Some people, including members of our Congress will refuse to believe anything unless you can give them absolute proof of your accusations...problem is, a whole lot of the documents one could use to prove their case have quietly been being removed from the Internet under the guise of National Security. After all, some things (money and the nuclear industry) are more important than our civil rights, and surely we all trust those at the top to do what is best for the masses right? We all know that the nuclear industry (Entergy, NuStart) and our government (George Bush) have our best interests at heart.
The Green Nuclear Butterfly has alleged in previous posts that the fix is in, that the powers that be have devised a plan where by A) every nuclear reactor will be, must be re licensed, and B) Nuclear will be presented to the American public as the one and only safe, green alternative to our unfettered and unchecked consumption of fossil fuels. In short, we the people in the greatest democracy in the world shall not be given a voice or a real choice in the matter of giving nuclear a rebirth, a second chance to continue their crimes against humanity.
Problem is, the nuclear industry, the NRC and DOE, even our elected officials have left too many footprints that tell the story, prove the allegations...where is a good attorney when you need one to file a RICO case? Can hear some of my readers now as they guffaw, write me off as a far left lunatic ANTI NUKE maniac...am I? Let's start exposing the truth, let's take the lid off that proverbial can of worms that is the ugly truth of the nuclear industry, the ugly truth of collusion between said industry, the DOE, NRC and our government. We'll start with one excerpt from one document, a document prepared jointly by these various groups as a team, a document that lays out the vision of the Nuclear Power 2010 plan, the document that spells out the need to keep EVERY SINGLE REACTOR up and running for as long as possible to protect Nuclear's market share at 1998 levels.
Though some in the nuclear industry will not like the comparison, a nuclear reactor is basically a very large boiler on steroids. This is an important analogy, one that many people can relate to. As boilers get older, as they age and begin the process of breaking down, they require more and more repairs. At first, it's just a valve, a gauge, and then bigger repairs such as pumps, and even the boiler itself. The boilers themselves begin developing cracks, start becoming brittle, and a host of welders have kept many of these boilers limping along for years past their useful life cycle. A plate is welded on to cover a crack here, or a fissure there, and a once beautiful streamline cylinder starts resembling something else, is now a montage of steel pieced together like your grandmother's guilt handed down to daughter and then to you.
With this analogy firmly planted in your minds, lets examine a steam boiler, the three basic issues that could lead to a failure of said boiler, even and EXPLOSION.
1. Those resulting from over-exposure...there's an interesting choice of words. You see, the long and the short of boilers, is that they have a limited life span, as the chemical changes, the shrinkage and expansion that akes place within the boiler under tremendous pressure cause chemical changes to occur at the sub atomic and molecular level that change the boiler itself, begin a brittling and crazing of the material so that what was built becomes something else.
2. Those caused by a weakening of the structure itself. So, the boiler industry itself admits to boilers weakening over a period of time. Yet, the nuclear industry and the NRC would have us believe no such degradation of the structural strength and stability occurs in a nuclear reactor which in its simplest terms is a very large boiler.
3. Damages that occur from incorrect use of the combustibles needed to fire the boiler...in short, HUMAN ERROR. It's interesting, if you look at the NRC's regulations, they have adopted policies and rules that always give humans credit for reacting PERFECTLY to each and every single problem they might face during a nuclear incident...is that really realistic? Is the NRC protecting human health and safety or their licensees with that kind of a approach to their modeling of scenerios inside a reactor facility?
Now, lets CRANK IT UP A NOTCH (as TV chef Emeril Lagasse would say) and explore what is a worst case scenerio with a boiler...a STEAM EXPLOSION...and yes, these do and have happened. Rather than bore you with my own words on this type of event, let's simply cut and paste from WIKIPEDIA a very interesting paragraph that spells out the event very well.
