Open warfare: four NRC commissioners versus Chairman Jaczko
It is a four against one war. On one side is the Chairman, a man armed with essentially no experience or professional training associated with the effective use of the gift of nuclear energy. On the other side are four experienced and well-educated nuclear energy professionals who among them can count close to 100 years of working with nuclear reactors, nuclear safety analysis, nuclear propulsion plants, advanced nuclear energy research and development, and nuclear project management.
The Chairman happens to have two political patrons – Senator Harry Reid and Congressman Ed Markey. Those men are not just his political supporters; they were his first and only bosses during a post graduation career that included just 6 years inside the Washington DC beltway before being appointed to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission under a strong-arm deal that included holds on dozens of federal judgeships. The obvious goal of the deal was to ensure that Senator Reid had his man in place in time to derail the Yucca Mountain project after his state had milked every possible dollar from the ratepayer-provided Nuclear Waste Fund without actually allowing any used nuclear material to be safely stored.
The detail that many people have forgotten is that Jaczko is not just a Harry Reid protege, he is an Ed Markey protege. Reid’s plan to stymie the rest of the nation with regard to Yucca Mountain was obvious, but what is far more important to me is the strategy that Jaczko’s first boss had in mind. Markey has been fighting nuclear energy development for the better part of four decades; placing a carefully trained antinuclear activist right inside the technology’s official gatekeeper was quite a coup.
On the surface, Markey would appear to be just one of 435 congressmen who happens to be from a small state in New England, but I believe that he is an important part of a loose alliance of human beings for whom cheap, abundant, reliable energy is a frightful prospect that needs to be resisted. It seems almost counterintuitive for a New England congressman to be in favor of an expensive, unreliable, and constrained energy supply, but Markey’s district happens to include the oldest Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) reception terminal in the United States.
That multibillion dollar facility and its supporting infrastructure would be suddenly worthless if there was somehow a magical development of safe, low-cost, emission free, reliable, flexible energy. Who would go to the trouble to drill, extract, liquify, ship, gasify, and transport a dangerous, explosive, flammable gas from Trinidad all the way to homes in New England if there was a cheaper, cleaner and safer alternative? I hope you can imagine how many rich and powerful friends might share the same concern over allowing a fearsome competitor that can check virtually all of the desirable boxes for a power source to be introduced into the lucrative US energy market.
According to an article published on the Huffington Post titled Gregory Jaczko, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chief, Damages Agency, Panel Says the other four members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission – the ones with the knowledge and experience to understand their important task of enabling the use of nuclear energy to support the common welfare and defense of the United States – have signed a letter addressed to the Chief of Staff of the President of the United States detailing their frustration with the leadership style and decision making processes used by the 41-year-old, politically-appointed Chairman.
Four Nuclear Regulatory commissioners from both parties say they have “grave concerns” about the panel’s chairman, charging that the actions of Gregory Jaczko are “causing serious damage” to the commission and creating a “chilled work environment at the NRC.”
In a letter to the White House, the commissioners say Jaczko’s bullying style could adversely affect the agency’s mission to protect health and safety at the nation’s 104 commercial nuclear reactors.
The article also describes Chairman Jaczko’s official response to that letter, which illustrates why I have occasionally told people that it is often an unfair competitive advantage to be prematurely bald or grey – especially in a political environment where credentials are ignored over surface characteristics or “pull”. Grey hair or a bald head gives often juvenile people a disguise that allows them to slither into positions of authority over others with far more experience and knowledge.
Jaczko, in a detailed response also sent to the White House, said problems at the agency were not his fault but instead stem from “lack of understanding” on the part of the other four commissioners.
However, the real response to the four commissioner letter can be found on the web site of Congressman Ed Markey Dec. 9, 2011: New Report Details Conspiracy to Delay, Weaken US Nuclear Safety in Wake of Fukushima: “Regulatory Meltdown” Reveals Efforts to Improve Nuclear Safety Undermined by Four NRC Commissioners. That press release is also dated December 9, 2011 and indicates that there is a sustained effort underway that is designed to undermine the credibility of the four experienced commissioners. Failing that, I am pretty sure that Markey would be satisfied if his efforts simply tied up the commission and prevented them from taking effective action on important tasks – like approving the design certification rule for the AP1000. Here is a sample quote from the press release:
The actions of these four Commissioners since the Fukushima nuclear disaster has caused a regulatory meltdown that has left America’s nuclear fleet and the general public at risk,” said Rep. Markey. “Instead of doing what they have been sworn to do, these four Commissioners have attempted a coup on the Chairman and have abdicated their responsibility to the American public to assure the safety of America’s nuclear industry. I call on these four Commissioners to stop the obstruction, do their jobs and quickly move to fully implement the lessons learned from the Fukushima disaster.
Remember – the Fukushima disaster was initiated by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and a 45 foot high tsunami and it affected four nuclear plants built with the knowledge, understanding and technology of the 1970s. Even under those unrepeatable circumstances, it was a pretty good demonstration of the safety of nuclear energy. Despite all of the recent highly publicized releases and leaks (measured in tiny units that are incomprehensible to most observers) the most exposed person in the general public received a dose that is less than the legally permitted annual dose for workers in one of the safest industries in the world as measured by its 55-year, well-documented history.
The controversy at the NRC could result in a lot of churn and delay if it is allowed to continue. That situation helps Markey’s fossil fuel friends by adding certain costs and uncertain delays in the two surviving nuclear plant construction projects. It hurts the residents of the states of Georgia and South Carolina whose elected leaders have made a conscious, long term decision to invest in being the leaders in building a new generation of safe, emission free, reliable nuclear power plants. It also hurts everyone – including me – who is employed in the effort to build a new generation of safe, clean, reliable, emission free, affordable nuclear power plants in the United States.
It is not an easy or cheap task to be the early adopters of a new generation of a technology that America invented, developed, shared with the world and then essentially abandoned. There are 1300 workers at the Vogtle site right now who are anxiously awaiting the NRC’s permission to keep working. They have completed all of the construction steps that they are allowed to complete under the Limited Work Authorization (LWA) that they were issued to allow site preparation and now need the AP1000 design certification and the Vogtle construction and operating license to be issued so they can continue working.
There are approximately 1300 more workers who have not yet been hired who will staff the rest of the construction team that will be carefully erecting the new technology and documenting each step of the numerous processes involved so that they can be repeated more efficiently by similarly sized construction crews on the second unit and on the units that are planned to be built at VC Summer, at Turkey Point, and at the Levy County greenfield site in northwest Florida. There is no telling how many new nuclear power plants are riding on the early successes of the initial units.
I’m calling on my President (yes, I voted for President Obama and probably will do so again) to recognize that the best course of action for the nation and for his political future is to tell Chairman Jaczko to resign and to take his antinuclear activism with him. Failure to take that action promptly would demonstrate a significant lack of understanding and judgement that would encourage me to support someone else.
