[ RadSafe ] Re-starting San Onofre
victor.anderson at frontier.com
Tue Mar 19 09:26:41 CDT 2013
Visited the man's web site. As with most anti-nuke stuff, it sounds good
until you get into the details. In the case of Mr. Large, he wants you to
pay money for many of his products.
But onward to restarting San Onofore. The main issue is those dam steam
generators. Unfortunately, there is little information to be had on just
how badly the steam generators are broke. The problem lies in the number of
and severity of tube leaks. The main problem that the tube leaks cause is
the leakage of primary to secondary coolant. It is a real pain in the ass
to have to have health physics controls for the secondary side of a PWR.
It's also embarrassing. The other issue has to with how badly the tube's
are leaking. At some point, you are generating enough steam by directly
flashing the primary coolant to steam that you have to make up the primary
coolant. Sort of like having a bizarre BWR. This is not good.
Depending on how much radioactivity is in the primary coolant, you may have
some low level releases off site. However, these releases should be very
small. So, the main issues are violations of the plant technical
specifications and costs to run the plant.
How did the operator get in this fix? Now that's a tale the should be very
interesting. My understanding is that the steam generators were replaced
within the past few years. If so, then the cause could be bad chemistry or
faulty tubes or both. If the equipment was not made correctly, the lawyers
are going to be very busy. The chemistry issues can be a little more
subtle. Reactor plant chemistry is very difficult to maintain. With the
big PWR plants Boron in the form of Boric Acid is used to help control
neutrons. Works fine in this role. However, Boric Acid can play hell with
piping and such. Its all a matter of materials and keeping the pH in the
right range along of Oxygen and some other stuff. The materials are
controlled when the plant is built. The water chemistry is controlled
during plant operations (both at power and off line). If the plant
operators did not do a good job of water chemistry, then they are now paying
for their sins. About $300 million worth, if memory serves me correctly.
Which brings me to my pet peeve about the nuclear industry. Nuclear power
is different. The plants are safe. Nuclear power is not just another way
of boiling water. Making electricity or any other form of energy via
nuclear reactors requires an absolute mania for excellence. You cannot run
a nuke plant on "just good enough" and expect to make a profit or break
even. This was a hard lesson that many NPP operators did learn. Having
been away from the industry for about 15 years, I am not sure what the
current state of affairs is. My hope is that is that the American nuclear
industry is still working hard to do an excellent job of running its plants.
Massive failures of steam tub generators does give one pause.
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Steven Dapra
Sent: Monday, March 18, 2013 5:44 PM
To: radsafe at agni.phys.iit.edu
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Re-starting San Onofre
Hirsch I've heard of. Is anyone familiar with John Large, a nuclear
engineer, so the article says, who is a consultant to Friends of the Earth?
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