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23 Comments

  1. Mr. Adams: I was tested by Eberline for radioactive contamination. The report reads: Americium 241; Various Plutoniums; and Various Uranium including U233.

    No doctors I have contacted so far seem to understand the health consequences of these exposures, and the lease of my medical problems is a brain tumor.

    Do you have any suggestions as to where I can get testing, treatment, and documentation of exposures?

    Your help sure would be appreciated by me.

    Regards, John Harvey

    1. Hi John. I’m not an M.D., but several suggestions. First, Mark Miller at S.A.R.I. is a radiation physicist who probably can refer you to qualified M.D.s.

      Second, don’t panic. You didn’t mention your exposure mechanism or what other heavy metals you were exposed to, many of which are also toxic by processes completely unrelated to radiation. And that’s okay, this isn’t a medical site and it isn’t our business. Your tumor may or may not be related to radiation or heavy metals, and if heavy metals, possibly by ones other than those you’ve mentioned. Although heavy metals of all types can be removed from your system by chelation therapy, not everyone who claims to be able is actually qualified to do so. Don’t rush into it. There are many subtleties, so do get good references from people such as Mark.

      My experience is many toxicologists do not recognize heavy metals as a problem if they cannot be detected unchallenged (by chelation) in your bloodstream. A.C.A.M. members see things differently and might be another resource, but they are frequently looked askance by A.C.M.T. as “alternative medicine.”

      A bit of a can of worms. I do have another reference, but suggest you contact S.A.R.I. first.

  2. Southern has at least hinted they might build additional reactors. It would certainly be great for those workers to just keep going …

    1. “Southern has at least hinted they might build additional reactors. It would certainly be great for those workers to just keep going …”

      Good for the everyone on the planet, not just the workers, if they keep going and build more. 🙂

    2. Steve, you comment is more profound that you may realize. The basis of a healthy nuclear economy is the *continuity* of craft and engineering labor. Some of the results, as I’ve commented on before, about the screw up in cost overruns at the Flameville plant in France is exactly because EDF long ago dismantled it’s craft labor training job continuity as part of the French privatizations schemes (all the worked farmed out to low-bid, inexperienced, contractors). Every single contractor for labor and small components engineering had almost no experience in N-Stamp builds.

      Ideally if a human resources infrastructure was in place, much of the cost over runs, to say nothing of the scheduling delays could of been highly mitigated. Ideally, again, if Southern could chart out new build starts for one every year or year and a half, for 12 more reactors, the completion times (Commercial On-time Delivery or COD) could meet schedules and at stated costs.

      David Walters

      1. I completely agree with your remarks about the importance of human capital. People learn by doing. Also having a pipeline of projects would encourage competition between firms and give the customer more leverage (e.g. “you’re not going to get another contract unless you stay on time and on budget on this contract”).

        Speaking of cost overruns, I find it odd that the utility would write a contract with the contractor that seems to leave open the possibility of paying for cost overuns in the case where the overruns are entirely the fault of the contractor. In the case of V C Summer, from what I’ve read, a Shaw plant in Louisiana that was responsible for building a key module had never done this kind of work and just weren’t up to the task and this threw everything else behind schedule. In this sort of situation, I would have thought a well written contract (from the utility’s point of view) would put the cost overrun entirely on the contractor which, after all, had the responsibility of choosing and managing the supplier. I mean if you were remodeling your kitchen and your contractor came back after having torn everything out and told you that the company that they had chosen to make the kitchen cabinets had never made cabinets before and were 6 months behind and that, by the way, he was going to increase his fee by 10%, I think most people’s reaction would not be “OK”. It would be more like “FY”. There would be some very heated exchanges and I doubt most people would agree to pay a dime more. So I’m not sure why overruns seem to be rampant in these kinds of projects. Maybe the utility doesn’t care so much because the rate payers, rather than the shareholders, eat the cost? Or maybe it’s because the contractor has the utility over a barrel, as there probably aren’t many companies that could step in and finish the work? In any case, as a strong supporter of nuclear power, I believe it is vital for the future of the industry to put a stop to this kind of thing. They have to show that they can deliver what they promise on time and on budget or they are going to continue to invite public skepticism.

