Sunday, June 19, 2011

Notification of Unusual Event

My brother sends me news of nuclear power plants in Nebraska with flood waters rising towards them. Very little coverage out there. Luckily, the Nebraska City News Press story I found says that "There is no threat to plant employees or to the public; the plant continues to operate safely. Appropriate local, county, state, and federal agencies were also notified." It's so self-evident that no source, confirmation, or investigation is needed! Why, we don't even need to know which local, county, state, and federal agencies are appropriate.

You know what this calls for? More nuclear power plants.

I just can't wait until we all relax and stop feeling the need to call flood water creating the risk or actuality of nuclear disaster an "unusual event."

BY THE WAY: Good timing on this one: DeAnander's excellent response to the argument that the nuclear "fail rate" ain't half bad.

14 comments:

JM said...

we might need to use all energy sources, according to straight dope:
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/3000/followup-why-dont-we-ditch-nukes-em-and-em-coal

Ethan said...

Define "we" and "need."

Christopher M said...

"We" need to use all energy sources the way a heroin addict needs to find away to shoot that needle into the vein between his toes.

JM said...

I mean we as in society and need as in that wind turbines/solar power may only be able to power so much. I don't entirely agree with straight dope, I'm just reporting it.

Christopher M said...

You know, for the vast majority of human existence, homo sapiens got along pretty well without power plants of any kind. Without agriculture, even. Sure, it was a terrible, terrible life - living without war, slavery, homelessness, and inequality, working around twenty hours a week - but y'know, I think I might take it.

JM said...

Are you referring to hunter gatherers?

Richard said...

...

respjrat said...

i'm a resident of the omaha metro area. there are two nuclear power plants along the river being affected by the flood waters.

the fort calhoun plant, twenty miles north of omaha is in cold shutdown. an assessment last year concluded that it was at risk being compromised in a worst-case flooding event (the flood in 1993 was supposed to have been a thousand-year flood and it pales in comparison to what we're seeing now). apparently "corrective measures" have been implemented as of early 2011.

pulling from wiki some more "The Army Corps of Engineers indicated that with average precipitation, the Missouri River would not go above 1,008 feet (307 m) above sea level and OPPD officials stated that the current flood protection efforts would protect the plant to 1,010–1,012 feet (310–308 m) feet above sea level. Officials indicated the spent fuel pool is at 1,038.5 feet (316.5 m) above sea level." their precipitation models in relation to determining the release of waters from reservoirs upstream account for an inch of precipitation a week. we've had two nights of thunderstorms, blessedly short-lived, back-to-back. this week's forecast shows rain for four of the next 6 days. all rain that falls in the region is going to drain into the missouri.

since it's in cold shutdown, the spent fuel pool is the biggest concern. thankfully it is not fukushima-style and is elevated and not on the ground level, and the flood waters rising nearly 40ft is inconceivable. but then there's fun snippets like this.

[june 9th] "A fire in an electrical switch room on Tuesday briefly knocked out cooling for a pool holding spent nuclear fuel at the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant outside Omaha, Neb., plant officials said."

http://planetsave.com/2011/06/19/electrical-fire-knocks-out-spent-fuel-cooling-pool-at-nebraska-nuclear-plant/

the fire extinguishing systems apparently took care of it before the cooling pool water could rise more than two degrees, but it does not fill me with confidence that random fires can break out in the spent fuel pool at ft. calhoun. and by the way, ft. calhoun is where the spent fuel for all of nebraska's nuclear power plants is stockpiled.

the official word is that there is little to no risk of an event. anyone who reads blog like this would obviously be skeptical of such statements. keep in mind, this entire flood is more or less man-made. we have not seen particularly heavy rains this season (in fact up until this week it's been pretty dry). all of the water is coming from releases from reservoirs upstream, reservoirs that were well over normal capacity as far back as december. however, the large controlled releases started less than a month ago. for me it stands to reason that if you've got a lot of fucking extra water, you might wanna, you know, let it go? maybe not wait six months?

i've got pottasium iodide, an escape route the fuck out of here that doesn't include the only interstate still open (between I-80 and I-29, only I-80 is open), and i'm sure as fuck not drinking the water.

thanks for saying something about this.

Ethan said...

Thanks so much for all the information, respjrat. I'm thinking about quoting essentially your entire comment later today in a new post. If you see this, do you have any objection to that?

respjrat said...

have at it.

Ethan said...

Thanks! ...though the post will probably be coming tomorrow (I tend to be overambitious in my projections.)

Anonymous said...

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/06/21-5 (AP article on tritium leaks around the US)

http://www.commondreams.org/video/2011/06/21-1 (video from russia today on fort calhoun)

Ethan said...

Thanks--when I have a second (probably tomorrow morning) I'll check those out.

JM said...

Richard: I was referring to Christopher M's comment