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Archive for the ‘nuclear accident’ Category

Fort Calhoun NPP Surrounded by Floodwaters, as Berm Collapses

Posted by feww on June 27, 2011

Fort Calhoun NPP containment buildings and electrical transformers surrounded by 70cm of water, as temporary flood berm collapses

The breach in the  inflatable berm protecting the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant occurred at about 1:30 am (1:25am) local time Sunday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said.

An aerial view of Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant taken on June 16, 2011 showing the extent of flooding at the station. Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineer

Reactor shutdown cooling and spent-fuel pool cooling were unaffected, the NRC said.

The plant, operated by the Omaha Public Power District, has been off line since April for refueling.

Emergency diesel generators were activated after the breach, but normal electrical power supply was restored by Sunday afternoon, the agency said.

Containment buildings at the Fort Calhoun plant are watertight, and the reactor cooling system and spent-fuel pool cooling ponds were unaffected, NRC added.

The 2.7m (8 foot) high, 600m long inflatable flood berm surrounding the plant collapsed after being punctured by heavy equipment.

Fort Calhoun, which is about 30 km (19 miles) north of Omaha, was shut down for refueling on April 7 and has not since been restarted. It remains under the Unusual Event declared on June 6.

The 480-megawatt plant which is located north of Omaha shut down about 10 weeks ago to refuel, but has remained shut since due to flooding, according to Omaha Public Power District (OPPD).

The Fort Calhoun NPP has a single CE pressurized water reactor generating about 480 megawatts of electricity, the smallest commercial power reactor in North America.

OPPD is “a customer-owned utility,” which provides electricity to about 346,000 customers in all or parts of 13 counties in east and southeast Nebraska.

Flooding along the Missouri River to continue until mid-August

Water release from the reservoirs and dams along the Missouri River is expected to continue until at least mid-August, resulting “in near-record flooding along portions of the Missouri River.”

Probability of a Nuclear Disaster by Country

The following probability figures are calculated by FIRE-EARTH on April 8, 2011

  • Japan (880)³
  • United States (865)
  • France (855)
  • Taiwan (850)
  • Belgium, China, Finland, India,  South Korea, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Russia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Armenia, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania,  Hungary, Bulgaria, Spain,  Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico,  South Africa, Canada (810)
  • Germany, Sweden, Netherlands (800)
  • Switzerland  (750)


  1. The list represents a snapshot of events at the time of calculating the probabilities. Any forecast posted  here is subject to numerous variable factors.
  2. Figures in the bracket represent the probability of an incident occurring out of 1,000; the forecast duration is valid for the next 50  months.
  3. Probability includes a significant worsening of Fukushima nuclear disaster, and future quakes forecast for Japan.
  4. A nuclear incident is defined as a level 5 (Accident With Wider Consequences), or worse, on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). See below.
  5. Safety issues considered in compiling these lists include the age, number of units and capacity of nuclear reactors in each country/state, previous incidents, probability of damage from human-enhanced natural disasters, e.g., earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic activity, hurricanes, tornadoes, storms, wildfires, flooding… ]
  6. The  Blog’s knowledge concerning the extent to which the factors described in (3) might worsen during the forecast period greatly influences the forecast.

(UPDATED: June 26, 2011)

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Tornado Damage Forces Virginia Nuclear Plant Shutdown

Posted by feww on April 20, 2011

Tornado-damaged Surry Nuclear Power Plant Forced to Shut Down

A weekend tornado reportedly damaged the switchyard at Dominion’s Surry Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) forcing both aging reactor units to shut down.

The power station is located near James River in SE Virginia across from Jamestown, and upriver from Smithfield and Newport News.

The NPP is operated by Dominion Generation and owned by Dominion Resources, Inc. The damage disabled the power to the plant’s cooling pumps and forced the  two aging units (commissioned in 1972 and 73) to shut down.

The plant has a total nameplate capacity of about 1,600MW.

