the first companies to build new plants. Moreover, the Department of Energy has proposed investing $260 million in plant design and application costs with NuStart, a consortium of nuclear operators that hopes to build new plants. The theory is that standardized designs for new and inherently safer plants could lead to a common licensing and approval process, and that in turn could slash the time and construction costs.

U.S. energy companies have announced proposals to build up to 30 new reactors, and the TXU Corporation of Texas alone says it may construct six new reactors at three sites. But TXU knows that the hurdles can be formidable. Its own Comanche Peak plant was supposed to cost $1 billion to build; it ended up costing more than $10 billion. But companies are waiting to get a clearer idea of the way the Bush administration (and the new Congress) propose to fund the $2 billion in loan guarantees for nuclear investment that were listed in its 2005 Energy Bill.

Finally, Mr. B left another comment about a post discussing Indian Point Nuclear Power's Plant's emergency. I've excerpted part of his comments, below, with my own.

I have no beef with Entergy being forced by law to over-report an incident. Better a little exaggerated concern, than a missed actual danger, should there be one. Hidden, as it was intended, within the halls of NRC, its real worth could be assessed over sufficient time, and corrected if need be.  

I have no way of knowing whether Entergy deliberately lied on their NRC incident reports and exaggerated the emergency; perhaps you do. But I would hope that incidents as recorded would reflect a genuine level of concern and not be falsified.

My challenge to you is this:... what was the specific worth to the community, of the 1270 +1 articles that went out ? (Yours can be considered # 1271).

Mr. B is apparently troubled by what he views as politicization of information once it becomes available to the public. As I said yesterday, I don't doubt that that occurs, after all, we're talking about politicians, and both Republicans and Democrats are not above seizing opportunities to grandstand, although I like to think that doesn't happen 100 percent of the time. I myself am happy and prefer the revelation of information, openly available to the public, even if sometimes people have trouble deciding the relative importance of what they read or see.

For me, because I live in a community that also has a nuclear power plant, I have a strong interest in knowing how safety issues are handled. I am always happy to see when accidents, which WILL occur, are handled quickly and wisely and hats off to all operators who know what they are doing.. and protect the public. By the same token, because our country is considering ramping up again on nuclear power, when at least some of us assumed the plants would be decommissioned by now in favor of other energies, I think it's important to take stock of how nuclear plants function, and *when* it occurs that issues are not handled, to bring them to light.

I believe that the specific worth to the community of people exercising freedom of speech as citizens to discuss such matters is that, pro or con, many aspects of nuclear power and how it impacts us, is always a good idea. I believe, that the answer to bad speech is more speech and thank goodness we live in a country that not only encourages this but has enshrined this in our constitution.


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