[ RadSafe ] Article: Nuclear Power's Missing Fuel
hacrad at comcast.net
Thu Jul 6 10:51:12 CDT 2006
>From a posting by John Jacobus:
>From a coworker. As noted, "The real obstacle isn't
the Sierra Club but the 28-year-old analysts on Wall Street," . . .
Nuclear Power's Missing Fuel
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The use of standardized designs for nuclear power plants can help but the
first plant (and the second and third) to be built in the U.S. will face
major issues and any cost savings to be recognized will not really be seen
unless the manufacture and utilities really settle on a standard design.
This being the issue, I am pessimistic. My viewpoint is as follows:
1. From a regulatory issues viewpoint, each standard design must meet a
document call the ITAAC (Inspections, Tests, and Analysis Criteria). This
rather long and specific document contains the rules by which the NRC will
judge the final construction design and the construction. Having never been
used, the ITAAC is subject to interpretation, miss interpretation, and
conflicting parts, and all the vaguerties of regulatory type documents which
have never been used. These documents were written by the designer and
approved by the NRC (and I can guarantee that they both did the best job
they could) and I can only hope the first utility through the hoop has
persistence and a good sense of judgment.
2. The standardized designs may be partial (nuclear island only) or
consist of the nuclear island, turbine complex, radwaste, and auxiliary
systems such as hot machine shop. In any case, the real problem is that
there are three main players, excluding the NRC: the nuclear island
designer, the architect-engineer (AE), and the utility. No matter how
standard the nuclear island design, the AE is going to do things his way and
so is the utility. This means that major components such as turbine design
and radwaste design will always be on the drawing boards. The article John
posted referred to two BWR plants already operating in Japan. In addition
two of the same design are being finished in Taiwan, except the turbine
islands are really different as are minor issues such as the clean up
systems, control rooms, HVAC, and a few others.
3. Finally, no design is really finished. With each construction,
issues are found which can either improve the design, reduce costs, or
increase occupational safety. That is the one fortunate point about
standardized designs, you hopefully get smarter with each widget you build
(but you have to build them), but only if you have the courage and
willingness to make the changes and take the regulatory hits.
Very Glad I am no longer in the business.
San Jose, CA
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