Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Once again looking at the seismic safety of Canada's nuclear stations


The question of seismic safety for nuclear plants has arisen in New Brunswick.  There, they seem to have people dedicated to killing themselves over the issue.

In Ontario, it's a different story.  Nobody cares and nobody is willing to kill themselves, especially me.  If some eager starving young reporter tries to raise the issue, they are met with the stony silence of the PR departments, who issue a statement that everything is fine.

The truth is that seismic analysis hasn't changed for 40 years, and they 'lie' about the geology, where I define that term as 'wilful ignorance' or Clintonian Semantics.  Something like the VW scandal where they want to witch-hunt young engineers, as if they had any incentive to do it.

The geology is 10 times worse than anything they've bothered with.  On the other hand, if use PGV rather than PGA, you find that the heavy equipment is regularly exposed to levels beyond anything an earthquake can produce.  That leaves light components and they are in bad shape.  I once wrote a scenario for an M7ish earthquake in Lake Ontario, where they regularly occur on a 1000 year cycle.  It isn't pretty.

Pickering will probably release with a near 6, which might be about the same odds.  I was raised to get those odds down to 1 in 10 million, but everybody is happy with 1 in 500, the same as an M9 hitting Japan.

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