New York Times – Matt Walt published a story titled Internal Dissension Unsettles the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Idaho Samizdat – Dan Yurman offers a different take on the situation Bad blood boils over at the NRC. Dan thinks the Chairman is in a stronger postion than I do. He believes that the President cares more about the anti-Yucca Mountain votes in Nevada than the “jobs, jobs, jobs” related votes in Georgia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. I think he forgets how close Reid came to being defeated by a clown candidate.
Jaczko’s behavior has to be a huge distraction from focusing on the real issues.
Old Malarkey doesn’t waste any time coming to the rescue of his boy, does he?
This situation makes me feel sick to my stomach. The motivations of all parties involved completely laid out there for all to see, but I have very little doubt that the present POTUS will recognize the logical course of action that should be taken that would be for the benefit of the American public (and ultimately the world as a whole).
Joel – if you have little doubt that the President will recognize the logical course of action, why are you sick to your stomach?
The United States is full of terrific people who work hard and try to do the best job they know how to do. It has a certain minority that do not meet those criteria; occasionally one or more of that minority will end up in a position of power. When they fall from grace, it can happen very rapidly. Many of them, because they are tone deaf or surround themselves with sycophants, never see the fall coming.
I believe Jaczko is on extremely shaky ground and should expect to have a new job before Christmas.
If GJ is out of his position by Christmas, I will gain an increased sense of confidence in American politics and that logic can actually prevail.
As long as he is not replaced by another Bozo and the current licensing pipeline is cleared before he goes. NO BOZO ALLOWED !
I am sick to my stomach because I do not trust the POTUS to do the logical thing. His actions over the past 3 years do not demonstrate an approach to energy that is free of ideological objectives.
My fear is that the president will not act and the four other commissioners will resign in protest. I live in Georgia, own stock in Southern, and have a vested interest in industry coming to Georgia. Obama had to rely on Ried’s support to get elected and is not going to bite his political support right before the election. My wife voted for him and contributed to his campaign last election. This time around he lost the support and the vote. I know she is not alone in her sentiment. Obama could care less about nuclear power. He does however care very deeply for political power, so he will be lockstep with Reid and Markey. That is why I am sick to my stomach.
I wanted to vote for McCain, however absentee ballots can’t leave a submarine.
It’s hard to accept Markey’s opposition to nuclear as simply an outcome of an LNG terminal in his district. His actions are more like those of a religious fanatic. He is willing to lie and his statements are so over the top that it is almost a psychosis.
In any case, I hope you are right about President Obama. I also voted for him and probably will again (really what choice is there?). But bold action is something I’ve learned not to expect. Still to have all 4 members (the letters to Jaczko and to William Daley are now public), including 2 Democrats make such a strong statement is startling and rare in a situation like the NRC. Maybe something positive will happen. I hope the outcome is not that Jaczko is left there and becomes even more difficult out of stubbornness and resentment.
What choice is there? I’ll give you one so you don’t feel obliged to vote for Obama. Write in my name. I’m a better choice for two reasons. First, I won’t spend the country into bankruptcy with failed “social programs” like the current occupant of the WH. Second, I won’t appoint someone like Gregory Jaczko to an important position like NRC Commissioner, much less Chairman. That reason right there gives you a much better choice than voting or Obama again.
What has really happened at the NRC is not some “pro nuclear conspiracy” as Markey puts it – but a traditional loss of confidence – one that transcends party. The two Democratic appointees and two Republican appointees on the NRC concur Jackzo is subverting the Commission’s work.
If anything, the Jackzo debacle shows how the NRC is structurally flawed in that the Chairman is more than a symbol. It should behave like a true commission in all of its affairs; the Chairman should be nobody but a “first among equals”.
Markey is just a griefer; as has been noted elsewhere, there are no nuclear plants within his district save for a research reactor or two; his anti-nuclearism is some sort of personal obsession of his. Reid’s concerns are more justified in that he is representing his constituents, and he cannot be described as being cut from the same cloth as Markey, but even as such, his state is marginal, and his next re-election is 6 years off.
I hope Obama takes prejudicial action with regards to Jackzo’s seat on the Commission. He certainly has adequate grounds to do so. As Rod notes, Nevada is certainly not worth as much in the electoral college as Pennsylvania and Virginia, never mind domestic manufacturers throughout the nation, and in places like Indiana and Ohio that will benefit from unobstructed new nuclear build.
Besides all that has been cited as losses above the fact that Terra Power and Bill Gates having to develop new technology in
China due to inadequate staffing at the NRC should be added to the list of woeful shortcomings by the commissioner.The money spent at Yucca only to mothball the facility for no logical reason should be a criminal offense on the scale of Enron and should land all involved some time in jail or at the very least out of public office.It is time that this country tar and feather all of these politicians and enablers who are stealing precious resources and time from
the U.S at this pivotal time of globalization.
Besides all that has been cited as losses above the fact that Terra Power and Bill Gates having to develop new technology in
China due to inadequate staffing at the NRC should be added to the list of woeful shortcomings by the commissioner.The money spent at Yucca only to mothball the facility for no logical reason should be a criminal offense on the scale of Enron and should land all involved some time in jail or at the very least out of public office.It is time that this country tar and feather all of these politicians and enablers who are stealing precious resources and time from
the U.S at this pivotal time of globalization
I am reluctant to talk about LNG for reasons that should be obvious after after events of September 11. 2001. Hopefully, some of you can read between the lines and this site is not something evil people who want to kill our children.
If look at page 8-9 of the NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY, May 2001 you will see a picture of a certain type of tanker in the foreground. In the background is a large historical city that Markey may be aware of.
Since Rod has an affinity for navel vessels that are sometime hard to see, one of those of a certain class named after a left coast city ‘bumped’ one of those certain type of tanker in the Straights of Gibraltar.
Speaking of the left coast, an LNG fuel power plant was proposed for Mare Island. I was stationed twice. The last time I was there 18 years ago. I remember because because it exciting place to sail and our youngest was a bun in the oven. You could sail past subs on the Napa River or the mothball fleet including the Glomar Explorer.
For those who are not familiar SF Bay area, the bays are surrounded by hills that most flat landers would call mountains. Heating of the inland valleys pulls wind through creating wind tunnels. Samuel Clements remarked about the coldest winter was a summer in SF. While I thinking he never spent a winter in Idaho, wind chill required a heavy coat when sailing into the wind. The other factor is narrow channels with all the water coming out the mountains and wicked tides.
When you consider the large population and properties of LNG, bring a tanker under the Golden Gate for any reason is insane.
The Ufa train disaster created an explosion (ignited gas line leak) with an estimated range of 0.3-10 kt TNT and killed nearly 600 people.
You are now starting to get an appreciation of the risks that we face in our energy choices. Someone else commented about you being recalcitrant to change your views, I am just enjoying the show.
