29 Comments

  1. Rod – thanks for finding this and posting it. I’m going to go through the other 57 videos on their channel as well. You’re right IMO – the CNSC has lapped the competition. But there’s a considerable way to go yet for demystifying fuels, power, and energy for the modern world.

  2. Along that line:

    From the NRC Blog, the Director NRR states regards his visit to Fukushima:

    “On the bus ride to the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, the site of the accident in 2011, we passed through the town of Tomioka, about 7 to 10 km south of the site. Before the accident, Tomioka had been a vibrant seaside village of approximately 16,000 residents. It was a resort town, with its own train stop, beachfront, restaurants and hotels.

    The town is now empty, uninhabitable because of radiological contamination (about 1 microsievert an hour). There are no inhabitants, …. For me, a career safety regulator, the feeling is very personal….”

    Wow “uninhabitable” for 1 microsievert/hr. Thats 0.1 mrem/hr x (24 x 365) hrs/yr = 876 mr/year. How is that “uninhabitable?” The occupational dose limit for highly-habitable power plants and other nuclear facilities is 5,000 mrem/yr.

    I understand the overall message of his post, and if there is much REMOVABLE contamination to be addressed, but to leave it in simple terms that such a low level of radiation renders a place “uninhabitable” allows the anti-nukes to say “Ahha, I knew it was so very dangerous; here is the NRC confirming it!!”

    We (the industry) continue to be our own worst enemy.

    http://public-blog.nrc-gateway.gov/

  3. Great video. Short, approachable for those who have no former knowledge of radiation, and entertaining.

  4. Rod –

    this is slightly off-topic, but I’m surprised that in the history of this site you haven’t mentioned vaclav smil ( I saw his name in one comment) – his books and talks are absolutely brilliant in their analysis of how we need concentrated sources of power to make our civilization function, and he quantifies everything. Here is a good example talk:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJxmlNyu4sE

    so, have you heard of him, and if not, could you possibly give him a try and post what you think? that video alone is masterful on how it skewers the naivete of the ‘renewables can power everything’ idea..

  5. Very refreshing to see. But still many open questions and myths to address. I hope to find more learning’s on the CNSC website.

  6. The CNSC is in many ways superior to the US NRC if one defines superiority as willingness to explain to the public matters related to radiation. But the Canadian regulations are much more stringent than those of the US. The CANDU reactors follow the CAN-Z299.0 through CAN-Z299.4 standards for QA, and the CE-0100-STD and CE-1001-STD through CE-1004-STD for Software QA / digital I&C engineering.

    These standards consider just about everything at a nuclear power plant to be safety-related and that is not the case in the US. Because of this, the Canadians require qualification of what in the US would be non-safety-related, and for pre-developed digital I&C they have a standard for that – CSA-N290.14-07.

    This requires qualification of digital I&C for balance of plant things such as main turbine controls, feedwater / feedpump speed control, etc. – systems that do not meet the 10 CFR 50.2 definition of safety-related SSC. It is like qualifying a US digital main turbine control system in accordance with EPRI TR-106439. We would never do that in the US, but we would do it for a commercial PLC used for EDG sequencing since that is safety-related.

    The US NRC doesn’t require qualification of stuff like main turbine controls because things like that are not safety-related. But in Canada the definition of safety-related is different, so the qualification requirement gets applied without regard to economics or actual quality. This adds an exorbitant cost to digital I&C projects, burdens unnecessarily the plant owner / staff and the vendor / supplier, and contributes not one iota to actual quality. But that’s what the Canadian regulations require.

    So before we say that the CNSC is the gold standard, we should understand what that organization really requires. Is its public relations better? You betcha! But is it further down the road of socialist strangulation of the industry that it regulates? Absolutely.

    1. Post Script: I want to add to my comment above that while I may disagree with a regulation or think it overly restrictive, too repressive or unnecessarily rigorous, I will nevertheless follow that regulation with 100% compliance and urge everyone else to do the same. Canada like the US is still a mostly free society, and there are legitimate avenues through which concerns, recommendations and objections may be voiced to stem the rising tide of socialist strangulation. But no one has either the right or the legitimacy to disobey duly appointed authority – being a Catholic Christian, I take Romans 13:1-7 very seriously.

