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Under Revised Quake Estimates, Dozens of Nuclear Reactors Face Problems

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the inspector-gadget-robot-arms dept.

Government 152

mdsolar (1045926) writes "Owners of at least two dozen nuclear reactors across the United States, including the operator of Indian Point 2, in Buchanan, N.Y., have told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that they cannot show that their reactors would withstand the most severe earthquake that revised estimates say they might face, according to industry experts. As a result, the reactors' owners will be required to undertake extensive analyses of their structures and components. Those are generally sturdier than assumed in licensing documents, but owners of some plants may be forced to make physical changes, and are likely to spend about $5 million each just for the analysis."

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Must question the "revised" estimates (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46672557)

Given that these "revised" estimates are generated by the same people who want to extinguish all dependable, tried and true sources of energy, one must reasonably suspect that the estimates were "revised" in a way that would help ensure the dismantling of the nuclear industry.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (5, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46672625)

Arguably no estimate is adequate. Unexpected things happen, and our understanding and knowledge of the tectonic plate system is incomplete anyway. Given the risk we should be designing for safety in the most extreme event possible. Look at it this way: the fact that the estimates were revised up tells us that the original estimates were too optimistic, there is at least some chance that the new ones are too.

The cost is always going to be proportional to the risk. That's why no commercial insurance company will offer any nuclear facility insurance.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 7 months ago | (#46672715)

> Given the risk we should be designing for safety in the most extreme event possible.

Applying this logic to the innovation of fire would have resulted in its rejection as too dangerous, and we would still be living in unheated caves eating raw food in the dark.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46672877)

But fire does not make areas permanently uninhabitable

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 7 months ago | (#46673145)

> But fire does not make areas permanently uninhabitable

Fire kills far more people every year than nuclear power.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46673445)

People are replaceable (renewable), land is a finite resource.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1)

khallow (566160) | about 7 months ago | (#46674551)

Land is renewable too since it doesn't actually go away. It's not that much effort to clean it after a radioactive accident if you want to use the land for something other than residences - especially if you plan to put a nuclear plant back on the same site again.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46675587)

if you want to use the land for something other than residences

No, not just residences. Any business that involves human labor is at risk. Many working people spend just as much if not more of their waking hours at work than at home.

Can't do agriculture either.

Well, technically you can still do it if you insist, but expect to pay a premium to convince workers to work there, and/or get inferior talent as they don't have any other marketable qualities. Then you have to convince the consumer that your products made there are safe.

I'm not saying there isn't uses, but the range of uses is actually narrower than just not residences.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1)

khallow (566160) | about 7 months ago | (#46676683)

Any business that involves human labor is at risk. Many working people spend just as much if not more of their waking hours at work than at home.

Not at all. They would be for the most part working indoors and there would be no kids.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46673187)

Actually some AGW scenarios predict that burning of fossil fuels could make the entire planet permanently uninhabitable.

The worst case scenario postulate of the GP would lead you to the conclusion that you are far better off with nuclear power than fire.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 7 months ago | (#46674247)

Do you know what a postulate is?

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (4, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | about 7 months ago | (#46673779)

But fire does not make areas permanently uninhabitable

Tell that to the people of Centralia, PA

Maybe on a scale of "eternity", fire doesn't render places "permanently" uninhabitable.

But, then, neither does radiation.

Even in the Pripyat area (around Chernobyl), unless you're right up near the reactor, the ambient radiation is on par with many places around the world.

And even just outside the reactor, PLACES THAT HAVE NEVER SEEN A NUCLEAR REACTION where the radiation is 10-15 times as high (see Brazil, Guarapari beaches).

Most of the reactors that have had safety issues are reactors that were built decades ago, based on even older designs.

We have the knowledge, NOW, to build completely contained devices that safely generate power over the lifetime of the device.
We have the knowledge, NOW, to build reactors that quite simply are INCAPABLE of replicating the accidents that led to contamination at TMI and Chernobyl.

As for Fukushima. Fukushima is the story of a freak Tsunami that was mutated by the anti-nuke community into a "nuclear failure".

Basically, if you consider yourself environmentally conscious, you cannot be anti-nuke.
Because the only other viable options for baseline power are natural gas, coal and oil.

Natural gas, coal and oil are the things we need to be moving AWAY from.
And anyone telling you that we can rely, solely, on wind, wave, solar and geothermal is LYING TO YOU. The people telling you these lies? Shills for the NG, coal and oil industry!

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (5, Informative)

jafac (1449) | about 7 months ago | (#46674175)

Wow. I really wish people would stop conflating "counts per minute" measurements of radiation exposure, with alpha and beta nucleide contamination. There's a lot of Cs137 and Sr90 contamination in the soil all over the place near Pripyat (and Fukushima), and just because you can walk through the area and get a few sieverts of decays on your skin, and no net harm, doesn't mean anyone can safely live there. Those contaminants get into dust, and you inhale it, or ingest it in your food, and they remain active inside your body for decades. It's not the same as either an x-ray, or eating a banana.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (2)

macpacheco (1764378) | about 7 months ago | (#46674277)

Yeah, right, yet, show me cancer cases from Cs137 and Sr90 outside of Chernobyl.
Nuclear power is the goose that lays golden eggs, and you are strangling all of them.
Until you start giving coal power the treatment it DESERVES by killing about 200,000 people/year worldwide and 13,000 people/year in the USA alone, you have ZERO moral authority to try to destroy nuclear power for its most remote risks.
Either you are a fossil fuel shill that is being paid to do your best to destroy nuclear power, or you have been brainwashed into believing that nuclear is two orders of magnitude riskier than it is.
The realities is nuclear power is worst case the 3 safest power sources in use, if the the safest.
We need more nuclear lots of more nuclear.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46674625)

Yeah, right, yet, show me cancer cases from Cs137 and Sr90 outside of Chernobyl.

This is what freaks me out about the pro-nuclear lobby. When caught in one lie (that the risk is ambient radiation not radioactive particles), they answer with another. If you don't know about this then you shouldn't be commenting. If you do then you know that cancer is a probabilitic disease and that it is mostly impossible to link a specific cancer case to a specific cause. There have been a number of studies that show hundreds to thousands of additional deaths, hower none of them can be 100% watertight in either direction (things could just as easily be worse as better) because you can't control for all other factors that might be involved.

Until you start giving coal power the treatment it DESERVES by killing about 200,000 people/year worldwide and 13,000 people/year in the USA alone, you have ZERO moral authority to try to destroy nuclear power for its most remote risks.
Either you are a fossil fuel shill that is being paid to do your best to destroy nuclear power, or you have been brainwashed into believing that nuclear is two orders of magnitude riskier than it is.

Why choose coal to discuss? The power source you need to compare against is wind energy which is now cheaper than coa [ucsusa.org] in many situations. No energy source is entirely safe, however problems caused by Wind are small, local and reversible. There is no justification for spending vast amounts more money on nuclear (which is one of the most expensive energy sources available) when spending the same money on wind or water based energy generation could have a much bigger effect.

The realities is nuclear power is worst case the 3 safest power sources in use, if the the safest.
We need more nuclear lots of more nuclear.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46674689)

Hydroelectric power can harm fish, can it not? In terms of going up stream to spawn or something like that.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (2, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | about 7 months ago | (#46675105)

There have been a number of studies that show hundreds to thousands of additional deaths, hower none of them can be 100% watertight in either direction (things could just as easily be worse as better) because you can't control for all other factors that might be involved.

Exactly. It's easy to simply label every cancer death since the event as "caused by Chernobyl". Unfortunately, nobody takes you seriously, because the claim isn't sane or provable.