As for LNG, I don’t have any problems with it. I just think that instead of burning it at home for $4/MMBtu we should be exporting it at $15/MMBtu for all the poor jokes who think that nuclear power is not safe. I think we would be a better country to be energy dependent on that Russia or the Middle East. That’s why I like Keystone XL. I’d rather be dependent on the democracy to the north than a theocracy in the middle east or a dictatorship in the south.
In my presentation, I didn’t paint tar sands in a very nice light. However, I am confident that we will find less environmentally impacting ways of extracting the tar sands, e.g. using mPower to provide the heat. The market needs time to identify the equilibrium.
There are risks and consequences in everything that we do. The reason why you would be such an effective salesman is that you gloss over the drawbacks.
As for distributed power, I think it is good stuff. Don’t let the energy go into the atmosphere. It is a huge waste. Plus it would make the grid more reliable. A more reliable grid, more demand for electricity.
I take issue with your profiteering based off of socially induced externalities in the form of subsidies for renewable technologies. That I think is amoral. You also fail to understand the impact of a high entropy source of power as being detrimental to the economy.
In this blog I laid out my references, my thoughts, and consistently challenged your dogmatic beliefs. Your responses are in generalities and lack any specificity or merit. Yes you have a lot of experience, however the only thing you learned to do really well in that time was sling mud.
You didn’t spend enough time in the Navy to understand or learn about risk. That appreciation usually comes after/during your department head tour, which is when you start to get significant levels of responsibility. As such you mischaracterize and misrepresent the issue and only act to inveigle. To wit you are no better than Jazcko. Your consistent lack of respect for others as demonstrated by your comments is a tactic that the other commissioners in the NRC so aptly identified in Jazcko.
Demonstrated lack of respect for others comes from a fundamental dislike of oneself and of life in general. You will reply contrary, however, I suggest you read Ludwig von Mises “Human Action” before considering a response. This is a fundamental characteristic in those in the environmental movement (at large and there are countless exceptions). This is why Rod called you a rent seeker. It is why I call you the same.
P.S. I am still waiting on your response of references that contradict the NAS study on cost externalities of energy production. You have to prove with peer reviewed papers that coal pollution does not cause 32,000 deaths in this country each year from SOx, NOx, Hg, and particulate. I hope you can find something conclusive. I enjoy learning.
Cal the mitigated risk of energy in the US is insignificant. It is a legal requirement not just for the nuclear industry. I certainly appreciate that too. As John Englert pointed out that is not true in all countries. Communist governments like USSR and China are prime examples. I can list more than 100 related disasters worse than Chernobyl in places that do not have are standards.
Pretty good argument for high standards.
Both Cal and Rod are wrong about the cost of renewable energy. Someone mentioned their rates were 16 cents/kwh. High power rates are caused hidden taxes and NG being 50% of the mix. Tax collectors love NG because there are so may ways to tax it that consumers do not see. Dig deeper!
Presently wind and solar are too small a fraction to drive up power costs. If you get significant portions of your electricity from NG, wind can reduce the cost.
My favorite biomass plant is Kettle Falls in Washington State. It was not built to make cheap electricity but to cleanup the air associated with lumber production. The watermelons drove much of that industry offshore to places with low environment standards. Many environmentalist have backed off figuring it is better to produce lumber in the US or Canada.
Kettle Falls for many years did not operate at capacity. The local environmental issue with the air cleaner is forest health. Good intentioned forest management practices resulted in too much fuel in the forests so that a fire destroys the forest rather than clean it. Kettle Falls now produces electricity cheaper than NG while paying a small tipping fee for forest residue.
Having knowledge of the cost and benefits of specif projects is the opposite of dogmatic beliefs. While I did spend 10 years in the navy, I have spent 30 years in the commercial power industry including passing my plant specif SRO four times. Currently I am full time on getting a DC from the NRC.
The reason do not respect either Rod or Cal is they express dogmatic beliefs about the NRC. While I do not have a problem with being wrong when people with zip, zero, nada experience doing something accuse of having dogmatic beliefs, I will continue to disrespect them.
“I was off an order of magnitude in my dose response for acute exposure 250 rem is when you have blood cell changes and nausea. ”
I rebutted Cal without looking the facts up because I have 40 years working knowledge. It comes from any years on back shift. There are times when you do not have time to go find a peer review journal. It is like knowing the explosive concentration of hydrogen. Oh gosh, hydrogen is leaking out of my system. Should I , a) look up a reference; or b) get the hell out of dodge; c) call the control room from a safe location; or d) a) & c)? In that case Cal, I chose d) and still just missed serious injury by two steps.
“@Kit – I live in the same area as you do. We are some of the fortunate people in the US who only pay about 7 cents per kilowatt hour for power. ”
Actually Rod it is about 10 cents/kwh. Thus reinforcing by belief system that English major can not read there electric bill. There is another alternative, Rod did not bother to check. What should have been obvious from my post is that I have looked closely and measured my energy use. I have made the same choice Rod has. I have a nice all electric house with a gorgeous view and lots of windows.
My point again is that being comfortable using AC is cheaper than a can of coke even if rates were twice has high. Energy is cheap.
Under the category of peer review junk science or gossip as I like to call it. Lots of you like to point out the ‘hidden costs’ of making electricity
“California ARB releases three studies showing fine particle pollution a threat to cardiovascular health”
“The findings of this study are based on the California participants in a large study sponsored by the American Cancer Society, which tracked 76,000 adults from 1982 to 2000. ”
California does not have coal fired power plants. The second flaw is the data is out of date. Urban air pollutions has gotten much better. Emissions from my 2007 Corolla are much lower than my 1980 Tercel. I do not know exactly when the ICE got much better but my 1989 truck with 260k miles still runs very cleanly.
I only read one of the studies completely but the flaw is that premature death is measured in time not body count. More info at:
Thanks to regulations like the CAA of 1970, our children have good air quality. That is one of the things I check weekly. Our son in Washington State happens to be having a bad air day with a stagnation warning. Checking BPA there has been almost not wind generation in 4 days. Freezing fog!
Since there is not coal-fired power plant, the likely cause is renewable energy. The good old wood stove.
I mention $158/MW-hr. for several reasons first is that the life of a wind turbine is 20-years thus in a comparative study of 40-years they would have to be replaced in order to compare apples to apples. Second as there is no technological backup for wind power to meet grid stability requirements (that whole entropy thing) other than combustion turbines. The turbines as they are backup for an unreliable source are dedicated to the wind capacity they are to back up. Finally there are no subsidies included in the analysis. There is no such thing as a free lunch and somebody has to pay or the things don’t get built. So using 2010 AEO numbers wind comes in at a whopping $158/MW-hr. Please note this required all power being accepted from the turbines. The model I used for the levelized cost analysis was from the CBO. Any number that you get from wind has so many hidden assumptions that one cannot trust a thing they say.
