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Monday, February 25, 2013

Carnival 145

It's time for the 145th edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Energy.  Every week, the top pro-nuclear bloggers get together and decide which of their weekly posts is most important, and the compilation appears as the traveling Carnival.

When the Carnival is here at Atomic Power Review, there's always a catch -- a game I call "What is this?"  I present a photo of something, and you try to guess what it is.  The answer follows the weekly Carnival entries.  So..  What is this?


Clearly, this is a massive construction project well underway; the photo blows up very large when clicked, and I'd encourage that just to see the level of detail.  What is this?  Or, perhaps more to the point, WHERE is it?    Hint:  This is an early nuclear power plant.  Answer after the Carnival... and here we go!

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Nuke Power Talk / Gail Marcus

Glenn Seaborg:  My Favorite Memory

APR:  Gail Marcus was traveling when I asked for people to share their stories about their favorite nuclear artifacts, so wasn't able to share her stories of getting Glenn Seaborg's signature--twice! She has now posted that story at her own blog, Nuke Power Talk.  I hope that this inspires more people to share their memories so we can publish another round of stories sometime in the near future; the original appeared on ANS Nuclear Cafe, and so will the follow-on.

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Next Big Future / Brian Wang

General Atomics is calling for game changing new nuclear energy technology.
The Energy Multiplier Module, is being developed by General Atomics. The EM2 is a compact fast reactor about 12 meters high, with 265 megawatts electric (MWe) output. The immediate challenge for the reactor is proving out the fuel element, which consists of novel ceramic cladding and fuel that enable the reactor to operate at high temperatures and high power densities. The company is also developing and testing a compact high-speed turbine generator that can achieve efficiencies of more than 50%.

Hongyanhe 1 on line

Unit 1 of the Hongyanhe plant in Liaoning province in northeast China has been connected to the electricity grid. The reactor is expected to enter commercial operation later this year. The 1080 MWe Chinese-designed pressurized water reactor was connected to the grid at 3.09pm on 17 February. It now enters a phase of commissioning tests, after which it will enter commercial operation.

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Canadian Energy Issues / Steve Aplin

McGuinty’s unsung carbon achievement: the result of theunsung energy source

Ontario’s government is in crisis today because it
publicly preferred natural gas-fired power over nuclear power. This in
spite of a stunning and unsung environmental achievement made possible
only by nuclear. In this cautionary tale for other jurisdictions
facing similar power generation investment decisions, Steve Aplin
offers an immediate and long term solution to persistent economic,
environmental, and political problems.

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Yes Vermont Yankee / Meredith Angwin


Vermont Yankee has announced that it will refuel again this spring, and also do maintenance and upgrades. The refuel announcement caused shock and consternation among people who believe a recent stock analyst's report. The report claimed that Entergy should and would close some of its nuclear plants, probably starting with closing Vermont Yankee. In her post, Meredith Angwin links to a radio interview, a week ago, in which she publicly disagreed with the analyst's conclusions. In other words, a week ago, she told you so.

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Jim Conca / submitted news interview

Hanford tank leaks making the news

The news this past week of tanks leaking at the Hanford Reservation has moved to the headlines in many places.  Jim Conca provided information to the Tri-City Herald on the matter.  It looks like moving some of the material to WIPP is on the table; see the link for more details.

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ANS Nuclear Cafe / submitted by Paul Bowersox

Potential nuclear plant closures and what could be done to stop them

After the recently announced Kewaunee nuclear plant closure, some experts are saying that some other nuclear plants may too be at risk. Jim Hopf with an in-depth analysis that explains how unfortunate, shortsighted, and frankly, dangerous this development would be, and an exploration of options to prevent it.


The Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn

Yes, the Mars rover Curiosity is incredible -- and fellow plutonium-powered Cassini, currently orbiting Saturn, has made possible many equally amazing scientific discoveries. The best may be yet to come. In a beautifully written and illustrated chronology, Stan Tackett provides a history of the achievements and discoveries of the nuclear-powered Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn.

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Deregulate the Atom / Rick Maltese

Rick Maltese reports that since Steve Aplin has been on "such a roll" at his Canadian Energy Issues blog, he asked Steve to submit something as a guest post for Deregulate the Atom.  Steve delivered a piece responding to President Obama's State of the Union address.  See it here:

Does Obama Prefer Gas Over Nuclear?

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Atomic Insights / Rod Adams

Romance of Radium – How did our relationship with radioactive material sour?

Rod Adams discusses the experience of watching Romance of Radium, a 1937 short film about the wonders of radium and the reason why it was valued at $750,000 per ounce - in 1937 vintage dollars. Seen through the lens of today's pervasive radiation phobia, the film illustrates how society's perceptions have changed - even though reality remains constant.

The film, embedded as a YouTube clip in the post ends with the following statement:

"Out of the darkness of the past comes a white light of hope for today, radium, the most precious substance in the world. Centuries from now it will still shine upon some future civilization, saving through the ages countless thousands of human lives."