As to why choosing coal to discuss?

Because it's a baseline power source, like nuclear, like oil. YOU CANNOT USE WIND POWER AS A BASELINE POWER SOURCE. Even if you blanket the entire planet in windmills, you simply don't have enough constant capacity to qualify. So, all the people talking about solar and wind and wave power? The people telling you that they can be used, unsupplemented, and as baseline power? THEY ARE LYING TO YOU!

And nuclear being "the most expensive" is based on the prediction that, as climate change becomes a primary issue, that oil, gas and coal will not incur heavy tariffs. Nuclear has the largest UP FRONT cost. But is the most economical in the long run. And run properly and safely, produces cheap, clean power stably over the lifespan of a reactor with no CO2 emissions.

The big problem is, China's requirements for power are going to keep going up, as are all the various nations not currently benefiting from large power surpluses. You can talk about eking out efficiency and using less wastefully. But that only gets you so far. Keeping up with coal, gas or oil will devastate the planet far worse than all the nuclear accidents that have happened ever will.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (0)

blagooly (897225) | about 7 months ago | (#46674907)

Problems are storage, handling of existing radioactive stockpile, Spent Fuel Pools. Many hundreds of thousands of tons of radioactive waste already piled up, in SFPs in the Nukes.

Existing Spent Fuel Pools are filled, vulnerable. No containment. GE BWR Mk I design has them on the fifth floor of the building. Unit 4 at Fukushima SFP has radioactivity of 14,000 Hiroshima. (Low by US standards, Indian Point has five times that) ((24 miles from NYC)) Unit four SFP is the one TEPCO is emptying, moving to cask storage. It is not possible to enter units 1, 2 and 3. Issue? Another quake drops building, fuel is scattered, not cooled, uncontrollable spontaneous combustion of radioactive fire.

72 years since Fermi, there is no "long term" storage solution. 24,000 to 2 million years. 72 years since Fermi's magic trick, 72 years for the smartest guys in the room to think of something, and there is no answer. So I am not the smartest guy even in this room, but I have to conclude there will be no answer. Water, earthquakes, human error. 24,000 - 2 million years? Not Possible. Time to accept that all solutions are temporary, this is our single eternal legacy.

The Industry's "permanent solution" is getting it off their property, relief from liability.

Deal?

1) Agree to move the stuff from the vulnerable storage pools to on site cask storage.

2) Do actual earthquake resistance improvements instead of studies.

3) Fukushima. Get an International plan in place to wall, corral, and cap it.

72 years since Fermi's trick, 60 years since the smartest guys in the room told us this was all good. Do the three steps above. Show you are in fact serious, that you can be trusted. Take responsibility, show accountability, prove that it is not just about your cash flow. *** Then build some more nuclear waste producing power plants to make us safe from carbon dioxide.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (3, Informative)

Chas (5144) | about 7 months ago | (#46675127)

Problems are storage, handling of existing radioactive stockpile, Spent Fuel Pools. Many hundreds of thousands of tons of radioactive waste already piled up, in SFPs in the Nukes.

And we have reactor designs that can safely burn this waste down. Right now, in many places, you have sequestration vessels standing in open air in what is essentially a parking lot out back of their reactors.

But the people who simply equate nuclear and "bomb" have prevented, via political chicanery, the implementation of known-safe designs that could render all this long-lived spent fuel down into short-lived spent fuel. Through similar chicanery, they've also basically poisoned the government regulatory system in such a way as to artificially skyrocket the costs of implementing and compliance for nuclear. They've also basically nixed intelligent reprocessing of the fuel to extend the useful lifetime without the need to actually obtain more.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1)

blagooly (897225) | about 7 months ago | (#46675893)

Aerojet? Safe? This is not settled science. In the meantime, while we await further developments... Is there any reason to not follow these 3 steps?

1) Agree to move the stuff from the NPP's vulnerable storage pools to on site cask storage.

2) Do actual earthquake resistance NPP improvements instead of studies.

3) Fukushima. Get an International plan in place to wall, corral, and cap it.

The casks can eventually be moved to the safe nuclear waste burning place, of course.

A reason to proceed promptly to step one? Until step one is done, one explosive projectile gadget could force the permanent evacuation of NYC

New York, New York was a random example. One of a lot. Every western City, pretty much. There are currently around 430 NPP's in the world. Got one within 50 miles of you? Lucky you, you the good reader is included in this acceptable risk set, The smartest guys in the room have deemed it probabilistically not probable. Plus, a trillion or three dollars rides on this. It is important! repeat after me to be happy healthy and terriffic: Nuclear Waste producing plants are needed to make us safe from the ravages of carbon dioxide

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (3, Insightful)

macpacheco (1764378) | about 7 months ago | (#46675463)

I'm no FAN of water cooled, solid fuel reactors, for they are wasting 99,3% of Uranium mined.
But still, they are way, way safer than even the cleanest coal power plant, because for each ton of spent nuclear fuel, coal produces tens of thousands of coal ash, filled with mercury, cadmium, arsenic, all neurologic agents, that will remain poisonous FOREVER, because they don't decay.
At least Sr90 and Cs137 decay into stable forms after releasing their radioactivity, loosing any harmful radioactive effects after that.

I don't agree with the opinion that Fukushima is worse than Chernobyl. I don't believe it will be even 5% of Chernobyl effects.
The reasons Chernobyl were so bad were all due to USSR incompetence:
1 - The reactor was astonishingly unsafe. It has no secondary containment building. It had fundamental safety flaws that caused the explosion during a shutdown. It didn't have advanced computer monitoring systems that can predict problems, analyze all reactor safety parameters hundreds of times per second and show anything of concern.
2 - The explosion blew a 2000 ton reactor top off meters away, the reactor graphite moderator caught fire, exacerbating the radioactive release. This is impossible with a modern reactor
3 - Iodine tablets were no distributed to the affected population. Most cancers from nuclear accidents come from radioactive iodine, but it decays fairly quickly, 7 day half life, so in 70 days it's essentially all gone (rule of thumb = 10 half lives it's 99% gone)
This won't ever happen again. The main reason isn't the lessons learned, all 3 lessons were already ingrained in nuclear safety people outside the USSR. Only the USSR would be crazy to do that even back then.

Fukushima might even slowly release the same levels of raw radioactivity, but since it's going into the Pacific, and being released in small doses, it gets diluted very quickly, so people aren't breathing radioactive iodine, Sr, Cs.

No, the pacific isn't lost. Even 50Km away, the Pacific is perfectly safe and fine.

If any of those concerns were a real issue, USA and France would be having serious nuclear incidents all the time.
Why is it that France produces 75% of its electricity from nuclear and we don't hear of clusters of cancer cases around nuclear plants ?
Why is it that the USA produces more total electricity from nuclear than France, without incident ?
Where are the radiation sickness deaths from Fukushima ? Where are the real cancer cases from Fukushima ?
The reality still is that the anti nuclear community is still doing it's usual overreaction act around Fukushima.
The German greens forced nuclear reactors to be shutdown in a hurry, causing German's CO2 emissions to go up from burning more coal. The net effect of all solar and wind installed completely washed by shutting down just 5 nuclear reactors.

I'm sorry, but I can't agree with any of the actions you propose, because your side get attention to your issues by fearmongering the population. I'm not a nuclear industry representative, I'm not even a nuclear physicist or a nuclear engineer. My pro nuclear feelings are a result of the anti nuclear people selling lies to the general public. My interest on studying nuclear power and fully understanding it comes 99% from correcting your side's fearmongering. I'm against lies and in favor of credible information. Until the anti nuclear shills stop fearmongering, I'm against them.