The point with risk comes in with my not looking up the reference and using an operation thumb rule that has no physical basis. 25 rem is the accident exposure that we could get to save a life. So my mistake actually brings up a good point about the arbitrary levels to which we Control exposure.
You make the logical fallacy that any reduction in risk control will cause more harm. That would be true if the industry was not over regulated. If the industry is over regulated then any reduction in risk control will not effect safety and increase profitability. You assume that to make money is an inherently bad thing. It is perhaps the only honorable thing.
No the tax collectors tax the utility based on the difference between their revenues and expenses minus any Tax deductions such as production tax credits, investment tax credits, etc. a more accurate statement is that the tax man loves the wind farms. Natural gas is taxed like every other source other her than renewables. Dig deeper?! I’ve read the tax code. Other than that I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. Oh I forgot, wind has a very accelerated depreciation schedule on the same order of time as a computer. Funny how that works. If you want to reduce the cost of electricity don’t build wind farms and maximize the capital recovery of your thermal assets.
Dogmatic beliefs? Do you read the news?
Whenever anyone had the balls to tell me that they had as an example 27 years of experience operating these plants I would pull the reference off the shelf and show them why and how they were mistaken. I hope you don’t pull that line of crap with the NRC. If you do you deserve every last cent you cost your company and only delay the task of getting the reactor certified.
By the way 50% LEL of hydrogen is 2% in normal air.
My statement of you looking up a reference was for you to identify a source that contradicts the reference I cited. Those study’s in the 70’s identified the hazard mostly for the CAA. Good science 40 years ago is good science today. Here is a story for you if you go flying on a nice stable air day and fly around 3,000ft over Atlanta and look south you’ll see a yellowish haze over Plant Scherer. Sulfur dioxide is still sulfur dioxide and posses a much larger health risk than blowing up 3 boiling water reactors. Citing California pseudo science is just that. You have a NAS report to contradict. Not that their science exercises the highest scientific integrity, the BEIR series is a prime example.
Do you read or do you just pull crap out of your ass and expect other people to believe it?
You’d think that having four of the five commissioners come out strongly stating their opposition to Jaczko would really carry some weight. Especially since it’s not just one commissioner, but all of the four remaining commissioners. I can see how if only one person was speaking out, the credibility would be easy to question; however, when everyone (commissioners, upper level staff, etc.) comes out stating essentially the same criticisms and issues with Jaczko – something clearly is wrong. And it’s even more foolish to say that those claims are misguided and due to ‘simple understandings’.
It’s not hard to put two and two together. People need to stop sitting on their hands, pretending as if this is a non-issue. It is, and needs to be dealt with. We can’t have the commission fall into further disarray – like it was when Shirley Ann Jackson was in charge.
Adding in the facts that Jaczko’s experience before being placed on the Commission was essentially completely unrelated to the things governed by the NRC and that the only 2 people that seem to be coming to his defense are Reid and Markey, the completely logical conclusion to be drawn by anyone with even a quarter of a brain is that Jaczko’s the problem here. Concluding anything else would be absurd.
4 commissioners against Jaczko ?
Allow me to tally this up : 2 republicans and 2 democrats for a total of 4.
Representative Edward Markey’s grudge against the Fab 4 is that they are trying to block Dr J in his post Fukushima remedies.
It would seem that Dr J acted illegally when he vested himself with emergency powers with the incident that happened on foreign land and 12,000 miles away. That avenue will be explored by the GOP and I hope it will be pursued even after he is pushed off the NRC chairmanship.
Let’s see then if Reid will be around to help.
And the tally continues :
three of whom were appointed by President Obama.
The political partisan band wagon just died.
I honestly think that the NRC chairman has a medical condition called megalomania. Read this and see his disconnect from reality:
Jaczko did a round of media interviews this week to talk about the NRC’s accomplishments this year, but did not have any comment on Friday, an NRC spokesman said.
On Tuesday, he told reporters the commission is working well. “When we’re debating and discussing, it brings out the best in all of us,” he said.
The guy may be sick after all.
The NRC chairman also decided to give himself emergency powers from an event that occurred on foreign soil some 12,000 miles away from the US. This is definitely megalomania.
Also illegal according to the GOP.
In Daryl Issa’s letter to the White House Chief of Staff, Issa says that the president may remove any member of the commission for “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office”. “Inefficiency” has a pretty open-ended definition. Is it possible that the president will choose to fire the four, and keep Jaczko in the chairmanship? This is an important issue for the people reading this blog, but for the general public, it really isn’t going to show up on many radar screens, even if the president does decide to clean house at the NRC.
There is supposed to be a congressional hearing next week on this matter. It will be interesting, to say the least.
Obama nominated 3 of the 4 commissioners. I just wish that the outcome be decided this week.
The best scenario for continuity and expediency of the licensing pipeline would be to kick out Dr J and nominate one of the existing commissioner to the NRC chairmanship.
Any bets on how soon China starts buying our “scrap” used nuclear fuel?
Be sure to distinguish between removal of a Commissioner “for cause” (I.e. inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance) versus removal of the Chairman. Commissioners can only be removed from office for cause, which is a very high threshold to meet. This is the heart of the NRC’s independence from executive branch control. However, by law, the Chairman serves at the pleasure of the president, thus can be replaced for any reason at all. This is what happened in 2009 when the President removed Chairman Klein and replaced him with Jaczko. If the President removed Jaczko from the Chairmanship, Jaczko would still serve as a Commissioner unless he resigned or the President determined he should be removed for cause. But if he removes him for cause, Jaczko could take his fight to the courts. That has been litigated before with respect to other independent agencies. As for removal of the other Commissioners for cause, I don’t see how a case can even remotely be made that they can be removed.
You are all pro nuke fools, this accident affects you all, it’s showing concern as this event is slowly working its way up the food chain and sea life is already hugely affected,
What about the jet stream? Yes it carries all those toxic particles across the sea and to the u.s and Canada, it’s been well documented and the radiation has been detected, but you have chosen to ignore and blind the future, who will want to bring deformed kids into the nuclear plagued world? Just read some of the reports about Chernobyl, it’s horrific, please deck enenews.com for Fukushima updates
You are displaying great ignorance, Josh. The matter of Fukushima has been dealt with extensively on this and other pro-nuclear websites. It’s the anti-nuclear movement which has refused to see the truth of Fukushima’s implications and which delivers a completely wrong message concerning it.
@Josh – most of the people who participate in the discussion are pro-nuclear for very good reasons and have strong educational or experience backgrounds in the subject. I will ask you to refrain from name calling, especially when it is a completely inaccurate appellation – like “fool”. Unlike some who simply read media reports, many of us read technical journals, incident reports, and situation reports issued by trustworthy sources.
