Thursday, May 24, 2018
JAPAN'S NUCLEAR PLANTS FALLING DOWN: INSPECTORS FIND CORROSION, HOLES, LEAKS
ALL 19 OF JAPAN'S NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS, ALL ITS NUCLEAR REACTORS LIE IN AREAS PRONE TO MAJOR EARTHQUAKES, TSUNAMIS, TYPHOONS AND MAN/Y ARE LOCATED NEAR ACTIVE VOLCANOES.
NUCLEAR ENERGY IS A BAD CHOICE FOR A NATION SO PRONE TO NATURAL DISASTERS.
NOW, INSPECTORS ARE FINDING THEY'RE ALSO CRUMBLING.
IN 2010 the NRC weakened the safety margin for acceptable radiation damage to reactor vessels — for a second time. The standard is based on a measurement known as a reactor vessel’s “reference temperature,” which predicts when it will become dangerously brittle and vulnerable to failure. Over the years, many plants have violated or come close to violating the standard.
As a result, the minimum standard was relaxed first by raising the reference temperature 50 percent, and then 78 percent above the original — even though a broken vessel could spill its radioactive contents into the environment.
JAPAN IS MERELY FOLLOWING SUIT...BUT ON A GRANDER SCALE.
ABOVE: JUST ONE PHOTO OF THE DAMAGE TO JAPAN'S AGING NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS.
AN EXAMPLE OF "Disaster by Design" .
JAPAN'S NUKE PLANTS ARE CRUMBLING, JUST LIKE ALL NUKE PLANTS ARE.
ADD THE THREATS OF MAJOR EARTHQUAKES, TSUNAMIS, VOLCANOES AND TYPHOONS AND ONLY AN IDIOT WOULD IMAGINE THAT NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS CAN EVER BE SAFE FOR JAPAN.
OUR OWN "ATOMIC SCIENTISTS" HAVE HAD TO ADMIT THAT THE INITIAL 'LIFE EXPECTANCY' FOR NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS WAS TOO LONG. THE INTENSITY OF CONSTANT RADIATION AT SUCH HIGH LEVELS SIMPLY DESTROYS ALL MATERIAL USED TO BUILD THOSE ATROCITIES.
THE CONCRETE GETS BRITTLE, THE METAL CORRODES, IT ALL FALLS APART SOONER THAN EXPECTED.
[ALSO SEE "Nuclear Pipe Nightmares" FROM THE UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS.]
WHETHER IN JAPAN OR HERE IN AMERICA, THE ONLY THING NUCLEAR 'REGULATORY' AGENCIES WANT TO REGULATE IS HOW LITTLE THE PUBLIC IS AWARE OF THESE HAZARDS, THREATS AND THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY'S BLATANT DISREGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE.
IN BOTH JAPAN AND HERE, THE NRA AND NRC BEND OVER BACKWARD TO COVER UP THE FAILURES OF BIG NUKE TO OPERATE THEIR CURSED PLANTS SAFELY.
SAFETY BE DAMNED, GIVE THEM PROFIT$$$$$.
MAY 23, 2018
"Corrosion and holes have been found in ventilation ducts at 12 reactors at seven nuclear plants across Japan, the Nuclear Regulation Authority said Wednesday, raising concerns that workers could be exposed to radiation in the event of an accident.
The governmental nuclear watchdog released the results of a nationwide survey it had ordered following a revelation in December 2016 that corrosion had left multiple holes in the air ducts of the No. 2 reactor at Chugoku Electric Power Co.'s Shimane plant in western Japan. The reactor was not included in the survey.
Serious corrosion was found at the No. 3 unit of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and this may have abnormally affected ventilation of the central control room, the watchdog said.
Corrosion or holes were found in steel or galvanized steel ducts at Tohoku Electric Power Co.'s Onagawa nuclear plant, Japan Atomic Power Co.'s Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant, Tepco's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, Chubu Electric Power Co.'s Hamaoka plant, Hokuriku Electric Power Co.'s Shiga nuclear plant and Chugoku Electric's Shimane plant.
If an accident occurs, radioactive materials could flow into a plant's central control room through such holes, putting plant workers in danger of radiation exposure.