Spreading lies is never a good thing. It makes your movement a fundamentalist one.
Nuclear power IS safe. You concerns are not significant, because as it is, nuclear technology is already extremely safe.
Everything has risks. Chernobyl killed far less people than one weeks worth of car accidents in the USA. Chernobyl killed less people than coal kills every month worldwide.

We need to fund new nuclear alternatives that are efficient in using thorium and uranium, if we do that, we can reduce nuclear fission products by 99%. With just the currently available spent nuclear fuel, we could operate the same levels of nuclear output for centuries. We need to fully re-use that spent nuclear fuel, instead of banning the production of more such fuel.

You must realize that the current NRC regulatory system and anti-nuclear opinion makes it impossible to replace and old reactor with a new, radically safer one. By being nuclear, you are being pro coal and pro natural gas. The long predicted impossibility of running solar and wind even at 25% of total grid production is already happening, in Hawaii, Arizona, Germany. Nuclear is the only unlimited power source that can fully offset fossil fuels.

I have nothing against experimenting with solar and wind. My problem is reject nuclear along the way.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1, Funny)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about 7 months ago | (#46675095)

Until you start giving coal power the treatment it DESERVES by killing about 200,000 people/year worldwide and 13,000 people/year in the USA alone, you have ZERO moral authority to try to destroy nuclear power for its most remote risks.

Two wrongs don't make a right.

Your argument is that we should castigate Dave for killing people because John kills more people!!!!

7 Billion people on earth, 30+% of them will die of cancer, the simple fact is we don't know how many of those 2 billion people died because of radiation but what we do know is that high powered photons can damage DNA and that can lead to cancer.

How many Fukishimas, windscales, three-mile-islands and chernobyls do we have to have before we say enough is enough. We CAN power this planet on renewables.

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that the solar energy resource in a 100-square-mile (259-square-kilometer) area of Nevada could supply the United States with all its electricity. We're talking 800 gigawatts of power, and that's using modestly efficient commercial PV modules.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1, Interesting)

macpacheco (1764378) | about 7 months ago | (#46675531)

> How many Fukishimas, windscales, three-mile-islands and chernobyls do we have to have before we say enough is enough. We CAN power this planet on renewables.

Sweet dreaming my friend. Not possible on current technology.
Hawai, Arizona, Germany is showing there are LIMITS to how much solar and wind can be added to the grid before destabilizing it.
You say solar and wind is cheap, but you only account for the cost of the wind turbine and solar panels, and ignore the cost of redesigning the grid and implementing extremely costly energy storage solutions.

If you are unwilling to expose yourself to any risks, just give up and kill yourself. Life is full of risks.
The issue is nuclear is being put against an idealized, impossibly perfect solution.
More solar panel installers and wind farm maintainers are killed worldwide every year than nuclear workers, although the 435 operational nuclear reactors in the world produce enough juice to run the entire Europe electricity demand.
Nuclear is safer than solar and wind will ever be. Because nuclear is a dense power source, making it economical to adopt the extreme safety attitude it currently enjoys. Just because Japan was irresponsible in it's nuclear regulatory system, doesn't mean North America and Western Europe is.

Until you can think outside your eco fundamentalist bubble, it's impossible to discuss this further.
Your statements show that you aren't interested in looking at pro nuclear rational data, you are only interested in drinking the anti nuclear eco fundamentalist cool aid.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (0)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about 7 months ago | (#46675811)

From my point of view you have to be pretty 'fundamentalist ' to support nuclear. Every country that has nuclear has accidents.

Why is it that pro-nuclear people always like to ignore the fact that nuclear is the most expensive option and that there is no good place to store the waste. You could sell it to the Italian mafia though, they have disposed of it in the past.

And the dangers are never sufficiently dealt with, luckily terrorists have never attempted to fly plans in to nuclear power stations with the accuracy of the plane that hit the pentagon.

Terrorists, storage, cost, earthquakes, profit motive, tsunamis, large solar flares, disgruntled nut job employees, rogue govt hackers, organised crime, I can't be bothered to go in to all of these in detail but I'm sure there are more reasons why nuclear is a bad idea.

When was the last time a coal fired power station exploded leaving land uninhabitable and the ocean unfishable and with astronomical clean-up costs?

If we put a fraction of what we spend on nuclear in to large scale energy storage R+D and implement it then we could use wind, solar, tidal etc a lot more. UK could be powered from wind alone.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1)

Chas (5144) | about 7 months ago | (#46675061)

Okay, it's been approximately 25 years since the disaster. People have been living there since only a short time after the disaster.

Thus far, there have been 50-60 deaths directly due to the accident and the initial puff of radiation. And no directly provable deaths since.

So, please, keep spinning tales.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (0)

Required Snark (1702878) | about 7 months ago | (#46674405)

As for Fukushima. Fukushima is the story of a freak Tsunami that was mutated by the anti-nuke community into a "nuclear failure".

So you want to argue this at the level of personal attacks? No problem.

Imagine that there was no reactor at Fukushima and there was a "freak tsunami". Would there be a radioactive water storage nightmare? [theguardian.com]

Currently about 400 tonnes of groundwater is streaming into the reactor basements from the hills behind the plant each day. The plant has accumulated about 300,000 tonnes of contaminated water, which is being stored in 1,200 tanks occupying a large swath of the Fukushima Daiichi site.

Eventually Tepco hopes to have enough space to store 800,000 tonnes, but fears are rising that it will run out of space sometime next year because it can't keep up with the flow of toxic water.

Your statement is meaningless because it is complete nonsense. In the real world the tsunami happened and there have been dramatic consequences. Putting the blame on the "anti-nuke community" verges on delusional thinking.

Are your suggesting that the water be dumped into the ocean? That would destroy an even larger area of the Japanese seafood industry. It would also violate numerous international treaties.

Since you seem to have all the answers, what's your solution? I'm sure that you response will be better then anyone in Japan or the international community has come up with so far, and it will be immediately adopted. I can't wait!

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (2)

mpe (36238) | about 7 months ago | (#46674499)

As for Fukushima. Fukushima is the story of a freak Tsunami that was mutated by the anti-nuke community into a "nuclear failure".

Assuming that the "anti-nuke community" didn't contribute to the problem by making it more difficult to replace the old reactors an/or move spent fuel off site.

Fukushima is an example of human failure (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 7 months ago | (#46674609)


As we know now, even without the tsunami Fukushima would be a large nuclear disaster, since at least one reactor is cracked and leaking contaminated radioactive water into the ground water table. Also, that "freak tsunami" actually is statistically happening every thousand years or so, so the chance that it would happen in the life time of a facility, say 50 years, is about 5% or to put that in perspective: "so likely that you'd have to be an idiot not to design for it". So much for a perfect design, but that's not what I wanted to comment about.

Fukushima is an example of how big humans tend to mess up "perfect" designs, plans and safety regulations. The amount of failures, attempts at cover ups, corruption and other human behaviour that has lead to the giant mess Fukushima is currently is evidence that humans are incapable of safely operating even the most safe design of nuclear reactor. Almost all nuclear accidents we've had in the past 100 years were caused by human action, not by design flaws. Until we've designed a better human that doesn't have these flaws, we will have risks operating nuclear facilities.
Whether that is a reason not to go nuclear is a matter of debate, but don't assume that designing safer facilities will help a lot in preventing accidents from happening. Sooner or later some idiot will do something stupid, most likely a group of idiots will do multiple stupid things and we'll have another incident to deal with. Right now we have a fire in a storage facility that couldn't have happened if multiple safety regulations weren't violated, but it happened anyway. The more safe you build something, the more careless people are going to be. Who would have thought that they would simply shut off fire alarms and automatic extinguishing equipment? Who would have thought they would run old unmaintained trucks that could spontaneously burst into flames inside a confined space like a salt mine filled with highly dangerous plutonium? People do that sort of incredibly stupid things because they are humans. Even fully automating the place isn't going to work, since the automated stuff still needs maintenance and sooner or later, humans will be involved and mess it up.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46674909)

jafac already debunked your "Pripyat is safe" claim, so I'll just pick up the rest.

