Atomic Show #147 – Ignalina, South Korea, Puerto Rico and other nuclear topics
John Wheeler, the host of This Week in Nuclear and I got together for a chat about a variety of nuclear topics. We talked about John’s recent trip to the western end of Puerto Rico, where he surfed near the dome of an experimental reactor called BONUS (Boiling Water Superheated). We talked about the effects on Lithuania of shutting down the Ignalina Nuclear Plant, the focused effort of South Korea to turn itself into a nuclear power plant supplier, and the value that USS Vinson is bringing to the humanitarian mission of rescuing as many Haitians as possible.
With 400,000 gallons per day of nuclear powered fresh water making capacity, plus nuclear powered air traffic control systems, plus nuclear powered lights in the hospital rooms, and nuclear powered refrigerated food storage, USS Vinson is showing just how valuable fuel independence can be in a place where there are plenty of other demands on the infrastructure.
You can find the show at The Atomic Show #147 – Ignalina, South Korea, Puerto Rico and other nuclear topics.
Wow, Rod, talk about turning on the Wayback Machine! My father was the AEC site rep for the decommissioning work, so we lived in Aguadilla from 1967-1970, and my dad was at the site during that time. I believe John is correct about the parties in containment. I know there was a great picnic shelter between the dome and the shore where many a pig was roasted. As for surfing, in 1970, my dad watched the World Surfing Championship from his office window! We used to comb the beach there at Punta Higuera for shells and sea glass, and my folks still have many of them in their home.
I really enjoyed this pod cast, Rod. It reminded me of the early atomic shows you used to do with Shane. There must be some special kind of synergy (perhaps a critical mass?) when a couple of nuclear
I love chatting with other atomic geeks and will continue working together with John, Dan Yurman of Idaho Samizdat, Robert, Kelly (when she is available) and any other good candidates that I can find. I am still after Shane to do at least a couple of guest appearances, but he has his reasons for saying no – so far.
I think you might enjoy the next episode of This Week In Nuclear.
There’s a great original (47 years old!) document on BONUS that’s now online, titled “BOILING NUCLEAR SUPERHEATER (BONUS) POWER STATION. Final Summary Design Report”. It has a bunch of illustrations of the plant and the equipment within. Nice high quality scans.
I have a question: was General Nuclear Engineering Corporation affiliated with G.E.? Or was it an independent company? And if so, what happened to it?
Thanks for the link. I could not help but notice that General Nuclear Engineering Corporation was apparently headquartered in my old stomping grounds of the Tampa Bay area. The document lists it as Dunnedin, Florida, a quaint town with a great little main street area where we used to love to have breakfast at a place called Kelly’s.
I think there is a long and not terribly uplifting story about how companies like General Nuclear Engineering and ALCO lost out to the “economy of scale” as embodied by Westinghouse and General Electric. Of course, that all happened either before I was born or before I left elementary school.
I suppose to a certain extent that a degree of consolidation was inevitable in the industry due to the “build bigger” mentality. Smaller engineering firms who were only marginally involved in the industry probably just didn’t have the personnel to crank out the sort of profuse number of variations and evolutions on a theme that B&W, CE, Westinghouse and GE were able to create – the name-brands and reputations that these firms had – or the capacity to manage the sorts of supply chains necessary – or the ability to create unique value that was not available elsewhere. So, they were driven out of the market.
This, of course, excepts GA, whose Peach Bottom plant performed just a wee bit too well and was a tad bit too inexpensive and a little bit too risk free, and, just like the streetcar lines of yesteryear, they found themselves bought, derailed, and sold out by unfair competition before they even knew what was going on.
Rod- You started to say in the podcast that Ignalina didn’t have a positive void coefficient, or perhaps didn’t have as high of a coefficient as Chernobyl. How was this done? I have difficulty in believing that a graphite moderated and water cooled reactor would have anything other than a strongly positive void coefficient, but would appreciate any information you may have on this.
Here are some of the changes made to reduce the void coefficient – which is only one component of the overall temperature coefficient of reactivity:
From the World Nuclear Association information paper on RBMK reactors:
“Measures to reduce the void coefficient of reactivity were carried out by:
– The installation of 80-90 additional fixed absorbers in the core to inhibit operation at low power.
– Increasing the ORM from 26-30 rods (in steady state operational mode) to 43-48.
– An increase in fuel enrichment from 2% to 2.4%.
The increase in the number of fixed absorbers and the ORM reduced the value of the void coefficient of reactivity to +
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