  3. OK, so they place the lower ring (yes, very impressive video).
    Now they are going to weld it, right? How long does it take to weld something that big (especially that THICK)?

    1. Also regarding RPV construction: what ever became of the Stendal (VVER-1000) concept of construction using a “steel cell” composite method? While the Stendal NPP was halted & dismantled after reunification, the concept must have been meritorious for East Germany to have gone with it, but it seems to be a “dead” concept.

      1. Rick,
        I can’t claim to know what “steel cell” composite methods are, but I may surmise that they are similar to “Steel Composite” or SC panels. This is a modular concept where steel walls and the framework of a module is built, then put in place. This framework is then filled with concrete. The metal frames have “Nelson Studs” which stick out from the interior surfaces of the steel and interface with the concrete. Once the concrete is dried, the struture is solidified and attains it’s full structural properties. This method is used on AP1000 plants as well as the Westinghouse SMR design.

        1. Cory,
          You are probably right about how the Stendahl “steel cell” method worked. I’ve only seen the barest of references to it. Nice to see that RPV construction methods have been improving over the years. Thanks for the information.

  4. Thats a really cool crane. You dont appreciate the scale till you notice all the little ant people scurrying around.

    1. The cranes have been visible in stills that I’ve seen, but until I saw the time-lapse I had no idea that it was actually on rails.  That explains its capacity.

      1. its interesting that I thought of a construction site as being a point centered on the construction but its probably the area (a radial point in this case) between the supply of materials/work/design/experience/oversight to the site of construction. As a rule Id imagine it would be best to make that as small, efficient and well organized as possible.

          1. Those are great. Its nice to see the US moving forward with large complicated projects. This one is really needed: Just released:

            U.S. Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increased 2.5% in 2013

            Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) increased from 5,267 million metric tons (MMmt) in 2012 to 5,396 MMmt in 2013 (2.5%).
            The 2013 increase was largely the result of colder weather leading to an increase in energy intensity (energy measured in Btu per dollar of gross domestic product [GDP]) from 2012.
            Heating degree days were up 18.5% in 2013 versus 2012.
            In only three years since 1990 have emissions increased more: 1996, 2000, and 2010.
            The average delivered price of natural gas to electric generators rose from $3.54 per million Btu (MMBtu) in 2012 to $4.49 per MMBtu in 2013 as average delivered coal prices declined from $2.38 per MMBtu in 2012 to $2.35 per MMBtu in 2013; these price changes shifted some plant dispatch decisions, increasing the share of generation from coal-fired units.
            Despite the increase over 2012, emissions in 2013 were still 10% below their 2005 level.
            ( http://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/carbon/?scr=email )

            Of course they don’t mention nuclear plant closures that also contributed. But what a total failure of “clean energy” policy even with the “polar vortex” as we also had a much cooler summer in 2013 than in recent years.(something else they curiously dont mention). Which I attribute to more dishonesty from this administration.

          2. Total electricity consumption was up 1.4 percent in 2013. Coal was up 2 percent. “Renewables” were up about 1 percent over 2012. Nuclear rose about a 2 tenths of a percent on substantial capacity factor increases (use of existing reactors more).

  5. What’s the difference with the way they built the AP1000 that are more advanced in China ?
    Wasn’t the knowledge rather flowing from that direction ?

      1. Yeah the containment is a steel vessel almost 2 inches thick. It is a cylinder with domed heads on each end. The diameter is 130 feet and the overall height is about 215 feet. This is a big chunk of steel. It is made in pieces (there are several rings which are stacked to make the cylindrical portion, and the domes). The pieces are assembled together in place at the site.

        The concrete shield building is then built up around this steel containment.

        This has a pretty good explanation, with some pictures & graphics:

        http://westinghousenuclear.com/New-Plants/AP1000-PWR/Construction

        (I’m not sure how to make that show as a link).

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