Are we facing nuclear disaster?
The United States is headed toward a major nuclear disaster -- one that could mirror what happened last year in Japan -- unless the government more closely monitors aging power plants. Concern centers on the 23 "Mark I" nuclear reactors in the United States, which are identical to the containment vessels used at Fukushima's Daiichi nuclear power plant, where three reactors failed and went into meltdown.
With more frequent extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy, I wonder whether the facilities, which dot the landscape from New Jersey to Nebraska, could withstand a disaster as forceful as the tsunami in Japan?
If memory serves, the most spectacular events at Fukushima would not happen here, the Hydrogen explosions. I was informed by a nuke power systems operator that all American NPPs have catalytic H2 burners that prevent an explosive concentration of the gas. For some reason, the Japanese decided NOT to install these rather inexpensive safety items; with the demonstrated result.
I also take note with the comment...
"with more frequent extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy"
... just because some people are claiming that Sandy is a result of global warming, and therefore will become a regular event, does not mean that it will. It has only happened once so far, and therefore it is still far too early to make grand predictions about re-occurrences in the future.
Having said that, all measures should be taken to prevent any form of nuclear disaster at nuclear power plants around the US. It is better to take cautionary steps now, rather than face a major radioactive clean up in the future because the necessary steps weren't taken.
. . although maybe not as harmful as a CO2 disaster
Obviously all possible safety measures that can be taken are being taken, assuming the absence of criminal negligence by the operators.
Anyone who dislikes one form of generation should be obliged to say how they would prefer power to be generated.
Last edited by Alan; 12-04-2012 at 02:23 PM.
Yes there are risks with nuclear power stations, as with all forms of energy generation. Obviously the risks in nuclear power generation are quite a bit more devastating if something does go wrong, but that is no reason to avoid it when it is such a clean and cheap form of energy.
Drilling for oil also carries its risks and disasters can be almost as devastating, as shown by the Deepwater Horizon spill, yet I don't hear many people calling for the end of oil.
Everything carries risks, it is up to regulators to ensure that the correct measures are taken to minimise the risk to such an extent that it no longer plays much of a role in the activity.
Oh, and please, do not forget these men dying in coal mines every year. They die at a constant rate and are a part of statistics and may be that is the reason, coal is percieved as a "safe" source of energy.
The media controls the popularity of energy sources. If the media were to decide that coal is the route of all evil, and nuclear energy is the saviour, then pretty quickly public opinion would change and coal would see its fortunes fall rapidly, whilst new nuclear power plants would start popping up left right and centre.
What is the opinion here on Obama's small modular reactor plan? Seems a sensible way forward - but i just wanted to get the experts take on it.
I would never profess to be an expert, but that doesn't stop me having an opinion.
I believe that the SMR's really do seem like an interesting technology. Maybe they will never become the most widespread or popular technology, but they will have their places for producing power to small remote areas, and personal power stations for large complexes.
I just worry what happens if these SMR's become popular and are installed all over the country, close to popular urban areas. If one were to suffer a meltdown would it cause a horrific nuclear disaster?
I don't know what technology SMR's use, but in my opinion it must contain passive safety features. If accidental meltdown is avoided only by active measures, it is only question of time when it happens.
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