At the No. 3 reactor at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, a crack as large as 13 centimeters in length and 5 cm in width was found. A total of nine holes and cracks have been discovered at the Nos. 3 and 7 units at the plant.
All the reactors with corrosion were boiling-water reactors, the same type used at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which spewed a massive amount of radioactive material into the atmosphere following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The holes at the No. 2 unit at the Shimane plant were discovered when insulation materials covering the ducts were removed for an inspection.
The holes, the largest of which measured about 100 cm wide and around 30 cm long, are believed to have been caused by dew condensation and rainwater that seeped inside the building as well as salt deposits on the ducts, given that the corrosion extended about 50 meters from the air inlet and spread from the inner surface of the ducts."
ADD TO THE BREAKDOWN OF MATERIALS THE NUMEROUS EARTHQUAKES JAPAN HAS EVERY YEAR.
THEY KNEW THEY HAD A PROBLEM 11 YEARS AGO!
The Guardian, UK, 17 Jul 2007:
"Nuclear power officials in Japan today admitted that the world's largest nuclear power plant had suffered at least 50 malfunctions including burst pipes, water leaks and radioactive waste spillage, when it was hit by yesterday's earthquake.
Officials were investigating possible radioactive leaks from the plant after reports that several drums carrying low-level nuclear waste had tipped over and lost their lids during the earthquake, which measured 6.8 on the Richter scale, in northern Japan.
TEPCO HAS ALWAYS LIED...
Residents were angered by Tokyo Electric Power's response to damage caused by the quake. Ten hours after it assured residents that no radioactivity had leaked during a blaze at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant - the biggest in the world - the firm said 1,200 litres (264 gallons) of water containing radioactive material had spilled from a tank
Although the leak was discovered at around noon - about two hours after the earthquake - Tokyo Electric did not confirm to ministers that the water contained radioactive material until after 6pm. The public was not informed until 9.45pm.
Anti-nuclear activists warned of the potentially disastrous consequences of a major earthquake striking a nuclear power plant. "This fire and radioactive leakage reminds us yet again of the serious threats posed by nuclear power," said Jan Beranek of Greenpeace International.
"There is a real risk in Japan, and globally, of larger earthquakes and other natural disasters, as well as of terrorist attacks that could lead to far more serious nuclear accidents."
Japan's 55 nuclear reactors supply about a third of its electricity, but the industry's reputation has suffered several setbacks in recent years, including the deaths of five workers in an accident at Mihama nuclear power plant in western Japan in August 2004 and the deaths of two people at the Tokaimura reprocessing plant in 1999.
Japan plans to increase its share of nuclear-generated electricity to 40% of the total by the end of the decade.
THE PEOPLE WANT TO MOVE AWAY FROM NUCLEAR ENERGY, SOMETHING THEY FEEL THEY WERE PROMISED 8 YEARS AGO.
FROM THE ASAHI SHIMBUN,
August 14, 2017...
FALSE PLEDGE TO LOWER DEPENDENCY ON NUCLEAR POWER
"The current Strategic Energy Plan, which was approved by the Cabinet in 2014, contains one deceptive aspect.
In response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011, the plan included a passage saying that, “Japan will minimize its dependency on nuclear power,” but it also defined atomic energy as an “important base-load power source.”
Nuclear energy is falling out of favor with the times both in Japan and abroad following the Fukushima disaster.
For example, the public has grown more skeptical about the use of nuclear power, and the costs of implementing required safety measures have soared.
The question of how to dispose of radioactive waste from nuclear power reactors remains unlikely to be solved any time soon in most of the countries that have such reactors, including Japan.
Efforts are spreading, mostly in advanced nations, for seeking to scrap all, or a considerable part, of a national fleet of nuclear reactors.
The forthcoming edition of Japan’s Strategic Energy Plan should no longer define atomic energy as a mainstay source of power. Minimizing dependency on nuclear power should be designated a priority issue instead of being left as a hollow promise."
LEST WE FORGET, IT WAS AN EARTHQUAKE FOLLOWED BY A TSUNAMI THAT LED TO THE FUKUSHIMA ONGOING DISASTER.
The United States Geological Survey predicts that 500,000 earthquakes happen every year.
It is estimated by the World Nuclear Association that 20% of the world's nuclear reactors are operating in "areas of significant seismic activity" - earthquake danger zones.