A long time ago, I was a member of a Rotary Club that included skilled professionals from a variety of career paths. We had a speaker who polled us to make a point about relying on the commercial news media as our information source. He asked us to list our favorite information sources on topics of general interest and received a variety of responses that indicated that most of us read a lot of newspapers and generally trusted their reporting. He then asked us to rate the accuracy of reports in the media about our own area of expertise.
The average score on that question was about 30%. As we considered that result, he asked us to think again about why we trusted the commercial news media to report on someone else’s area of expertise any better than it reported on our own.
A few of us here have deployed on nuclear ships. We understand what the numbers mean.
Hopefully you understand the difference between using the stairs in a building and falling of the roof. If you calculate the potential energy, both are the same. I want to hear your argument for calling stairs a disaster. Of course that would be silly because we are all familiar with stairs.
Since Josh and many other are not familiar with radiation, they can be tricked easily.
I’ve always found having a Chairman with ties to those with hostility to the industry Ironic given that Mr. Obama is from Illinois, which is more dependent on nuclear energy than any other large, industrialized, state.
Is the President aware of the history of this industry and its contribution to the economy of his home state? He would be wise to think about that.
Do Reid and Markey care a wit about where Illinois is going to get is power twenty or thirty years from now? Here’s the NRC plant status report as of today:
100% Braidwood 1
100% Braidwood 2
100% Byron 1
100% Byron 2
100% Dresden 2
100% Dresden 3
100% LaSalle 1
100% LaSalle 2
100% Quad 1
100% Quad 2
I hope the President understands what it would take to replace all that power with whatever it is we’re supposed to replace it with someday. Of course, the Germans don’t seem to so why should we.
I’m not an engineer. Just a layman with a history degree who reads a lot. All I know is that when I wrote the WH last summer about why the President talked about Nuclear, Wind and Solar in the campaign and now doesn’t mention nuclear – only wind and solar – the reply I got was complete BS. I know not to expect more than a form letter – I’m not on terms with the Chief of Staff – but it was really shabby, talking out of both sides of your mouth stuff. I really take issue with that, even if it was just from some dumb intern.
As for how Jaczko got confirmed, yes the Congress, not just the President, does have something to say about energy policy, and right now the Congresses’s approval rating is so low it’s dangerously close to the polling margin of error – meaning it very well could reach zero. That didn’t happen by accident.
I don’t understand why Obama isn’t recognized as merely the charismatic figurehead of the very same corrupt and self-serving Democrat machine which put Jaczko in this position in the first place so he could champion big-money fossil fuel interests by kneecapping nuclear.
“Hope” for 1,300 nuclear construction workers? Nope. The “most transparent and ethical administration in history?” No way in hell.
They’ve raised crony capitalism to a fine art, and it’s obscene. The corrupt land deal with Tony Rezko at the Obamas’ Chicago mansion was just a penny-ante warm-up to the multi-billion dollar main events. Why would anyone vote for this nauseating Chicago cesspool again?
We havecongressmann and senators commenting on the issue. Where are the pro nuclear governors? Now is the time.
Cal I am not sure why you keep ‘I mention $158/MW-hr’. Are you planning to move to the PNW and make electricity with wind?
Let me give you an example of how you develop energy resources. That is what I was doing 9/11/2001. That morning I did not have any billable work but we had one a DOE contract to decommission a test reactor that could have been retasked to make medical isotopes. I was not worried about a pink slip but if I did not have work, I looked for work.
My day would start out reading new RFP (request for proposals). At noon, I would tune into ENERGY NEWS LIVE. Energy debate was occurring in congress and without some kind of incentives, my biomass business plans showed that they could not compete with $2/MMBTU NG. Watching a mudroom cloud rise over DC was a shock. While developing renewable energy was frustrating as it was, it was dead for a few years.
Anyhow, all energy projects have business plans. It is a projection of what it will cost to produce electricity. If the board of directors likes your proposal, then an independent group will perform a due diligence. If you are still in the running, then the PUC will review the project to see if it is in the public interest. Since they know the local costs of different sources, the PUC most likely not take testimony from Cal and $158/MW-hr model.
“arbitrary levels ”
Neither Cal or Rod understand. Many limits are arbitrary. I am an engineer, just give me a number to design to. It has nothing to do with controlling exposure. One design limit is 25 Rem after an accident which is to prevent anyone from getting 10,000 Rem and dieing of radiation poisoning.
Since our conservative model show we can meet the arbitrary limit, the NRC can not reject permit. It important to understand the difference design and operation.
Controlling exposure after an accident is a different thing. The horses are out of the barn. It is what it is. Potential for a fatal exposure exists at all operating plants. However, after an accident those location for very high may appear outside of locked rooms.
Also I recall the rule of thumb being 25 Rem to protect equipment and 75 Rem to save a life. Of course if you are giving CPR you may not being looking at your dosimeter.
“You assume that to make money is an inherently bad thing. ”
I think Cal Should stick to telling me what he thinks not what I think. Here is the deal Cal, power plants make money by producing electricity. Since the hallmark of profitable power plants is a good safety culture.
Tell me how profitable DEEPWATER and Little Bigbend Coal mine are today? The nuclear industry is not over regulated but oil platforms and coal mines are.
“No the tax collectors tax the utility based on the difference between their revenues and expenses minus any Tax deductions such as production tax credits ”
Really! So Cal has read the tax codes for every town, county, and state for every power plant. BS. Silly boy!
My electric bill shows about 2.5% of transparent sales tax for the state and county. There are generating taxes and property taxes. Some nuke plants pay 15 million.
Another funny California story is one of the SSGT that my company ran. Since the plant no longer belonged to a utility, the IPP was treated like business for sales tax purposes. That was increase of $10 million per year for the little town. We wanted to upgrade to CCGT which would have been a huge windfall for the city. However, the city want the power plant to be air cooled rather than water cooled making much more costly. Eventually the plant closed all together. The city council were surprised when we stopped paying taxes and the jobs went away.
“Whenever anyone had the balls …”
Cal I even gave you the name of the plant, did you even bother to check? In fact I am looking at the ‘Statement of Qualification for Engineering Services’ dated September 14, 2000 that I prepared for an RFP from the utility. I called it Sustainable Energy Integration. One of our engineers worked on the design and I have also talked to an engineer who worked at the plant. Here is a link to Kettle Falls:
So Cal while do read the news, that is not the source of information on energy. When we provide information to the NRC facts are referenced and verified by a reviewer.
“Good science 40 years ago is good science today. ”
Did you bother to read the links I provided? People like Cal demand proof and then ignore it. It was not good science then, and it is not good science not now, explained why.
Cal if you check your facts, US air quality is good.
Just for the record, Cal air quality is not measure by flying over someplace and looking at it. If you would like to report on level in Atlanta how many times a year air quality is not good that will be a start. Then show me a report on the sources, then you will be able to claim a hazard from coal plants exists. Stop fear mongering.