Most of the reactors that have had safety issues are reactors that were built decades ago, based on even older designs.

Most of the new ones being built now are basically the same, with a few modifications to deal with known issues.

We have the knowledge, NOW, to build completely contained devices that safely generate power over the lifetime of the device.

Fukushima was "completely contained", it just wasn't indestructible or even meltdown/hydrogen explosion proof. Even if we could build such a thing it wouldn't be affordable.

As for Fukushima. Fukushima is the story of a freak Tsunami that was mutated by the anti-nuke community into a "nuclear failure".

Japan experiences regular large earthquakes and occasional tsunami. The one that hit is estimated to be a 1-in-100 year event, so with a 40-50 year life span we have to expect nuclear plants built near the coast to safely survive another one. Even if you don't think the actual damage was that bad the cost of cleaning it up is well documented and undeniable, so has to be factored in to the insurance cost than thus the build/operating cost (for additional safety features to mitigate risk) of any other plants.

Because the only other viable options for baseline power are natural gas, coal and oil.

Japan actually has enough renewable energy for its entire needs, including baseline power. Your statement is clearly false anyway, because you neglected to mention hydro and geothermal power that is widely used for baseline supply.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1)

Chas (5144) | about 7 months ago | (#46675357)

jafac already debunked your "Pripyat is safe" claim

No he hasn't. Because I never made that claim. But please, keep misrepresenting what I said.

Most of the new ones being built now are basically the same, with a few modifications to deal with known issues.

I'd like to see the supporting documentation you have for making this claim.

Fukushima was "completely contained", it just wasn't indestructible or even meltdown/hydrogen explosion proof. Even if we could build such a thing it wouldn't be affordable.

You and I have vastly different ideas about what "contained" means.

Japan actually has enough renewable energy for its entire needs, including baseline power.

Again, documentation on this unsubstantiated claim please?

As for Hydro? Basically that's where the environmentalists start running into one another. Because of Hydro's adverse effects on the local ecology. Additionally, the US is more or less tapped out in terms of new Hydro capacity unless you want to go all Three Gorges and flood people out of house and home.

And geothermal. Great. You're already worried about things like quakes and the like. So what do you want to do? Pump a bunch of water down into the earth and bring it back up and high pressure.

And you can't simply drop a well for one of these ANYWHERE. You have to have confirmed hot spots. The US is responsible for something between 20-30% of TOTAL geothermal power in the world. Yet it's less than half a percent of our total generating capacity.

So. Tell me again how it's going to take over as the go-to solution for clean baseline power...

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#46675315)

We have the knowledge, NOW, to build completely contained devices that safely generate power over the lifetime of the device.

No, no we don't. We are still emitting hazardous waste and not dealing with it. Get back to me when we're reprocessing fuel.

We have the knowledge, NOW, to build reactors that quite simply are INCAPABLE of replicating the accidents that led to contamination at TMI and Chernobyl.

Pity we don't.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1)

AlterEager (1803124) | about 7 months ago | (#46675877)

No, no we don't. We are still emitting hazardous waste and not dealing with it. Get back to me when we're reprocessing fuel.

What do you mean "we", American?

Some of us do reprocess fuel.

Welcome to France.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (2)

MrKaos (858439) | about 7 months ago | (#46676365)

Maybe on a scale of "eternity", fire doesn't render places "permanently" uninhabitable.

But, then, neither does radiation.

The relatively short half life of Strontium 90 is 600 years, some radioisotopes are more than that some are less. To the perspective of anyone alive today, it's the same as eternity.

Most of the reactors that have had safety issues are reactors that were built decades ago, based on even older designs.

Many of the so called "improved" designs are only improved for economic reasons. Choices, such as less concrete for the containment, actually *reduce* the safety of the reactors because they are too expensive to build otherwise.

We have the knowledge, NOW, to build completely contained devices that safely generate power over the lifetime of the device.
We have the knowledge, NOW, to build reactors that quite simply are INCAPABLE of replicating the accidents that led to contamination at TMI and Chernobyl.

What we don't have is a properly prepared geological spent fuel containment facility. Accidents like Fukushima show how important this step is if you want to reduce the inherrant risk of the entire industry.

As for Fukushima. Fukushima is the story of a freak Tsunami that was mutated by the anti-nuke community into a "nuclear failure".

The official report of The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission [nirs.org] reveals that this issue was "Wholey man made" and "avoidable". The installation could have survived had they not had a beleif system that Nuclear power was safe, therefore reducing effort to improve safety in basic ways, like raising the seawall or locating backup generators appropriately.

Basically, if you consider yourself environmentally conscious, you cannot be anti-nuke.

If you understood the actual environmental impact of Nuclear power you don't have to be "environmentally conscious" to have excellent motivation to oppose Nuiclear power.

Because the only other viable options for baseline power are natural gas, coal and oil.

I think you mean "Baseload" and Solar thermal does "Baseload". What you're missing though is that "Baseload" is a function of the grid, not just any single source.

And anyone telling you that we can rely, solely, on wind, wave, solar and geothermal is LYING TO YOU. The people telling you these lies? Shills for the NG, coal and oil industry!

I think we are going to need all of these sources in the coming years. Wind is a great replacement for nuclear because it scales much better. The era of coal is over and we cannot place a radioisotope legacy on future generations the way a carbon legacy was put on our generation.

Disclaimer: I have no connection with the coal or oil industry.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1)

macpacheco (1764378) | about 7 months ago | (#46674287)

Neither does nuclear !
People are living in the Chernobyl exclusion zones !
By using the word permanently, you already lost the argument because it's not hard data, it's your wild exaggeration of hard scientific data.
Chernobyl dumped 5% of the reactor core materials, one million cancer deaths were predicted, it's been 25 years, why can't the anti nuclear pundits produce a scientific peer review study showing at least one hundred thousand actual deaths ?????
You anti nuclear shills, have zero credibility among the scientific community.
Stop spreading FUD about nuclear. We have been using it for 50 years. Nuclear is safe. Solar and wind will continuously kill far more people per GWh produced than nuclear, because it requires massive installation and maintenance labor.
Yes, the oldest nuclear reactors should be replaced with state of the art new ones, but they can't do it, cause the NRC is making it impossible. It's a chicken egg problem.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (2)

mpe (36238) | about 7 months ago | (#46674541)

Chernobyl dumped 5% of the reactor core materials, one million cancer deaths were predicted, it's been 25 years, why can't the anti nuclear pundits produce a scientific peer review study showing at least one hundred thousand actual deaths ?????