Among plants built before 1973, fully HALF did not make it to 40 years, or much beyond that, before closing down. Some of these shutdowns were for economic reasons, but in most cases the plants simply wore out, broken down, or never functioned properly.
This record of failure can be viewed in a plant closure chart.
The most common point of failure occurs in the steam generators. Nuclear steam generators are composed of thousands of small tubes that corrode and crack, leading to radioactive water leaks into the secondary cooling system and the environment. Some plants have had their steam generators replaced at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, while many others simply closed in the face of the expense.
NOT ONE nuclear plant in the world has made it to 50 years of operation, let alone the 60 years that NRC claims they are capable of.
THEY ARE ALL TICKING TIME BOMBS AND WE ARE ALL BEING EXPOSED TO THEIR INTENTIONAL AND ACCIDENTAL LEAKS AND SPILLS EVERY DAY WE LIVE.
THE AP UNCOVERED THE TRUTH
In 2011 the Associated Press completed a year-long investigation into the nuclear power industry in the United States, with some disturbing results.
Federal regulators have been working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nation’s aging reactors operating within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards, or simply failing to enforce them, an investigation by The Associated Press has found.
Time after time, officials at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have decided that original regulations were too strict, arguing that safety margins could be eased without peril, according to records and interviews.
Rising fears that these accommodations by the NRC are significantly undermining safety — and inching the reactors closer to an accident that could harm the public and jeopardize the future of nuclear power in the United States.
COLLUSION, THE NRC SHIRKS ITS RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT HUMAN BEINGS AND INSTEAD ALLOWS BIG NUKE TO BEND OR BREAK ALL THE RULES.
IT'S EVEN WORSE IN JAPAN.
Examples abound. When valves leaked, more leakage was allowed — up to 20 times the original limit. When rampant cracking caused radioactive leaks from steam generator tubing, an easier test of the tubes was devised, so plants could meet standards.
Failed cables. Busted seals. Broken nozzles, clogged screens, cracked concrete, dented containers, corroded metals and rusty underground pipes — all of these and thousands of other problems linked to aging were uncovered in the AP’s yearlong investigation. And all of them could escalate dangers in the event of an accident.
Yet despite the many problems linked to aging, not a single official body in government or industry has studied the overall frequency and potential impact on safety of such breakdowns in recent years, even as the NRC has extended the licenses of dozens of reactors.
Industry and government officials defend their actions, and insist that no chances are being taken. But the AP investigation found that with billions of dollars and 19 percent of America’s electricity supply at stake, a cozy relationship prevails between the industry and its regulator, the NRC.
Records show a recurring pattern: Reactor parts or systems fall out of compliance with the rules. Studies are conducted by the industry and government, and all agree that existing standards are “unnecessarily conservative.”
Regulations are loosened, and the reactors are back in compliance.
“That’s what they say for everything, whether that’s the case or not,” said Demetrios Basdekas, an engineer retired from the NRC. “Every time you turn around, they say `We have all this built-in conservatism.“’
The ongoing crisis at the stricken, decades-old Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility in Japan has focused attention on the safety of plants elsewhere in the world; it prompted the NRC to look at U.S. reactors, and a report is due in July.
But the factor of aging goes far beyond the issues posed by the disaster at Fukushima.
Commercial nuclear reactors in the United States were designed and licensed for 40 years. When the first ones were being built in the 1960s and 1970s, it was expected that they would be replaced with improved models long before those licenses expired.
But that never happened.
The 1979 accident at Three Mile Island, massive cost overruns, crushing debt and high interest rates ended new construction proposals for several decades.
Instead, 66 of the 104 operating units have been relicensed for 20 more years, mostly with scant public attention. Renewal applications are under review for 16 other reactors.
By the standards in place when they were built, these reactors are old and getting older. As of today, 82 reactors are more than 25 years old.
The AP found proof that aging reactors have been allowed to run less safely to prolong operations. As equipment has approached or violated safety limits, regulators and reactor operators have loosened or bent the rules.
Unprompted, several nuclear engineers and former regulators used nearly identical terminology to describe how industry and government research has frequently justified loosening safety standards to keep aging reactors within operating rules. They call the approach “sharpening the pencil” or “pencil engineering” — the fudging of calculations and assumptions to yield answers that enable plants with deteriorating conditions to remain in compliance.
