Thursday, September 1, 2011

US Nuclear plants ready to go


Let's assume the North Anna plant was hit with 10 cm/s from an M5.8.  That's really a small earthquake for disaster planning, and the zone looks like it can generate far greater, easily a Charleston M7 or thereabouts.

At 10 cm/s I believe a Mark 1 reactor (Oyster Creek) would have lost a few significant nozzles and be in a Japanese state.  But this reactor is an old Westinghouse design, which can probably take 30 cm/s.  But what about the diesel generators?  They are always located on a crap foundation, much like the waste casks, which shifted 11 cm, but the diesels are usually anchored.  I've never seen a nuclear diesel farm that can take 30 cm/s, mainly because of the rotten tanks, and el-cheapo block walls.  I think the ground motion was very close to that on the diesel pad, and a close examination should show that the anchors pulled.

Thus, we must ask ourselves 2 questions:

What would have happened to a Mark 1 at this location?

How close was this to a disaster?  -diesels shifting.

Because there were no instruments, we will never know, but I never let willful ignorance stop me!  I'd say we'd be into a first class nuclear emergency if this had been an M6.5.  The containment would hold, and lightly contaminate things.  Had this been a Mark 1, an M6.5 would have blown it out of the water....

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