The process of "peer review" dosn't in itself make a study correct. Especially where this issue is mixed in with politics. When tends to be the case with "X causes Y premature deaths". All too easy for any study to be an attempt at "proof"... Best to be able to see the bodies or at least the death certificates.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1)

macpacheco (1764378) | about 7 months ago | (#46675589)

Peer review means you don't have the freedom to say whatever you want without scrutiny.
Peer review means other must be able to duplicate your conclusions.
Even without peer review, there's no documentary that shows an actual one hundred thousand deaths from Chernobyl. There's just predictions. It's been 25 years, show me the deaths, show me hospitals filled with Chernobyl cancer cases !
The reality is the predictions of one million deaths were caused by taking 3% additional chance of cancer on a one million people population and turning into they will all get cancer ! The kind of absurdity that would be exposed by peer review.
The anti nuclear shills must do a rebuttal of Pandora's Promise. We're all waiting for you to put your money where your mouth is.
If Pandora's Promise is such a bold faced lie, it should be easy to do a low budget rebuttal.
You need to look no further than the type of anti nuclear videos on youtube. Every single one of the has been totally rebutted with hard scientific data, that's a kind of peer review.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 7 months ago | (#46673481)

Given the risk we should be designing for safety in the most extreme event possible. Look at it this way: the fact that the estimates were revised up tells us that the original estimates were too optimistic, there is at least some chance that the new ones are too.

Or the new ones are too pessimistic and rely on theoretical possibilities that never can or will come true in reality, but we choose to err on the side of caution. It's not proven necessary until we've had an actual quake exceed the old tolerances, which hopefully won't happen any time soon.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1)

mpe (36238) | about 7 months ago | (#46674583)

Or the new ones are too pessimistic and rely on theoretical possibilities that never can or will come true in reality, but we choose to err on the side of caution.

Assuming they don't also overlook more common/mundane risks. Or, even worst, attempt "risk assessment" by some kind of "box ticking".

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 7 months ago | (#46673693)

knowledge of the tectonic plate system is incomplete anyway

It's newer than people think. My boss graduated with a degree in geophysics before the theory was published.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1)

khallow (566160) | about 7 months ago | (#46674537)

Given the risk we should be designing for safety in the most extreme event possible.

As long as that extreme is reasonable to design for. You're not going to be able to do much design for a direct asteroid strike or a deliberate pinpoint nuclear attack, for example.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1)

Stumbles (602007) | about 7 months ago | (#46672683)

Exactly.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (4)

SpankiMonki (3493987) | about 7 months ago | (#46673241)

Given that these "revised" estimates are generated by the same people who want to extinguish all dependable, tried and true sources of energy, one must reasonably suspect that the estimates were "revised" in a way that would help ensure the dismantling of the nuclear industry.

Did you read the friggin article? Of course you didn't.

The "revised" estimates were generated by the NRC in conjunction with the DOE and (wait...wait for it...) the Electric Power Research Institute. [wikipedia.org] Yep, they're all a bunch of goddamed hippifreak tree-huggin energy extinguishers.

Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 7 months ago | (#46673553)

The "revised" estimates were generated by the NRC in conjunction with the DOE and (wait...wait for it...) the Electric Power Research Institute. [wikipedia.org]

Yep, they're all a bunch of goddamed hippifreak tree-huggin energy extinguishers.

Not only that, they also have bad breath and gingivitis.

A sad comment on America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46672559)

http://www.dailykos.com/story/... [dailykos.com] Sad. [dailykos.com]

Re:A sad comment on America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46672691)

Urrrk. Unlike the dinosaurs, the woolly mammoth was actually contemporary with man.

Re:A sad comment on America (1)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about 7 months ago | (#46673513)

This is true. Also, Jesus hunted the mammoth with humans, riding his velociraptor, while wearing a Che shirt.

Re:A sad comment on America (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 7 months ago | (#46673533)

the woolly mammoth was actually contemporary with man.

So were the dinosaurs. God said so. Would you argue with Him?

"As you add up all of the dates, and accepting that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to Earth almost 2000 years ago, we come to the conclusion that the creation of the Earth and animals (including the dinosaurs) occurred only thousands of years ago (perhaps only 6000!), not millions of years. Thus, if the Bible is right (and it is!), dinosaurs must have lived within the past thousands of years."

http://www.answersingenesis.or... [answersingenesis.org]

A unified design? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46672567)

If, going forward all the plants were of an identical design...wouldn't that make things a bit simpler? Right now it seems the goal is to keep these ancient dinasaur reactors running (which does make short-term economic sense...). But wouldn't a more "monolithic", unified set design standard cut costs and ensure things were safer?

Re:A unified design? (3, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46672733)

Wouldn't help. The surveys cover things like the deterioration of materials (which depends on age, weather conditions, seismic activity etc.) and the local geology. Of course maintenance has to be checked as well, to make sure it is being done properly.

Even if they were all identical they would still need all these checks.

Re:A unified design? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46672751)

If all the reactors ran on hemp, there would be no danger from the earthquakes. The only reason we have to put up with these safety disasters is because our political masters insist on perpetuating a senseless war on drugs that catches plants like hemp in the crossfire.

Hemp-based reactors would solve all of our problems with nuclear energy.

Re:A unified design? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46673019)

How does this related at all to obamacare?

Re:A unified design? (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 7 months ago | (#46672891)

If, going forward all the plants were of an identical design...wouldn't that make things a bit simpler?

No. Some plants sit near fault lines, others are far away. Some sit next to deep ocean with plenty of cooling capacity. Others sit in arid regions with water shortages. Also, technology advances. It doesn't make much sense to keep using a decades old design when we have learned how to do better.

Re:A unified design? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46675215)

If, going forward all the plants were of an identical design...wouldn't that make things a bit simpler?

No. Some plants sit near fault lines, others are far away. Some sit next to deep ocean with plenty of cooling capacity. Others sit in arid regions with water shortages. Also, technology advances. It doesn't make much sense to keep using a decades old design when we have learned how to do better.

Unfortunately it's difficult to put what we learned into practice because of the resistance to building new plants with the newer designs. So we're stuck using the old plants because shutting them down is impractical (or we replacement them with fossil fuel-based generators to deal with base load).

I have nothing against solar and wind, but IMHO they're not enough. Our long-term energy solutions (which include conservation/reduction of demand) need a mix of energy sources, which includes nuclear.

I think a 3-4 "standardized" designs for nuclear plants would go a long way, so we could build a bunch of cookie cutter facilities and get economies of scale would go a long way to improving things. We don't just 1-2 designs to limit the risks of a 'monoculture' of design, but by having too many it's bespoke engineering which has its own problems.

Re:A unified design? (1)

mpe (36238) | about 7 months ago | (#46674597)

If, going forward all the plants were of an identical design...wouldn't that make things a bit simpler? Right now it seems the goal is to keep these ancient dinasaur reactors running (which does make short-term economic sense...). But wouldn't a more "monolithic", unified set design standard cut costs and ensure things were safer?

Or it might make things less safe if a flaw was discovered in the design in the future.

Re:A unified design? (2)

hackertourist (2202674) | about 7 months ago | (#46675201)

Yes, this would make things simpler. The French have done this [researchgate.net] (PDF link), using one standard reactor design wherever possible. IIRC the American method was to use some standard components, but allow the architect responsible for the plant to make lots of changes (e.g. the piping between the standard components is different at each plant).

Roll Tape (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46672583)

Been there, done that... http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/gen-comm/bulletins/1979/bl79001b.html

This is the problem with all aging infrastructure. (3, Insightful)

mmell (832646) | about 7 months ago | (#46672659)

The architect says this (bridge/power plant/building) will stand for (20/30/40) years with proper maintenance. Then, we should outright replace it. We know it'll cost x dollars now, plus y dollars of the life of the item. Sounds good, so we buy in.

At the end of the lifespan, somebody who is not that architect says we can't afford to replace a (still perfectly good) piece of infrastructure. Let's agree that if we (inspect more often/inspect in greater detail/upgrade this piece here), we can get (10/20/30) more years of life out of it. Y'know, I can already hear the original architect screaming "That isn't what I said!".