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The Hiroshima Syndrome / Leslie Corrice

Click here to access the site.  Leslie points up two posts for this week

Japan needs to stop wasting money on radiation fears (Feb. 23)

It seems Tokyo is content to continue throwing away big bucks in the desire to soothe the radiation fears of a numerically-significant minority in the population. Tokyo is decontaminating homes as far away as 200 kilometers from F. Daiichi that have detectible Cesium levels. Deconning most of these 103,000 homes will make them no safer than without the expensive cleansing. Tokyo should shift the funding from this politically-expedient boondoggle and put it where it is reallyneeded – the reconstruction of the Tohoku communities forever lost to the 3/11/11 tsunami.
 
Japan’s Greenpeace and Press call science a government “ploy” (Feb. 19)

Japanese researcher Kazuo Sakai said,“Since the accident in Fukushima, no health effects from radiation have been observed." But Greenpeace calls this a government ploy and says Japan should carry out frequent health checks all over Japan "even if there is no comparative epidemiological data" to support it. The Japanese constitution says the public has a right the right to live in peace, free from fear. Greenpeace’s fear-mongering is a moral crime against the people of Japan.
 
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Captain's Choice - Diary of a Nuclear Tourist
Everyone should have a look at the exciting fact-finding and information sharing trip Suzanne Hobbs Baker is conducting in Europe; see the results at the "Diary of a Nuclear Tourist" blog updated as her time and schedule permit.  Lots to see, lots to learn - and we're all along for the trip via the interwebs!

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NEI Nuclear Notes / submitted by Eric McErlain

A Fool For Nuclear Energy

A recent Motley Fool article on Nuclear Myths prods commentary by Mark Flanagan.

Nuclear Energy In the Hands of Experts (And That's a Bad Thing)

Mark Flanagan makes a follow-up post to that linked above, detailing the overselling of sentiment, either pro-nuclear or anti-nuclear.
 
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That's it for this week's Carnival entries.  Now, to identify that photo you saw above and give some further background. 
 
The photo at the top of this entry is taken from a 1959 Vitro Engineering Company advertisement showing the Indian Point Station under construction.  Vitro, calling itself "Engineers to the Atomic Age," says in part "The latest - and one of the most significant ... landmarks is a great nuclear power station now rising at Indian Point on the Hudson River.  Beginning in 1961, this Indian Point station will produce 275,000 kilowatts of electricity."  Vitro Engineering served as architect-engineer; the reactor vendor was Babcock & Wilcox, and the owner Consolidated Edison.  The plant was completely privately financed.
The photo you have seen was taken from the river side of the plant, looking up and over the construction of the turbine building in progress.  The reactor building, actually comprising an internal 160 foot diameter vapor containment sphere and concrete outer shield building, rises above and behind - and various penetrations of the shield building to carry piping and wiring to the plant can be seen. 
The project was issued AEC Construction Permit CPPR-1 on May 4, 1956.  Site work began at the end of that year, but heavy construction of the plant began in 1958.  Initial criticality was originally scheduled for April 1961 but wasn't achieved until August 2, 1962; the plant generated its first electricity September 16, 1962.
Indian Point, which of course later became known as "Indian Point 1" because later on two further units of wholly different design were built on site, was and is peculiar among nuclear power plants for a variety of reasons, some of which we'll see now.

Above is a view of the entire powerplant; click to enlarge.  The unique structure of the reactor building is obvious; the 160 foot sphere, designed for 25 psi max internal pressure and 1 psi max external pressure, is surrounded by concrete walls 5-1/2 feet thick, topped by a 2 ft. 9 in. thick concrete dome.  Moving to the right, we see a set of two oil-fired superheaters interposed between the reactor service building and the turbine building.  Very few nuclear plants used fossil fired superheat to supplement a nuclear plant; included in this list were Indian Point 1, Elk River and the Carolinas-Virginia Tube Reactor.  Completing the plant are the turbine building, electric switchgear and pump houses.

The first core used in Indian Point was an enriched uranium / thorium converter design rated 585 MWt.  The plant's net output as first operated was 255 MWe; of that, 104 MW derived from energy inserted into the cycle by the oil fired superheaters.  A second core, uranium only, was installed during the last quarter of 1965 and the first quarter of 1966; with this and the third core, installed in early 1969, the reactor was rated 615 MWt, giving a plant output of 285 MWe gross and 265 MWe net.

Below is a photo of the system diagram for Indian Point as reproduced in "Power Reactors 1959" published by the ASME.  Click to enlarge. 


 
 
The nuclear plant had four loops, each including a steam generator as shown above.  These are similar to the units Babcock & Wilcox supplied for two of the four loops at the Shippingport Atomic Power Station.
Let's take a look at a number of other early photos of the plant under construction and just after completion.


