APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Friday, January 28, 2011

Susquehanna 1

Susquehanna 1, repairs made, returned to full power today and is on line (Bloomberg.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Minnesota needs to get back where it was.

In 1962, the Elk River Reactor began supplying power to customers of the Rural Cooperative Power Association; this event was hailed as 'rural America's first atomic power station.' The reactor was built adjacent to an existing power plant, and was designed by ACF Industries' Nuclear Division (later bought by and merged into Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing, who completed the plant) to supply steam to the existing plant - although the plant did use a separate, external superheater fired by pulverized coal. The plant operated through 1968, at the end of the official AEC demonstration period, and the utility elected to shut down and decommission the plant instead of purchase it. But Minnesota had been a pioneer state.

Now look at this article. At some later point, Minnesota decided to ban any further nuclear plants (there were others, too, built later; two exist now) and the Republicans in that state's government are trying to overturn the ban. Let's hope for everyone's sake that they do; it's way too late in the game to be banning nuclear energy based on outdated perceptions.

At left, the Elk River station after completion of the reactor plant (indirect cycle boiling water type) whose containment is visible at the rear of the plant. Between the containment structure and the plant is the housing (and stack) for the coal-fired superheater. This photo is from an old Allis-Chalmers annual report; note that the Rural Co-Operative Power Association name is airbrushed off of the front of the plant.

Vogtle Information Center

This article details the opening of a new media contact center by Southern Nuclear to be tied to operations at Vogtle. This center appears to be part of a general approach to get the public on the side of nuclear .. and it's a good idea! EVERY plant (or at least 90% of them) had a public information center neaby to educate the public. This center is slightly different -- it's intended mainly as a focus point for dissemination of information in case of an event at Vogtle -- but it shows the company's willingness to attempt to get that contact back with the public, and the media, that most power companies have lacked for twenty or thirty years. Bravo!

Susquehanna 1

Susquehanna 1 was shut down yesterday following a steam leak. This article and a number of others like it are on the wires now.

A quick look at the NRC report made 08:12 AM on the 25th indicates that the leak was in a feedwater heating system and that the reactor was shut down by manual insertion of rods at normal rate by the operators on duty. The leak was quickly isolated following shutdown; time to restart the plant is stated as "not known."

A very silly question

Take a moment to read this short article, concerning a type of project about which people have been planning off and on for decades. Make sure to read the last sentence.

Then consider the HUNDREDS of nuclear submarines that have been built world-wide by our Navy, the Soviets, the British, the French, and now the Chinese. The answer is obvious - considering the vastly higher reliability and safety records racked up by submarine nuclear power the answer is YES it's a good idea!

Consider this one fact: Endless heat sink. No chance that loss of power to cooling water pumps will make giant cooling towers useless. Consider something else: In case of accident, permanent containment away from any populated areas. That will make licensing much easier.

Now if we can get a US company to develop a plan instead of letting only the French take the lead in this field...

Not a bad idea...

This article showcases the extra potential, overall, for the grid that the massive construction program for new power seems to promise. I've said this before - build the plants where there are already licensed sites, and put the power over the highest voltage instant transmission lines. Worth reading in its entirety.