“Many utilities are doing that sort of thing,” said engineer Richard T. Lahey Jr., who used to design nuclear safety systems for General Electric Co., which makes boiling water reactors. “I think we need nuclear power, but we can’t compromise on safety. I think the vulnerability is on these older plants.”
Added Paul Blanch, an engineer who left the industry over safety issues but later returned to work on solving them: “It’s a philosophical position that (federal regulators) take that’s driven by the industry and by the economics: What do we need to do to let those plants continue to operate? They somehow sharpen their pencil to either modify their interpretation of the regulations, or they modify their assumptions in the risk assessment.”
TIME CRUMBLES THINGS
In a 2009 letter, Mario V. Bonaca, then-chairman of the NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, warned that this approach represents “a decrease in the safety margin” and makes a fuel-melting accident more likely.
At Fukushima, hydrogen explosions blew apart two of six containment buildings, allowing radiation to escape from overheated fuel in storage pools.
CONCERNS OF LONG STANDING
Even as they reassured the public, regulators have been worrying about aging reactors since at least the 1980s, when the first ones were entering only their second decade of operation. A 1984 report for the NRC blamed wear, corrosion, crud and fatigue for more than a third of 3,098 failures of parts or systems within the first 12 years of industry operations; the authors believed the number was actually much higher.
A decade later, in 1994, the NRC reported to Congress that the critical shrouds lining reactor cores were cracked at a minimum of 11 units, including five with extensive damage. The NRC ordered more aggressive maintenance, but an agency report last year said cracking of internal core components — spurred by radiation — remains “a major concern” in boiling water reactors.
A 1995 study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory covering a seven-year period found that aging contributed to 19 percent of scenarios that could have ended in severe accidents.
In 2001, the Union of Concerned Scientists, which does not oppose nuclear power, told Congress that aging problems had shut reactors eight times within 13 months.
HIDING THE TRUTH FROM THE PUBLIC
In a 1993 report labeled “official use only,” an NRC staffer warned that electrical parts throughout plants were subject to dangerous age-related breakdowns unforeseen by the agency. Almost a fifth of cables failed in testing that simulated the effects of 40 years of wear. The report warned that as a result, reactor core damage could occur much more often than expected.
Fifteen years later, the problem appeared to have worsened. An NRC report warned in 2008 that rising numbers of electrical cables are failing with age, prompting temporary shutdowns and degrading safety. Agency staff tallied 269 known failures over the life of the industry.
Two industry-funded reports obtained by the AP said that managers and regulators have worried increasingly about the reliability of sometimes wet, hard-to-reach underground cables over the past five-to-10 years. One of the reports last year acknowledged many electrical-related aging failures at plants around the country.
“Multiple cable circuits may fail when called on to perform functions affecting safety,” the report warned.
EATEN AWAY FROM WITHIN
Few aging problems have been more challenging than chemical corrosion from within.
In one of the industry’s worst accidents, a corroded pipe burst at Virginia’s Surry 2 reactor in 1986 and showered workers with scalding steam, killing four.
In summer 2001, the NRC was confronted with a new problem: Corrosive chemicals were cracking nozzles on reactors. But the NRC let operators delay inspections to coincide with scheduled outages. Inspection finally took place in February 2002 at the Davis-Besse unit in Ohio.
What workers found shocked the industry.
They discovered extensive cracking and a place where acidic boron had spurted from the reactor and eaten a gouge as big as a football. When the problem was found, just a fraction of an inch of inner lining remained. An NRC analysis determined that the vessel head could have burst within two months — what former NRC Commissioner Peter Bradford has called a “near rupture” which could have released large amounts of radiation into the environment.
In 2001-3 alone, at least 10 plants developed these cracks, according to an NRC analysis.
THAT WAS OVER 15 YEARS AGO.
HOW MANY ARE FAILING SINCE THEN?
HOW MANY MORE FUKUSHIMAS WILL IT TAKE FOR ALL THE WORLD TO WAKE UP TO THE HARSH REALITY OF NUCLEAR ENERGY?
IT HAS ALWAYS KILLED AND IT ALWAYS WILL.
Posted by Waninahi at 3:12 AM