Here is an early color post card view of Indian Point under construction.  In this view, the reactor building and turbine building are complete.  The size of the cranes can be used to judge overall scale.



Here is a slightly later photo from the Atomic Energy Deskbook, showing the plant nearing completion.  The additional buildings around the reactor building are obvious, as is the finished nature of the site immediately around the plant.


Above, a photo from "Steam: Its Generation and Use" by Babcock & Wilcox, showing the completed power station as it appeared in 1963.


Above, a photo taken from the extremely obscure "Nuclear Engineering Technology" correspondence course published by CREI Atomics.  (Large photo when clicked.)  Caption:  "View of operating floor, top of reactor pressure vessel, and reactor component storage pool at Indian Point (New York) power plant.  Before fuel is loaded, the position of each of 120 fuel elements and the reactor internals is carefully indexed for reference by operators of remote control equipment (shown at top of picture.)  A man standing at the top of the open reactor pressure vessel signals to the operator 23 feet above him to indicate the proper positioning of a dummy fuel element.  At the lower right, covered with plastic, is the hatch through which basket containing real fuel elements is brought by remote control from fuel storage building."

Below, a magnificent view of the completed Indian Point Station when new.


Indian Point 1 was shut down on October 31, 1974 due to the fact that its emergency core cooling system did not meet the existing (newer) requirements.  In 1975, Consolidated Edison defueled the reactor.  In 1980, the NRC requested Consolidated Edison show why the operating license for the plant should not be revoked; with consent of Con-Ed, the operating license was revoked June 19, 1980 and plans were made for the decommissioning of the plant - which by that time had been joined by Indian Point 2 and 3.  Indian Point 1 remains today in SAFSTOR condition, and will not fully decommission until Indian Point 2's license expires and that plant is also shut down.

You can visit two official sites covering today's Indian Point nuclear station.  Click here for the Entergy Nuclear page covering the site, or click here for the big Indian Point Energy Center site.

I hope you've enjoyed the 145th Carnival entries, and a look back at one of our earliest commercial nuclear power stations.

Sources: "The Atomic Energy Deskbook," John F. Hogerton - Reinhold 1963; NRC Information Digest 2012-2013 and US NRC website; "Nuclear Engineering Technology", CREI Atomics; "Nuclear Reactor Plant Data, Volume 1- Power Reactors," May 1959 ASME;  "Nucleonics," May 1959; "Operating History - US Nuclear Power Reactors" WASH-1203-73, US AEC 1973;  "Steam / its Generation and Use," 38th ed. Babcock & Wilcox 1975.  Also, post cards in Will Davis collection.

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Postscript:  Above, I've mentioned the fact that Indian Point 1 received Construction Permit CPPR-1, the very first, from the Atomic Energy Commission.  It's important to note that AEC owned and military reactors did not require similar licensing; this is why, say, Shippingport didn't have permit number one.  In permit number order, the first dozen construction permits were as follows:

CPPR-1  Indian Point 1  / B&W PWR
CPPR-2  Dresden 1  / GE dual-cycle BWR
CPPR-3  Vallecitos BWR  /  GE experimental BWR
CPPR-4  Enrico Fermi 1 /  APDA sodium cooled fast breeder
CPPR-5  Yankee (Rowe)  /  Westinghouse PWR
CPPR-6  Saxton  /  Westinghouse PWR
CPPR-7  Carolinas-Virgina Tube Reactor  /  Westinghouse PHWR
CPPR-8  Pathfinder  /  A-C BWR, later redesigned w/ integral nuclear superheat
CPPR-9  Big Rock Point  /  GE BWR
CPPR-10  Humboldt Bay  /  GE BWR (technically Humboldt Bay 3; 1 and 2, fossil fired plants.)
CPPR-11  VESR (Vallecitos Experimental Superheat Reactor, also sometimes referred to as the ESADA superheat reactor, built next to GE Vallecitos reactor)
CPPR-12  Peach Bottom 1  /  GA HTGR

A-C = Allis-Chalmers; APDA = Atomic Power Development Associates (with Power Reactor Development Corporation); B&W = Babcock & Wilcox; ESADA = Empire State Atomic Development Associates;  GA = General Atomics

BWR = Boiling Water Reactor.  PWR= Pressurized Water Reactor.  PHWR = Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor.  HTGR = High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor.

1 comment:

  1. Great Carnival, Will.

    For once I did guess the opening photo. You've got a great archives - the site was originally a playland destination for day trippers on boats up from Manhattan, with a swimming pool, picnicking, and a carousel. The foundations of some of those structures remain.

    A book needs to be written about IP-1, before the old timers have all moved to Florida or passed. I believe some of the original thorium core was reprocessed at West Valley, and constitutes a portion of the DOE U-233 inventory that the government wants to destroy, at great expense. I am assigning the book to you! ;-)

    The iconic smokestack has come down, improving the seismic PRA by a good margin.

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