      Additionally, any points of view that I may express here are solely my personal opinion and do NOT reflect either those of my employer or those of Holy Mother Church, by whose teachings I try but all too often fail to live.

      Regulatory compliance at work and obedience to the Church in life are mandatory, not optional. And yes, I have difficulty with some Church teachings, but I am compelled to obey, whether a Regulation I do not like at work or a doctrine or dogma I do not like in my Faith. This isn’t a Democracy – two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner – nor is Truth determined by popular opinion.

      1. @Paul W Primavera

        Strict adherence to regulations and church rules is an admirable choice. It is not a choice that I have decided to make. Some rules are just plain dumb and or are designed to further the aims of the people who wrote them.

        1. I know, Rod. But I don’t get that choice. You are fortunate to be self-employed, but I have to take care in how I fight the good fight. I am sure you understand.

    2. I’ve installed 2 digital feedwaters, a digital EHC, and a handful of other digital ugprades on both safety and non-safety control systems, and we get driven to doing most if not all of 106439 and 102348 for almost any digital I&C type upgrade. The level of effort we’ve had to go through to demonstrate that we meet the 50.59 evaluation criteria for even non-safety control systems.

      I don’t really think the US is much better, and if anything, stifles the replacement of obsolete analog systems with digital upgrades.

      1. I sit corrected, Hiddencamper. EPRI TR-106439 on qualifying commercial PLCs for safety related does NOT apply to main turbine or feedwater controls. But NEI 01-01 ( the “new” EPRI TR on licensing digital upgrades as endorsed in RIS 2002-022) does apply, and that mandates independent V&V, RTM, software hazards analysis, FMEA and the entire suite of IEEE std SQA documents. This is why nukes have not done wholesale digital upgrades. Very, very expensive with too little payback.

    3. @Paul W Primavera

      My experience is that the US regulatory classifications — “safety-related,” “nonsafety-related,” “important to safety,” “special treatment,” “seismic I,” “seismic II,” “seismic II over I,” “nonsafety-related SSC’s that perform safety significant functions,” and probably several more that I cannot think of right now — are outrageously confusing, expensive, and lead to costly-time consuming discussions with uncertain outcomes based on judgment of meeting attendees that later get questioned by others.

      Though the system may work okay for one-for-one replacements at existing plants, it’s difficult to imagine designing a system that would be any harder to follow for people designing anything new.

      1. Yup, you are right, Rod. Then consider that digital I&C software has its own classification per an annex in IEEE std 1012-1998 (I think the NRC went to a 2008 version – can’t remember): Software Integrity Levels 4, 3, 2 and 1. Canada has its own Software Categories defined in CE-0100-STD and N290.7. These do not nicely map to the IEEE ones. And many digital I&C manufacturers default to the IEC 61805 (I think) safety integrity levels. Nothing matches anything and levels of rigor are all different. Anarchy.

        1. Opps, it’s IEC 61508. Too many standards none of which are standardized. It’s almost like the plethora of Papal Encyclicals, Apostolic Exhortations, Church Council documents, etc. The Church has a 2000 year head start on regulation.

          Well, my Filippino Bride just yelled at me to stop and pay her attention. She said she is more important than Atomic Insights. Ha! Ha! Gotta go.

  7. That was a good video. But lets face it the US NRC could even do much better than that if they wanted; incorporating our atomic science, space program successes and other areas of interest/expertise into its message.

    From hanging out here I know we have some pretty incredible people working for us at our NRC and out in our nuclear facilities. By far the best in the world. I so wish they were more visible.

    On another note I am waiting for your opinions of the Russian situation Rod. I know you are thinking about it and I may disagree with you from time to time on some things but obviously I look forward to your assessments in energy matters, at the very least, as cutting edge, outstanding, informative and insightful.

    I am more than concerned at the direction things seem moving in Ukraine and possibly on other fronts. As I suspect you and most here are. Its all so up in the air.

    Are you going to at least open that can of worms? 🙂

    1. @John T Tucker

      Thank you for asking. I’ve published some short commentaries about Ukraine on Twitter. I’ve been doing additional research for an article that is tentatively scheduled to be published early Monday morning.