Steam explosion (also called a littoral explosion, or fuel-coolant interaction, FCI) is a violent boiling or flashing of water into steam, occurring when water is either superheated, or rapidly heated by fine hot debris produced within it. Pressure vessels that operate at above atmospheric pressure can also provide the proper conditions for a steam explosion. The water changes from a liquid to a gas with extreme speed, increasing dramatically in volume. A steam explosion sprays steam and boiling-hot water and the hot medium that heated it in all directions (if not otherwise confined, e.g. by the walls of a container), creating a danger of scalding and burning. Steam explosions are not normally chemical explosions, although a number of substances will react chemically with steam (for example, zirconium reacts with steam to give off hydrogen, which burns violently in air) so that chemical explosions and fires often follow. Some steam explosions appear to be special kinds of Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion, and rely on release of stored superheat. But many large-scale events (eg 'Foundry Accidents') show evidence of an energy-release front propagating through the material (see description of FCI below), where the forces created fragment and mix the hot phase into the cold volatile one; the rapid heat transfer at the front sustains the propagation.
Not sure how many of my readers remember Paul Harvey, but as he was always found of saying, "and now for the rest of the story."
The nuclear industry will want to deny this comparison of mine. The NRC will deny the comparisons, and paint me out as an anti nuclear zealot. They will assure you that my hyposthesis is BUNK, not at all based in science, and that Nuclear Reactors are safe, secure and vital. Well, this old farm boy has always relied on commonsense and is not one to level charges willy nilly...one needs proof, has to have if you will the proverbial smoking gun for the analogy to make any sense. Realizing this, this blogger wanted something that the public would believe, take SERIOUSLY...a tall order one would think.
What if a document prepared by the GREATEST MINDS in the nuclear industry basically admitted to this analogy, in writing stated that nuclear reactors went through the same problems of aging that boilers go through, admitted that a once shining perfect cyclinder was becoming a montage of welded together pieces just like grandmother's quilt? What if such a document had been prepared and signed off on by not only the greatest of minds, but by such revered organizations as MIT, DOE, NRC, even the Idaho National Laboratory? Would that get the public's attention, get them to realize we as a nation need to carefully re examine the nuclear industry efforts to believe nuclear is GREEN, and deserves a second chance?
Such a document exists, it is available in PLAIN SIGHT for those willing to take the time to search it out...it is just one of many documents this blogger has been gathering together, and sending out to others in the ANTI NUKE grassroots who are trying to close down aging, dangerous reactors in their communities across America. For purposes of this article, one small section of this document is shared, a few paragraphs that show my analogy is frighteningly RIGHT ON TARGET, that these nuclear reactors are reaching, have reached a point where their life spans are being dangerously extended through a series of ongoing repairs, through the use of a NEVER ENDING patchwork of new welds and patches as the nuclear industry tries to keep their CASH COW ON LIFE SUPPORT.
THE SMOKING GUN COPIED DIRECTLY FROM A GOVERNMENT/INDUSTRY DOCUMENT
WELDING AND JOINING
Reliable welding and joining procedures are necessary for joining metals, ceramics, and dissimilar materials in general. This need pertains both to the construction of future reactor systems and for the on-line repair or refurbishment of aging existing ones.
Particular concerns include the welding repair of irradiated steels and corrosion resistant alloys, development of crack resistant filler metals for nickel based alloys and reliable joining of ceramic composites. Advancing new welding processes and developing new welding procedures can help prevent expensive power outages attributed to weld-related problems. Some of the recent areas for welding research in the nuclear power industry were highlighted in the EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) Journal . The following paragraphs are largely based on quotations from this article.
Weld failures are unavoidable and are a common cause of down time in fossil and nuclear energy plants. Day in and day out, metal parts are exposed to cycles of extreme temperatures and pressures, radiation, corrosion, and other factors that take their toll in the form of cracks, splits, ruptures, embrittlement, and pitting. As the U. S. power industry nurses its aging facilities where more than half of its nuclear plants are over 15 years old, welding is going to become an even hotter topic. Better welds can extend the lifetime of older components by decades and can save the industry billions of dollars. (Interesting that they are more concerned about saving the nuclear industry money than they are about safety.) A good weld extends plant life, enhances safety and reliability, and cuts down on operation and maintenance costs. These benefits are especially important in nuclear plants, where a day of forced outage costs $300,000 to $750,000.
New welding technologies such as laser welding, underwater welding and temperbead repair welding make possible the ability to weld parts on-site, and sometimes in-situ, which greatly reduce the cost of weld repairs. In today's competitive business environment, in which it may be cheaper to maintain an old plant than build a new one, welding is a crucial aspect of plant management. It represents 10% of new construction costs and 20% of maintenance costs. In some cases welding may provide the only economically viable approach for avoiding a permanent plant shutdown.