“You have a NAS report to contradict. ”
That book is junk science. If you would like to find specific parts that you claim is true, I will be happy to discus them. Cal you are the college student not me. If I am not mistaken your course work is not in environmental engineering but do you quote USA Today in your papers.
“I am an engineer, just give me a number to design to.”
That is one more difference between us. I am more of a policy guy, thought leader and decision maker than an engineer. I only served as an engineer because that is the job I was ordered into and I had the training necessary to do the job.
I avoid work where I have to blindly design to someone else’s stupidly chosen number without questioning why that number was selected. As Cal said, you apparently left the Navy before learning much about risk and risk management. You also left before reading and fully understanding such missives as Rickover’s admonition to commanding officers to maintain a questioning attitude.
I am going to hit the reset button here:
My comments to you about the NRC were stated with the sole purpose to upset you. They had no basis other than that, and for me to say them was wrong. I will not act in such a manner again. I am grateful that you are providing your experience in getting the AP-1000 licensed (you never did say which reactor so this is pure guesswork) and only wish you the best of luck in that endeavor. This is a first and very important step and I am actually honored that you have taken the time you have to devote to our discussions.
In all of my debating and sometimes (especially the last series of posts) arguing, I was attempting to get you to understand or rather to see the impacts that policy constrains have. What may seem trivial and easily attainable at first is in-fact profound. The only, and I mean only, reason why I am back in school is to understand how policy impacts what we do. I went into nuclear engineering because I know that I can get my PhD in it doing some useful engineering work that I need done anyway. This is just a cover, for what I need which is to understand public policy. Every time I went back to why nuclear power was not being built, the answer was to look more. It’s not engineering, its not financial, its public policy or so I thought. I only recently came to understand why policy is broken and who is trying to do what within our policy. What the players motives are. In a good root cause investigation always ask why 5 times, my first XO taught me that. I’ve done that and am now reconstructing my thinking in a new framework.
To tell you the truth until Rod mentioned policy in his recent post, I was not able to actually tell you in words what I was arguing for. As a result my argument was not as specific as it should have been to fully illuminate the purpose and basis. In that regard, it was inefficient and consumed much more of your time and my time than is necessary.
The debate is about the policy constraint of the linear non-threshold dose response model and its impact on regulations pertaining to radiation exposure. I found that rationality is not required in the individual actors of the economy. It is however vital to be rational in our policy. It is one of the most singularly important contributions policy has on our society. BEIR VII is not rational it is ideological. It ignores data and only tests one hypothesis in order to advance its unstated objective. Changing the policy constraints will change our designs. What is safe now will be safe then with an actual attainable radiation protection standard, instead of one that is designed to be impossible to meet, ALARA. Nuclear power is not the Faustian bargain. It is only a bargain if we accept the devils morality. The morality that no level is safe. It is one of guilt.
Kit I want people like you who are arrogant, cocksure, and most importantly competent designing the reactors for the future. What I want is to remove the Sisyphean obligation of no level is safe. When you design a plant you minimize the condensate depression to that which is absolutely necessary to prevent condensate pump cavitation under almost every conceivable situation. There is a threshold when the liquid is not subcooled enough and it flashes in the impeller. The damage is proportional to the amount of flashing. So we prevent that. We know how to do that very well. We minimize condensate depression because it does two things. First it drastically increases the pumping power needed to achieve it. Second, it rejects much more heat than is necessary causing more heat to have to be added just to go out CCW instead of going to make the turbine spin. The analogy with radiation exposure controls is the same. There is a defined threshold, there is a point where some is best and more is less better (economists use this butchering of english to describe utility). At that best point of condensate depression there is also the relation of less is less better. You can think of that point as the hormetic response point of the condensate system. So yes 15 degrees subcooling in the condensate is safe margin from pump cavitation, however what is the impact that would have on the system. What would you say to the wet behind the ear engineer just out of college who told you that that was ok because pump cavitation was bad. How many utilities would buy your reactor if that was the thermodynamic performance you could give them? That is the impact of policy on the economy.
Here are my responses to your last post:
The only way for PUC to hear testimony on a source that costs $158/MW-hr is if they can pass the cost onto the entire tax base of the country. Thus the cost to the rate payers would be on the order of $95/MW-hr and the utility would have to eat the backup cost because that is not important. So only by hiding the costs can it be competitive. It’s math and not really all that hard. Linear algebra just makes it easier to manipulate. The math does make it hard to fudge it though. This is the lie of hidden costs wind promoters use to push their technology. There are some conservation laws that you can’t just get away from and that is the first and second laws of thermodynamics. You are an engineer you understand that you can’t get something from nothing, and based on your past work you clearly do. Things like the wood biomass are different. You are taking a waste that they have to pay to dispose of and turning it into several useful products, thus the capital investment acts to improve the efficiency of the system, we need to do this type of thing throughout the economy. Ray Anderson laid out a solid way of doing this except he listened to Amory Lovins too much about “the evils of” nuclear power. Your following your engineer’s nose for efficiency is right on.
We waste so much in our economy it is not even funny, you understand this better than most. So do I. I compost like you do too, the tea my worms make is incredible. I don’t pay for fertilizer and I don’t have to buy those silly bags to put on the street. My urban family of 4 generates 2-3 tall kitchen bags of trash each week. You and I are on the same page here. However, you are mistaken to think that wind power improves the efficiency of the grid, my cost analysis is on wind farms not biomass or other useful technologies. Wind power does have its place in our economy, just not where the subsidies are pushing it.
For my references, I stick to JSTOR, Elsevier, Sciverse, etc. As for more present day issues, I use a custom google news feed and supplement that with the WSJ, NY Times, FT, and the Economist. I also fact check energy issues as much as I can to do as what Rod says, read between the lines, which I am still learning how to do more effectively. The books I read deal with economics, statistics, statistical physics, statistical thermodynamics, and quantum physics. I am reading Spinoza, Hayek, Peirce, and von Mises to understand why. So judge me by what I read.
As for environmentalist credentials, I think Intrinsic Valuation is very close (just needs to readjust its track with non-anthropocentrism), Resilience Theory is spot on (needs a more rigorous foundation), and deep ecology saying we are all in this together (not the Regan, go kill myself to save the insects kind out of some form of ecological guilt that someone else says I should have). I also see no conflict with these values and advancing industry, burning more coal, and closing the economic cycle, as long as all cost externalities are accurately accounted based on our knowledge. I do see a conflict with wind power and solar power in the manner in which they are being forced on the economy.
Air quality is not universally good throughout the US or throughout the year. Here is just one recent example description:
As you have pointed out, some of the problem is caused by traffic, but there is a significant component caused by burning coal in grandfathered installations that were built before the Clean Air Act and that do not have to meet its standards. Much of the knashing of teeth within the power generation industry about the “new” rules that are being implemented by the EPA is actually based on the concern about the effect of FINALLY bringing those old units into compliance with a law that was passed about two decades ago.