      1. From this article. A lot of nonsense I would assume:

        http://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2014-03-rosatom-vows-continue-nuclear-fuel-flow-ukraine-spite-putin-imposed-embargo

        – Putin wants to cut nuclear fuel supplies to Ukraine which is said to have only a few more weeks worth of fuel. (most of nuclear plants sit on 2-3 years of fuel supply, what is this nonsense?)

        – Ukrainian plants will have problems to shut down safely if they lack fuel. Danger is imminent (Journalistic fears again)

        – The head of Rosatom, the only fuel supplier to Ukraine says the fuel distribution will go ahead. Putin or no Putin. (wake up Westinghouse. Can they make fuel relatively quickly?)

        Now Crimea is detached from Ukraine. Putin has a plan to annex some of Ukraine’s territory and call it ‘Novy Russia’ where the next summer Olympic games will be held.

        1. When Russia was dismantled, we had a chance to include it in NATO. This was a mistake. A stupid one. (Kaliningrad is just north of Poland surrounded by NATO countries and a dislocated part of Russia!!)

          When the EU told Ukraine it is us or Russia. That was a mistake.

          Russia wanted Ukraine to be both within the EU and trading freely with Russia allowing economic prosperity for all. Can’t anyone think outside the box anymore ?

          The more economically we are joined, the lesser the chances of war.

          Nicolas Sarkozy said that the common currency, the EURO, was the glue that would prevent the next European war when many countries wanted to revert to their old currencies. He was right.

          Let’s integrate economically before we disintegrate completely.

          How long do you think China is going to wait now to occupy contested territories it has with Vietnam, Japan, India ????

        2. Dan I am nervous. The immediate nuclear stuff is a very valid concern. Putin/Russian intelligence also seems to be acting strange. Perhaps we didn’t notice the extent of Russian endeavors (puppets) in that region and how much they could be upset by political upheaval.

          The Flight 370 stuff also has me on edge. I wish they would resolve that. Quickly.

          1. Russia wanted Ukraine to be a hub between the EU and the Russia/Asia Ă©conomic bloc.

            What was wrong with that ?

          2. The “vote”:

            “Do you support joining Crimea with the Russian Federation as a subject of Russian Federation?

            And:

            Do you support restoration of 1992 Crimean Constitution and Crimea’s status as a part of Ukraine?

            That Constitution declares that Crimea is an independent state.”( https://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/two-choices-in-crimean-referendum-yes-and-yes-338745.html?flavour=mobile )

            It appears there wasn’t any “no” option anyway. It was not really a “vote.” just more PR stuff.

      2. Rod,

        Let’s not forget that Russia controls a hefty market share of both worldwide Uranium mining and fuel enrichment.

        Interesting.

        As William Tucker says, you can’t put a log in a nuclear reactor.

    1. @Daniel

      Westinghouse has supplied fuel to Ukraine in the past, so they have the appropriate designs already. However, the previous experience has not been terribly positive. I am not sure if the issues have been corrected, but I would bet that there has been a substantial effort to resolve them, especially in the past couple of months.

      http://www.post-gazette.com/business/businessnews/2013/08/08/Westinghouse-still-facing-difficulties-in-Ukraine/stories/201308080382

  8. The video by CNSC is well done; the question I have is why is a regulator promoting the industry? It’s unfortunate CNSC does not stick to it’s mandate but has chosen to be a PR voice for the industry…’we will not compromise safety’ & ‘Safety is in our DNA’; as a former nuclear operator, safety is main responsibility of the licensee not the regulator; CNSC seems be confused regarding its role. Before using the ‘Gold Standard’ label, have you ever seen a CNSC Power Reactor licence and it the attachments ‘conditions of licence’ and ‘licence Condition handbook’ …the answer is NO because CNSC does not want the public to question how it has defined ‘the operating ‘risk’ –have you even looked at the commission members qualifications –they are a bunch of political appointees who have very little understanding of the operating risks for the nuclear industry…I would say CNSC is more like a jewel (soft quartz) playing the dice with its political masters.

    1. A video that explains nuclear technology and radiation is NOT a video promoting an industry. It is information that the public needs to have in order to understand the world around them.

      Why do you think it is the public’s business to get into the technical details? One of the real problems that I have with our current regulatory system — not the regulations and not the regulators, mind you — is the excessive hooks given to the “public” — which often includes competitors — to control the pace of approvals and decisions. It add enormous costs and uncertainties to the process.

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