So now it's forty years later, and something the original architect may not even have seen coming turns Fukushima into a radioactive hotspot - or the bridge in Skagit County collapses - or an 8.5 magnitude earthquake levels the building, killing hundreds. The problem is that it's one thing to spend millions of dollars to have the object in question. Once people are used to it "just being there", nobody wants to spend even more just to keep it. They'd rather spend just a few dollars more and convince themselves that it's better than ever. Good on us for being so clever!

Re:This is the problem with all aging infrastructu (4, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46672719)

That's not how engineering works, or why Fukushima went into meltdown.

Engineers specify the lifetime for the various parts of their design. They specify under what conditions they are considered worn out and cannot be used any more. Clearly if any worn out part can be replaced then there is no limit to the lifetime of the design. In practice this has proven to be true with things like aircraft and ships, and indeed nuclear plants. What kills them is when the cost of maintenance gets too high and building a new one is cheaper.

In the case of Fukushima age had nothing to do with it. The problem was damage from the earthquake, damage from the tsunami (and the lack of upgrades that TEPCO were told they needed to do to the sea defence wall), and confusion in the following days. The plant itself was actually better than new, in that it had been upgraded over the years and all parts were properly maintained and functioning as designed. It was just an old design, although it is debatable how much better newer designs would have fared in the same situation.

Age isn't the problem, bad design is. Fukushima was broken from day one, in fact it was even more vulnerable to major earthquakes than it was the day one hit it all those years later.

Re:This is the problem with all aging infrastructu (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46674547)

> although it is debatable how much better newer designs would have fared in the same situation.

Which designs? Some of them can't meltdown because there simply isn't enough material.

Re:This is the problem with all aging infrastructu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46675249)

Age isn't the problem, bad design is. Fukushima was broken from day one, in fact it was even more vulnerable to major earthquakes than it was the day one hit it all those years later.

FTFY: Fukushima was broken from day one against the size of the tsunami it went up against. If the tsunami had been smaller it would not have been problem.

Fukushima was fine for the assumptions they made. It was even fine for the earthquake itself.

It's just that they made a bad assumption on the waves it should be able to handle.

Re:This is the problem with all aging infrastructu (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 7 months ago | (#46672903)

No sorry. The architect says this xxxxxx will stand for xxxxxx years with xxxxx specific maintenance.
Company runs xxxxx for the xxxxx years and then calls 3rd party inspectors to endorse xxxxxx for yyyyyy number of years based on yyyyy maintenance.
Providing you perform yyyyy maintenance and seek re-endorsement periodically you can continue ad-infinitum.

Most industrial plants have a design life of around 10 years. Most will happily run for 60 years providing you replace bits that have corroded, monitor corrosion, inspect them inside and out periodically. Most fatal industrial accidents happen from either poor design, or lack of inspection. Running things for too long doesn't come into the equation.

Partially true (1)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | about 7 months ago | (#46673143)

There are ALWAYS fundamental parts of the structure and inaccessible elements (pipes routing through masses of concrete or running under foundations for instance which are simply impractical to ever replace. In the case of nuclear power plants these things include highly critical parts like steel pressure vessels (which are degraded by neutron capture reactions amongst other things). You may be able to INSPECT these things, but once you deem that they've worn out its just game over, you decommission.

Another aspect of this problem is that it isn't simple to inspect things either. In many cases it can simply be impossible and the things that are hardest to inspect are also likely to be the things that can't be replaced. What ends up happening is that someone makes a model and says "this aught to last 20 years" and 19 years later another guy gets paid by the owner to make a new model that says "this aught to last 40 years". Now, the new model should be realistic, but it may be far less conservative and as we know models aren't perfect.

For this reason the really prudent thing to do is stick with the initial estimates, they're probably the most conservative, and decommission when the design lifetime is reached. Its LIKELY to be a bit conservative but as one poster stated above its all about risk vs reward. Nothing is totally safe or sure, but the longer you run an old nuclear reactor the more likely it is that components will be weakened and compromised. You just never know what sort of unforeseen event is going to then put stress on things. A pipe that was 200% stronger than necessary when it was made and is still 140% stronger than necessary is still now too weak to withstand 180% of its original maximum load. That might be "Never supposed to happen" but a 36 meter tsunami wasn't either. Shit happens.

Re:Partially true (0)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 7 months ago | (#46673563)

Sorry I don't buy that. In industry these days there's nothing that can't be inspected or replaced somehow. Sure sometimes it comes at great expense like system utilities such as HV feeders or main steam raising plant, but that's what full plant turnarounds are for, that's what replacement vessels are for.

In some countries is it legally required that all pressure vessels be inspected and endorsed. When I think about things like the NDK Crylstal Inc explosion in 2009 all I can think of is that the government would have shut us down 4 years after we built our plant if we followed their maintenance regime. No literally, we would have had our licence to operate revoked. In the USA all you get is "recommendations". That's the problem. No one would voluntarily xray every vessel in a processing plant, no one would voluntarily thickness test every dead leg every 6 months. Inspection and testing is expensive.

Yet everything is able to be endorsed in some way, even underground foundations, and the insides of large reactors. Saying something is always inaccessible is effectively saying we won't try and won't expense it.

Re:Partially true (2)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | about 7 months ago | (#46674011)

You can say that if you want, that doesn't make it true. There's clearly stuff inside these plants that nobody can look at and things that are so expensive to replace that building a new plant is cheaper. That's all that's required. You can't replace the pressure vessel on a PWR, not possible.

Re:Partially true (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 7 months ago | (#46674111)

You don't need to. You shut it down in place and build another next to it. That's what happens when you can't demolish, you build a new one next to it.

Also you're partially right that no one can look at things inside some plants, as in you can't crawl in and shine a torch on it. But that's not how inspection works. Very little inspection is visual. Inspection is a lot like looking for oil. There's a myriad of different ways including inducing ultrasonic vibrations in cement and measuring the results which give you things like thickness and density. We induce high frequency current in metals and measure the eddies. Hell simply testing the water in the cooling loop will be able to tell you your corrosion rate of metals as well as if the corrosion is likely to be uniform or pitting. Measuring surface temperature vs inside temperature can also show how cement is being degraded by neutron bombardment. That's also how furnaces are inspected without shutting them down, a simple thermal camera will show the state of internal refractory lining.

No one would put their name to a piece of paper that would hold them criminally liable if something goes pop. Yet inspection endorsements happen for plants constantly because while we can't see into the plant we can definitely still tell if it's in good condition.

Re:Partially true (2)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | about 7 months ago | (#46676795)

Sorry, I've worked around industrial facilities, including nuclear power plants. Hell, I've stood on top of the core of a research reactor and watched the Cerenkov glow, installed instruments at VY Yankee, etc. Lets just take VY as a good example. They COULD NOT, and DID NOT inspect plumbing underneath the plant (in fact they denied said plumbing even existed). The result was a tritium leak. There are simply pieces of these plants that can't be inspected. Trust me, I know all about ultrasound, x-rays, conductivity, etc etc etc. You can't be sure without putting eyeballs on it. Time and time again that has been proven, and some things we know we can't really inspect.

Re:This is the problem with all aging infrastructu (2)

guruevi (827432) | about 7 months ago | (#46673103)

Fukushima is not a hot spot. There is a lot of media surrounding it and sure, there may be some "bad things" there but there isn't life threatening Chernobyl-level activity (and even Chernobyl wasn't all that bad). I also wouldn't be concerned about Buchanan, NY getting hit by a tsunami, Long Island and NYC are among a few of the things that have to be passed by (and those would dissipate most/all of the energy). And if a tsunami hit there, well, then, we'd have more serious things to be concerned about like your survival among the remaining 10% of the species on earth.