Of course Rod is wrong (again) but it shows how an English major thinks even with limited nuclear training. I provide Rod a link where he could check air quality and he provides a link to a the site that we all love for accuracy on nuclear energy, NYT.
Unfortunately investigative journalism has come down to English majors interviewing other English majors. Where is the questioning attitude Rod?
Of course the pollutant of concern that gossip mongers attribute to coal plants killing people is PM 2.5 not ozone. Second this is actually an indication of good air quality.
So when Rod wants to relax the standards for nuke plants which we have no trouble meeting, what is happening to other industries.
The standard are getting stricter.
“Measurements are averaged over eight-hour periods, at ground level; the federal standard, set in 2008, is 75 parts per billion. ”
That right the previous Governor of Texas and then POTUS Bush.
““Without argument, our ozone is much better than it was 5 to 10 years ago,” said Matthew Tejada, executive director of the environmental group Air Alliance Houston, who credits tighter federal emissions requirements for cars, plus some cleanup of industry in the Houston area. ”
Apparently Rod did not read or understand what the article said. Furthermore, it has nothing to do with making electricity. Old coal-fired power plants are in compliance with federal and state regulations.
Rod’s double standard is a slippery slope for the nuke industry. The power industry needs consistent regulations. Just tell what the requirement is! However, using the legal system to reinterpret regulations because you have an agenda to close coal plants is being done by the same people who work to close nuke plants.
Rod policy idea are wrong because is does not understand the science. Anyone who can qualify EOOW and spout LNT nonsense has the ability to learn. This is just ALARA hammered by the feds on everyone else.
The problem with 75 ppm ozone is that it is like setting limits below background. A certain amount of pollutions is natural. The sensitivity of individuals varies widely. Good air quality is easy to define as is bad air quality. At 120 ppm ozone that used to be common in California, air quality was bad with harmful effects easily identified. If you spent a lifetime at those levels, many people would have chronic illness especially if they smoked.
However, the dose response is not linear. The slope of the curve below 80 ppm is one. So when Obama want to get tough and make the limit 70 ppm, it is just playing to his base.
Bush changed things. We debated what new standards should be for several years. The new standards made our electric bills higher but did not make are are cleaner because our air was below the new limits. Obama has brought back Clintons’s era of uncertainty. For those who missed it, the first thing Obama did was chuck Yucca mountain.
Fine Dumas (a place in Texas), if 25 Rem is too low what number does Rod suggest? Again let me remind you, we are not having any problems meeting 25 Rem. Just as we never had a problem meeting 5 Rem/year for operators at nuke plant.
Rod would feel right at home in that city in Texas. Rod gets upset about problems that do not exist. The first step in problem solving is to make sure you have a problem.
Rod is also incorrect about having a questioning attitude too. It is not some slogan to attack people who disagree. So while I never questioned the specifications for steam generator chemistry or diesel fuel, I did question my people who were performing the test.
I could have gotten rid of all the BS that I had to worry about with exposure controls, easily shaving 2-3 million off of 22 million availabilities. I could also have gotten rid of some administrative programs that served no useful purpose had the Navy evaluated exposure controls appropriately (non LNT).
The NRC if given a level of radiation exposure that is safe will hold designs to that level. I have the utmost confidence in their integrity especially after witnessing what happened on Oct 13th. The “extra” margin is a waste. Your an engineer, specifically a mechanical engineer. So here is an example you will understand perfectly.
When you design your condensers you put a margin in for sub cooling the liquid to prevent condensate pump cavitation. We also elevate the condenser well above the condesnate pumps to give a higher static head. The design usually tries to minimize the sub cooling to reject only as much heat as is necessary and prevent pump cavitation. What you are suggesting is to use a conservative estimate and set the sub cooling to 15 degrees instead of 1-2 degrees. The pumping power that is required to achieve the necessary flow rate and the additional heat that is rejected from your system kills the thermodynamic efficiency.
I think there is a threshold for exposure it is on the order of magnitude of 100-200 Rem/yr. Thus an effective exposure control level would be less than the threshold but only slightly. That would represent a fundamental shift in design philosophy and allow nuclear power to realize its full potential for humanity.
RadCon would become something like the stuff we have to deal with in OSHA, just another industrial hazard, because what we do is dangerous, just not nearly as dangerous as we think. What’s more hazardous a 12′ ladder or 100 rem in a year?
We have discussed this already, but I will keep repeating as required. The limit today, for new reactor designs, is NOT 25 rem. If it was, I would not be so frustrated. The real limit to which the NRC holds new designs is ALARA as specified in 10 CFR 50.34a
With numerical “goals” as specified in Appendix I.
“The calculated annual total quantity of all radioactive material above background1 to be released from each light-water-cooled nuclear power reactor to unrestricted areas will not result in an estimated annual dose or dose commitment from liquid effluents for any individual in an unrestricted area from all pathways of exposure in excess of 3 millirems to the total body or 10 millirems to any organ.”
Cal you have a bad case of penny wise and pound fooling.
Reliability is the key. A nuke plant with a 101% CF produces the most electricity and makes the most money. Using the example of NPSH, squeezing another 1% by reducing margin could be defended. However, if 2% was possible but increased the risk of a condensate pump trip leading to scram would defeat any gain.
When you are buying fossil fuel, efficiency is really important. When you have a high capital cost project, you need to maximize availability.
With respect to annual exposure, Cal fail to provide a good justification. Typically, occupational exposures are set an two orders of magnitude before below LOAEL. Chemical hazards are actually much harder to deal with. For example, breath nitrogen and you are dead before hit the floor. Anhydrous Ammonia, dead! Hydrochloric acid, you have ten seconds to get out the room. Lower does just replace the calcium in your bones, slow death. There is another nitrogen compound, do not feel a thing. You just home and die. If you tell some one you were exposed, they will keep you alive in the hospital. My favorite is hydrogen sulfide. No better way to go than be overcome and pass out face first into a pile of cow manure.
“What’s more hazardous a 12′ ladder or 100 rem in a year? ”
It does not matter. Never had a problem keeping exposure below 5 Rem. If some college kit wants to have an esoteric debate about LNT he is going have to find someone else. Going to make Cal use the ladder safely too. Not a choice.
We are going to make electricity safely. You can do what you want at your house but if you want work in the power you have to follow the rules.
“… breath nitrogen and you are dead before hit the floor.”
Indeed. This is news given that the air around us is some 78% nitrogen.
We had to deal with the nitrogen threshold on the boat a good bit. The lower limit of oxygen was 16% and 150 mTorr the remainder was nitrogen and hydrogen sulfide from all the recycled farts we had to breathe. If you ever wondered why bubble heads smell the way we do there’s your answer.
Now if the nitrogen content fell too far in regard to oxygen then we had a different problem, sailors who liked to clean and cigarettes that would burn in one long drag. Go much further and those recycled farts would spontaneously combust. Seems like a hormetic response to me.
