The sensational statements in a recent Washington Post article are fully addressed in a recent Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) paper on the seismic safety of nuclear power facilities.
As described in NEI’s information,
Like many scientific and engineering issues that span decades, there is new information emerging about earthquakes, particularly in the central and eastern regions of the United States. The industry and the independent U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission are evaluating this data and this fall will discuss steps that may be taken to update seismic criteria …
“… these increased estimates of seismic hazards would primarily have little impact on previous estimates of the potential damage to buildings and equipment.” This is because the safety margins built into nuclear energy facilities are expected to protect them against earthquakes that are stronger than the design basis for the plant.
Read the detailed content, including seismic safety information about the North Anna facility.
Or as Scott Peterson, senior vice president at the Nuclear Energy Institute, put it:
“Nuclear energy facilities in the path of Hurricane Irene have responded well and responded safely to this storm…Every facility was ready to take any steps necessary to maintain safety, thanks to careful planning and deliberate storm preparations several days in advance of the storm.
Highly trained operators and emergency response personnel were stationed at the plants throughout the weekend and were prepared to take actions beyond their usual duties to protect the power plants and communities that surround them. In the aftermath of the storm, operators are undertaking complete inspections of nuclear energy facilities to ensure that systems and equipment were not affected by the storm and that the plant’s condition is safe.”
We really like this video tour of the North Anna plant and the visual means of explaining to the CNN viewers (and Internet video viewers) how the North Anna plant’s back up generators, and safety systems performed during and after the Virginia 5.9 quake this week.
Safety upgrades and and the attention to multiple redundant back up systems made over the last 30 years can be hard to get across to users in non-abstract ways, and we think this video does a really good job. Do share it around.
By Danielle Decatur, MBA Candidate Thunderbird School of Global Management
Danielle Decatur (left), MBA Candidate Thunderbird School of Global Management
As an MBA candidate at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, it was my goal to land a summer internship in sustainability. So imagine my excitement when I found myself at AREVA, Inc. as the sustainable development and continuous improvement intern.
I recently had the opportunity to tour the Salem Hope Creek Nuclear Plant in New Jersey, hosted by PSEG, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) (http://nei.org/), and the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment. My summer employment has allowed me to become familiar with key issues that frame nuclear and renewable energy – safety, stakeholder engagement, energy demand, and [the artist formerly known as] climate change (i.e. greenhouse gas emissions), to name a few. During my visit to the plant I was able to experience these issues first-hand and gain a renewed interest in the energy challenges the United States and the world face today. read more…
Multiple strengthening grids integral to EPR reactor construction.
Being defined by one’s actions instead of just words can be a daunting reality, but modern nuclear reactor facilities and designs unabashedly confirm the U.S. nuclear industry’s commitment and culture focused on safety.
This commitment created an astounding statistic: From the day President Eisenhower commissioned the first reactor to the present day, the ongoing commercial operations of U.S. nuclear reactors have caused zero (0) deaths in the workforce and general public. And modern reactors are designed to maintain that safety commitment with advanced technology and techniques.
For example, AREVA’s 1,600+ megawatt U.S. EPR™ reactor design completing review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) represents additional advancements in secure, robust construction and multi-layer preventive and reactive safety systems. Here are the details divided out by the numbers … read more…
Nuclear power expansion in Florida is still under fire, despite the growing need for cleanly generated electricity. At issue is how much Florida power consumers spend now to cover planning costs for building or expanding nuclear power plants.
While the Florida Public Service Commission needs to keep those fees from causing economic hardship for homeowners or large industrial users, the state also needs to promote planning for the future of electricity generation…
The PSC will decide in the next few weeks how much Florida Power and Light and Progress Energy Florida will charge customers in 2012 for reactors that have yet to be built and plants that need to be upgraded….
Large industrial users of electricity and nuke opponents are suggesting the plants will never be built. Construction costs are rising, technology is changing for the better and public sentiment is turning in wake of the nuclear disaster earlier this year in Japan, they say.
If the reactors are unlikely to be built, why charge consumers for them?…
Opponents of nuclear power suggest new technology, conservation and alternative energy will help ease demand in the future….
That is far too hopeful. Right now, coal accounts for about 25 percent of Florida’s electricity. To reduce that usage to something that causes fewer or zero carbon emissions, the state will have to turn to natural gas and nuclear power….
On the green front, the state should encourage wind and solar options, but those methods do not generate anything close to what Florida needs from major sources of electricity.
It’s not unusual for states to look far ahead when planning for nuclear power plants. The plants are costly, they need to have the most up-to-date technology and reactors, and they have to get through mountains of red tape. But once running, nuclear power plants efficiently provide millions of watts of power…
Florida must be prepared to deal with the growing demand for power. The state shouldn’t become too reliant on any one energy source — especially coal. Nuclear plants should be part of the mix.
As the Obama Administration looks to help jumpstart job creation across the United States, it should look no farther than the nuclear energy sector. Nuclear energy already plays an important role in the U.S. economy, producing 20 percent of the nation’s electricity and employing some 120,000 hardworking Americans. Yet investment in new nuclear facilities will create many additional jobs during both the construction and operation phases. read more…
While many countries are still developing strategies for increasing their low-carbon electricity generation, France is moving forward with a significant new nuclear project that will help the nation maintain its status as having one of the lowest emissions per capita of any industrialized nation.
The Flamanville 3 nuclear power plant, under construction in the Normandy region of France, is part of the solution for meeting the nation’s growing demand for low-carbon energy. This reactor is AREVA’s EPR™ design and is the second in this series of advanced design.
EDF, the plant’s operator, announced a schedule revision today, as well as a new approach to organization. The modification of the timeline also includes “comprehensive analyses carried out as part of the post-Fukushima safety assessment audits (that) will be submitted to the Nuclear Safety Authority in September,” according to an EDF statement.
AREVA is working closely with EDF to optimize the EPR™ reactor based on feedback provided by the first construction projects. We are already applying this experience to improve the two EPR™ reactor construction projects in China.
“The success of the Flamanville EPR is a major challenge for the industrial expertise of the nuclear industry. We will continue to work together on the feedback from the first EPR sites in order to learn from it for the benefit of future construction projects around the world,” said Hervé Machenaud EDF’s Group Senior Executive in charge of Production and Engineering and Claude Jaouen, Senior Executive Vice President of AREVA’s Reactors and Services Business Group.
For more information on the Flamanville 3 project and AREVA’s scope, click here.
While other countries ponder their low-carbon energy dilemmas, you can take a closer look at the construction of an EPR™ reactor and see what is to come at Flamanville 3. Check out the video here of the Olkiluoto 3 EPR™ reactor construction project in Finland where AREVA has already installed the four steam generators.