On December 9, 1986 four technicians were killed when a steam explosion destroyed parts of a “non-nuclear” section in the plant’s Reactor 2 building.

U.S. Map of Nuclear Power Plants. Approximate locations of the 3 NPPs cited in this report are marked by FIRE-EARTH. Click map to enlarge.

Crystal River nuclear power plant in Florida

“Earlier this month, new containment wall damage was discovered at Progress Energy’s 838-MW Crystal River nuclear plant in Florida, extending the unit’s 18-month outage indefinitely.” The report said.

Commissioned in 1977,  the 914 megawatts pressurized water reactor is  located in Crystal River, Florida.

Brunswick NPP, Southport, NC

Progress Energy has also shut down its 920-MW Brunswick 2 nuclear reactor (commissioned in 1975) in North Carolina yesterday, as  it was returning from a refueling outage, the report said.

This post will be updated with additional information added, throughout the day.

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Chernobyl: The Day After

Posted by feww on April 27, 2010

Chernobyl Happened Yesterday!

City of Chernobyl had managed to live for 793 years…

Reactor number 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded on April 26, 1986 at about 1:00am local time.  The explosion killed at least  four plant employees instantly.

By the time  residents of Pripyat, a town located near the plant, were ordered to evacuate, about two days after the Chernobyl core meltdown had occurred, many had already been exposed to varying doses of radiation poisoning.


Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant underwent a core meltdown [center] in 1986 with disastrous consequences. This image was taken by authorities in the former Soviet Union

The Incident: A meltdown of the reactor’s core in the Chernobyl power plant killed thirty people in 1986. About 135,000 people were evacuated. It is believed that about one hundred times more radiation was released in the accident than by the atom bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Legacy: More than 4000 cases of thyroid cancer were diagnosed among children and adolescents between 1992 to 2002 in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Victims under 14 years were most severely affected by the elevated concentrations of radioiodine found in milk.

Incidents of skin lesions, respiratory ailments, infertility and birth defects were readily found among the more than five million people who inhabit the affected areas of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine for many years following the accident.

Disputed Facts: The above facts, however, have been disputed by a number of individuals including the author of a recent WHO report, and the retired “nukophile” British academic, James Lovelack. Local and international experts, however, have dismissed the WHO report findings. A UN report released in 2005 estimated the number of victims at just 4,000. Their figure is hotly disputed  by NGOs and independent experts.

“A report by Alexey Yablokov, Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko which appeared in the Annals of the New York Academy of Science showed that by 2004, there were 985,000 additional deaths worldwide caused by the nuclear disaster, including 212,000 of them within Western Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.”

The Poisoned land. Up to 5 million people continue to live on radioactive contaminated land. About 85% of the children who live in contaminated areas of Belarus today are ill, a near 6-fold increase compared to the time before the explosion (15%), according to The Belarusian National Academy of Sciences.

Chernobyl and Other Nuclear Stats

  • More than 95% of the radioactive material (180 metric tons with a radioactivity of about 18 million curies) still remains inside the Chernobyl reactor.
  • Immediately after the accident, 237 people suffered from acute radiation sickness, and 31 died within the first 90 days of the disaster.
  • About 135,000 people were evacuated from the area surrounding the plant, including 50,000 from the town of Pripyat.
  • The Academy’s  estimate for the number of casualties  are more than 90,000 deaths and more than a quarter of a million cancer cases.
  • The Ukrainian National Commission for Radiation Protection calculates the number of radiation casualties at half a million  deaths so far.
  • Some 436 commercial nuclear power reactors are  operating in 30 countries ( total capacity of 372,000 MWe) each of which is potentially as dangerous as Chernobyl, if not worse.
  • An estimated 56 countries operate more than 250 research reactors.
  • At least 220 nuclear reactors power military ships and submarines.

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Serial No 1,632. Starting April 2010, each entry on this blog has a unique serial number. If any of the numbers are missing, it may mean that the corresponding entry has been blocked by Google/the authorities in your country. Please drop us a line if you detect any anomaly/missing number(s).

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