Re:This is the problem with all aging infrastructu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46673439)

You may not be concerned about a tsunami at Buchanan, NY, but did you know that it was on an earthquake fault? And yes, there was an earthquake on that fault line not so many years ago. The fact that it's within 50 miles of all of NYC shouldn't be of any concern, as it would be easy to move millions of people in case of emergency. I remember when they used to say they'd evacuate the mental patients nearby via train...of course, after an earthquake, not all the rails may be useable. As for bridges and tunnels, who knows? Good thing Manhattan is an island. Perhaps it could be evacuated by boat or by swimming.

Re:This is the problem with all aging infrastructu (1)

Chas (5144) | about 7 months ago | (#46673811)

Yep, Indian Point is less than a mile from a faultline.

One that's barely been active over the last 200 million years.

Risk assessment figured that there's a 100% chance of critical damage to the reactor vessels...over a timeline of 100-150 THOUSAND YEARS.
Seeing as the plant's lifespan is supposed to be between 40 and 80 years and the plant is rated to withstand a 6.1 scale quake, you have a better chance of dying in a traffic accident IN YOUR LIVING ROOM.

Re:This is the problem with all aging infrastructu (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#46675289)

Risk assessment figured that there's a 100% chance of critical damage to the reactor vessels...over a timeline of 100-150 THOUSAND YEARS.

No. Over a timeline of 0-150,000 years. We don't know how to predict quakes on long-quiescent faults yet. We're barely able to do it on active ones.

Seeing as the plant's lifespan is supposed to be between 40 and 80 years and the plant is rated to withstand a 6.1 scale quake, you have a better chance of dying in a traffic accident IN YOUR LIVING ROOM.

You know, this isn't just about my life. This is about all living things for hundreds of years after an incident. Maybe you could expand your world view to include things past your nose.

Re:This is the problem with all aging infrastructu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46674211)

Get leukemia and die you piece of arbitrary shit. Chernobyl was bad, atmospheric testing was bad, nuclear war or even a terrorist dirty bomb can be BAD.

Re:This is the problem with all aging infrastructu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46673141)

Time persistent infrastructure, at least on time scales beyond several decades, is across the board too costly for current implementations. The irony being, that's exactly why we should be building them. Not because it's too costly, but because we should be looking at infrastructure on terms of centuries. Yes, we do have the technology to do this, however we, society, neither have the will nor gumption to think on implementing at those scales. Socially, we as humans, aren't there yet for that kind of engineering implementation. It would require wholesale re-evaluation of economics, social policy, property rights, and terms like democracy, social responsibility. In short, I'm almost certain I won't see it in my lifetime. I'm 35, and expect to live to at least into my 80's if not 90's, even after the longevity that my family genetics provides. Barring of course, 'accident'. Nevertheless, human society writ large, isn't ready to rethink on scales beyond a few decades. There's too much social, econimic, and political chaos for the kind of stability required to think even consider building at such lengths.

It's not that simple - we can't see the future (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 7 months ago | (#46673741)

We don't look in a crystal ball and say "this will last 40 years". We look at expected modes of failure and estimate operational conditions, do a bit of statistics and then have some confidence that it will last 40 years.
Then reality asserts itself.
Years later people can come along and know the operational conditions instead of estimating them, look at expected modes of failure, examine parts prone to those failures, do a bit of statistics and then have some confidence that it will last another X years.
It goes under various names and "remaining life calculation" is one of them. I used to do that for a living, oddly enough using some techniques taught to me by some nuclear guys (for remaining life estimates of high temperature, high pressure pipework), until using a lot of computers for that sort of stuff shifted me into the field of just using lots of computers in general.

Anyway, my point is that an expected design life is not hard and fast. If actual work is put in you can get a better estimate later. If blind hope is all you have then you are better off sticking to the original estimate - but these nuclear guys are depending on non-destructive testing and not blind hope.

Re:This is the problem with all aging infrastructu (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 7 months ago | (#46673861)

and they still have the replaced parts of that bridge in Skagit County at pre interstate standards they should of build a new one with room for 3 lanes each way + full shoulders. Or at least build a new 3 lane one way with full shoulders and keep the old one in place as 3 lanes one way + shoulder.

Re:This is the problem with all aging infrastructu (1)

bentcd (690786) | about 7 months ago | (#46675217)

The architect says this (bridge/power plant/building) will stand for (20/30/40) years with proper maintenance. Then, we should outright replace it. We know it'll cost x dollars now, plus y dollars of the life of the item. Sounds good, so we buy in.
  At the end of the lifespan, somebody who is not that architect says we can't afford to replace a (still perfectly good) piece of infrastructure. Let's agree that if we (inspect more often/inspect in greater detail/upgrade this piece here), we can get (10/20/30) more years of life out of it. Y'know, I can already hear the original architect screaming "That isn't what I said!".

The original architect necessarily has to be very conservative in his estimates because he has, in your example, 20-40 years of future uncertainty messing up his predictions. He cannot actually know how high the humidity will be, how much the ambient temperature will fluctuate, how much the soil will shift, what sorts of loads the facility will come under, etc., except as some form of probability distribution. And this distribution becomes more uncertain the further into the future he tries to plan it.

After the 20, 30 or 40 years have actually passed however we know all these things, or can find them out, pretty exactly. And if life has fared gentler with the facility than the architect's worst fears accounted for then there may still be decades of useful life left in it. In this case it is perfectly sensible to make a new maintenance plan and life estimate for it, and then take it from there.

Some may close (2)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 7 months ago | (#46672693)

Humboldt Bay Nuclear Power Plant closed because of this situation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... [wikipedia.org]

Online work (-1, Troll)

dorrimohn (3605895) | about 7 months ago | (#46672709)

my aunt got a new silver Audi A7 by working part time at home online. Get the facts>>>> www.bay92.cm

www.bay92.com (-1, Troll)

dorrimohn (3605895) | about 7 months ago | (#46672731)

my aunt got a new silver Audi A7 by working part time at home online. Get the facts>>>>

online work (-1, Troll)

dorrimohn (3605895) | about 7 months ago | (#46672759)

hi to

Bear in mind.... (1)

cjames728 (3573457) | about 7 months ago | (#46672913)

The damage to the Fukishima reactors weren't directly the result of the earthquake, but the tidal wave that followed. Then again, I question building reactors on the eastern seaboard of Japan in a region called "The rim of fire".

Fear a quake which topples an already damaged (1)

MonsterMasher (518641) | about 7 months ago | (#46672961)

Fear a quake which topples an already damaged building with nuclear waste storage stored on top.
Last I look, Japan is the place for such things.
It's hard to hear news of how slowly this nightmare is being managed - I would suggest internationally criminal, or nearly so unless it is close to complete.
Perhaps the UN should do something truly world significant and direct immediate action to this problem at the level in needs, before we all regret it's slowness.
What? Are you not able to get cancer from those macro-particles of death (as reactive as lead) released into the upper atmos. when the outer casings burn in open air, as all the water is gone and building derby and the truly deadly blaze will make it unstoppable..
But you go ahead and rest easy.. I'm sure the Japanese government has it completely under control.
Move along! Nothing to see here.

Japan may only ever reopen one thrid of plants (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 7 months ago | (#46673091)

Lessons from Fukushima may keep two thirds of Japan's nuclear plants closed. http://www.reuters.com/article... [reuters.com] It could most nuclear power is a bad risk and should be written off.

Need to use newer Nuke Tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46673111)

THe problem is in the US all of these nuclear plants are really old in time, and in technology. I think we need nuclear power, but we need to be replacing these old plants with newer designs that take into what we have learned and leverage newer technology. We should two or three generations farther along with this tech than we are.

far better to move to new ones (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 7 months ago | (#46673581)

Seriously, they would be better off with new reactors that can be built in a factory, installed quickly, can up their current stash of waste, and is much cheaper than dealing with these old unique reactors.

Not at the cutting edge (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 7 months ago | (#46673783)

We need a bit more R&D before we get a reactor that worth mass producing. Why plan to build 100 of design X over thirty years when design Y developed only five years later shows far more promise before the first of design X is even operating? Then there's the monoculture problem that hit French reactors a couple of times where they all had to be shut down at once to fix design faults, so some sort of middle ground makes sense.
Of course nuclear lobby groups killed off civilian nuclear R&D because it was a treat to their investment in existing designs and the threat of a different fuel shortening the commercial life of their current plants (a shift to thorium and new plants running it had the potential to prevent the old plants competing and the entrenched nuclear lobby didn't like that).
Maybe in a few years we can buy reactors from India where they still carry out civilian nuclear R&D and do not have that paticular political roadblock. In the meantime startups from former military technology doing an end run around the entrenched nuclear lobby (or enforcing laws against bribery) are what I see as the only hopes in that area.

Re:Not at the cutting edge (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#46675295)

Why plan to build 100 of design X over thirty years when design Y developed only five years later shows far more promise before the first of design X is even operating?

The same way that everything else gets built, it takes more than five years to get approval to make the thing you'll design five years later. You build now what you can build now and build later what you can build later.

Of course nuclear lobby groups killed off civilian nuclear R&D because it was a treat to their investment in existing designs and the threat of a different fuel shortening the commercial life of their current plants (a shift to thorium and new plants running it had the potential to prevent the old plants competing and the entrenched nuclear lobby didn't like that).

This is why we can't have nice things.

Maybe in a few years we can buy reactors from India where they still carry out civilian nuclear R&D and do not have that paticular political roadblock.

A few years is plenty of time to pass a law against that.

It will be alright on the night? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 7 months ago | (#46676867)

Nice of you to chime in to "correct" me, but it's may be worth looking at a bit of the history of nuclear power plants first before going on about weird stuff like "approval time". There are many physical reasons why construction of large projects such as these take a very long time even given a design, funding and a decision to go ahead - close to ten years for a thermal power station of any kind. Also you seem to have missed the point that we do not have any generation four reactors actually built so the first few are going to give us some ideas about how to make some improvements.
I get that a software perspective gives the idea that you can just go ahead and sort out the design flaws later but physical engineering projects rarely have that sort of flexability. The idea is generally to make the mistakes in a prototype instead of building a huge number of lemons (or your suggestion of committing to a long series of possible lemons before the first one has been built).

Modify the operating constraints (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 7 months ago | (#46673753)

The official report of The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission [nirs.org] reveals the collusion that took place with the regulator so improvements would not be put in place. This happened because the beleif system in the safety of Nuclear Power affected all of the safety proposals put forward within and by TEPCO. In other words a 'systemic' issue where the belief that a reactor is safe to be run to capacity, as opposed to a safety culture that certifies it to do so, is the main issue.

A good example of this safety culture is in the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's report. Their interactions with the US Nuclear Sub Fleet revealed that a sub has to consistantly re-certified to operate a certain depth. If it does not get recertified it may not operate at that depth.

As the issue at Fukushima was controlling the residual thermal energy in the reactor as it cooled, perhaps this is a safety culture that could be applied to individual Nuclear reactors at power plant installations where the operating procedures recognises the issues and only certified the reactor to a certain percentage of its production until the problems had been resolved.

Any recertification the following year with new lessons learned proscribes risk aversity proportional to the impact, the onus being on the owner to prove that the reactor is safe to operate to that capacity.

The goal is to prevent an accident because there is less thermal heat in the reactor to deal with and explosions, such as those seen at Chernobyl and Fukushima, don't happen. The best outcome being an operator may have been able to continue using a reactor because they chose to be risk averse appropriately to avoid any possibility of the type of thermal issues that lead to explosions.

I know that such a proposal would not be popular with the pro or anti nuclear people, however there are another group that recognises that these plants are getting old and simply can't be run forever so if you want the benefit of the power you have to figure how how to do that safely.

Re:Modify the operating constraints (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 7 months ago | (#46673819)

Just a minor correction here, I meant "put forward within and for TEPCO".

Re:Modify the operating constraints (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#46675305)

The official report of The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission reveals the collusion that took place with the regulator so improvements would not be put in place.

I'm not going to read it, because I'm lazy; did they discuss the fact that was an absolute shit place to put the plant in the first place, and that they knew this fact when GE chose the site, and the US government forced them to put it where GE said, or that the Mark I was unsafe by design due to the spent fuel rod storage?

Re:Modify the operating constraints (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 7 months ago | (#46676421)

The official report of The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission reveals the collusion that took place with the regulator so improvements would not be put in place.

I'm not going to read it, because I'm lazy; did they discuss the fact that was an absolute shit place to put the plant in the first place, and that they knew this fact when GE chose the site, and the US government forced them to put it where GE said, or that the Mark I was unsafe by design due to the spent fuel rod storage?

No. A riverbed was a seriously braindead place to put Fukushima.

The Mk I had several basis design issues, however these issues were made fatal by Tepco's criminal negligence. The two dasis design issues were: Gate pair seals in the spent fuel containment pool and reactor vessel exceed 70psi internal pressure. Both had a consequence of producing hydrogen and both were exposed because TEPCO did not maintain power to S class facilities (that contain radio isotopes) in accordance with the siesmic design guidlines.

mo3 doWn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46673979)

I#f *BSD is to impaired its

US containment designs are uselessly weak (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 7 months ago | (#46674233)

The US nuke designs are very weak when compared to the French. The French containment buildings are incredibly strong concrete and steel domes, built on top of huge shock absorbers.

Penny wise, pound foolish...

Spent fuel (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 7 months ago | (#46674251)

100% of US nuclear reactors have a spent fuel problem: there is nowhere to dispose of it.

Re:Spent fuel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46675039)

I've always been curious about this. Why can't we put all the waste on a rocket and send it to the Moon?. It shouldn't be that hard and would be cheaper than leaving it on Earth to cause future issues.

Re:Spent fuel (1)

gdshaw (1015745) | about 7 months ago | (#46676395)

I've always been curious about this. Why can't we put all the waste on a rocket and send it to the Moon?. It shouldn't be that hard and would be cheaper than leaving it on Earth to cause future issues.

The main reason is that burial is fairly safe whereas rockets are not.

Re:Spent fuel (1)

AlterEager (1803124) | about 7 months ago | (#46676859)

I've always been curious about this. Why can't we put all the waste on a rocket and send it to the Moon?. It shouldn't be that hard and would be cheaper than leaving it on Earth to cause future issues.

1. That would be stupid because the "waste" is actually "fuel".

2. That would stupid because polluting the moon is a shortsighted way of avoiding pollution on Earth.

3. That would be stupid because rockets sometimes don't get to where you send them.

4. That would be stupid because it would cost a fuck-ton of money.

Ok? Any other questions?

Just more NIMBY BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46674485)

They used the same excuse to close Yucca Mountain.

It's obvious now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46674617)

...that nuclear power is the most dangerous of all power sources, and will kill us all if we don't shut it down permanently.

Quakes II estimates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46674851)

Surely these should be DOOM estimates?

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