Never had a problem keeping exposure below 5 Rem.
None of us have had any problems keeping doses below that level. The problem that Cal and I are talking about is the BEIR justified, NRC driven, and INPO encouraged effort to ratchet doses down to As Low as Reasonably Achievable (ALARA). It makes sense to me to keep doses below a limit like 5 REM per year. It makes no sense at all to expend billions of dollars and tens of thousands of man hours to figure out ways to bring the average man rem at a plant down from 200 extra mrem per year to 150 extra mrem per year.
It makes no sense at all to realize that the big hurdle for which billions were expended at Yucca Mountain was to meet the EPA established standard of no more than 15 mrem per year to the most exposed individuals over an evaluation period that stretched from 10,000 years to 1,000,000 years and assumed that all of the protective layers of the engineered barriers disappeared.
The point of a good engineering design is one that is reliable, robust and resilient. There is a book “Resilience Thinking” that talks about it. It is an ecological book, however its analogy to engineering and economic systems is quite pertinent and is what I’ll talk about. There is an optimal margin to the threshold that is not some arbitrary specification. The opertors of a nuclear reactor want it up when they need it, spurious trips due to loss of NPSH of the condensate pump directly effect the operational reliability of the reactor. Coal plants have some concern for this but not to the extent that nuclear plants do as you are well aware. The most resilient point is defined by the one that yields the highest thermodynamic efficiency
Nuke plants care about efficiency perhaps more than fossil plants. More power going down the wire means more profit. The marginal cost of fuel for nuclear is so low compared to the price of electricity that most any efficiency improvements will pay for themselves very shortly. 0.1% is a significant gain and represents $438,000 in additional revenue. With a 5 year payback at 4% this represents $2MM in revenue. So the 1% that you are talking about is $20MM. Engineers for the most part do not understand the impact or the consequences of the financial payback of the system that they design. It is not something taught in college. It is learned through trial and error. Which is unfortunate. The trade off that happens with increased efficiency is that the system often has a lower resilience. The loss of resilience carries a monetized value. Think of it as every spurious trip costs $2MM/day. The engineer has to understand this in order to be able to design systems that a customer (utility wants)
Second point, economics is very unforgiving about losses of economic efficiency. We have mostly an open market with some distortions (many non trivial). Utilities have to obtain capital from investors, retained earnings or debt, and they must compete with others for these same limited resources. The burden that overregulation (e.g. ALARA) imposes has the similar type of impact as does excessive subcooling. There is a need for some controls above and beyond what will keep you safe in order to make the work efficient and the plants reliable. My point is that the complexity in determining the most efficient point is best left to the industry. The governments role is to specify that which is safe and impose consequences for not meeting that standard. I hope that Japan showed you who knows best how to run a nuclear reactor. A bureaucrat or a licensed and trained operator that has the freedom to make the operational decisions that they need.
The ladder example was to give you an example of a common industrial hazard. OSHA imposes restrictions for working above 6′ off the floor. Radiation is nothing special, just another force in nature that we are evolved to deal with.
“is NOT 25 rem. ”
Rod is wrong again! The limit Rod cited is for normal operation. I would expect the actual exposure from a modern plant to be zero at the fence. Have not checked this many years. It been a long time since I have had responsibility for those systems. Really glad that I never had to worry about coal ash. Old coal plants without a bag house would actual have higher airborne.
The problem is only one that Rod made up.
I disagree with your interpretation of the regulations; so does the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Here is an important definition from 10 CFR 50.2
Safety-related structures, systems and components means those structures, systems and components that are relied upon to remain functional during and following design basis events to assure:
(1) The integrity of the reactor coolant pressure boundary
(2) The capability to shut down the reactor and maintain it in a safe shutdown condition; or
(3) The capability to prevent or mitigate the consequences of accidents which could result in potential offsite exposures comparable to the applicable guideline exposures set forth in § 50.34(a)(1) or § 100.11 of this chapter, as applicable.
10 CFR 50.34(a)(1) begins with the following statement describing its applicability:
“An application for a construction permit shall include a description of the preliminary design of equipment to be installed to maintain control over radioactive materials in gaseous and liquid effluents produced during normal reactor operations, including expected operational occurrences. In the case of an application filed on or after January 2, 1971, the application shall also identify the design objectives, and the means to be employed, for keeping levels of radioactive material in effluents to unrestricted areas as low as is reasonably achievable. The term “as low as is reasonably achievable” as used in this part means as low as is reasonably achievable taking into account the state of technology, and the economics of improvements in relation to benefits to the public health and safety and other societal and socioeconomic considerations, and in relation to the use of atomic energy in the public interest. The guides set out in appendix I to this part provide numerical guidance on design objectives for light-water-cooled nuclear power reactors to meet the requirements that radioactive material in effluents released to unrestricted areas be kept as low as is reasonably achievable. These numerical guides for design objectives and limiting conditions for operation are not to be construed as radiation protection standards.”
The generally accepted definition of “expected operational occurrences” includes any design bases accidents. Here is the definition of design bases from 10 CFR 50.2:
Design bases means that information which identifies the specific functions to be performed by a structure, system, or component of a facility, and the specific values or ranges of values chosen for controlling parameters as reference bounds for design. These values may be (1) restraints derived from generally accepted “state of the art” practices for achieving functional goals, or (2) requirements derived from analysis (based on calculation and/or experiments) of the effects of a postulated accident for which a structure, system, or component must meet its functional goals.
The way I read those rules, the real design bases for nuclear plants that will be built in the future is to maintain doses as low as reasonably achievable. The numerical limits in Appendix I that have been established as “goals” that are enforced during the give and take license application review process are onerous and not based on protecting human health.
You have often snidely called me just an English major, but English majors learn to read pretty carefully. Many of them end up going to law school. Some of them get jobs based on their ability to read and write and to understand technical jargon.
Rod make being wrong an art form!
“The generally accepted definition of “expected operational occurrences” includes any design bases accidents.”
I do have a copy on 10CFR50 on my desk. I will explain Rod’s mistake by way of an example. One of the systems I am responsible for is a safety system (which is also an engineered safety feature). An example of AOO that makes it a safety system would be a steam generator tube rupture because of the frequency of occurrence. For a SGTR, my system must continue to function during another AOO which is loss of off site power. The off site dose for this AOO is evaluated in FSAR Chapter 15. Since my system is operated from the control, the exposure resulting from the SGTR must be below the limit.
So far no mention of a DBA.
My safety systems is also required to get to cold shutdown during a LOOP. The point here is that the order of event makes a difference in the analysis, it does not matter to the design of the system. While is not very credible that two infrequent AOO would happen at the same time, those are the rules.
So far no mention of a DBA. For a DBA like a small break LOCA my system is available but does not actually get credited. It still has to function for a LOOP but not a SGTR. The off site dose limits change because it is an very infrequent event.
Since my system is a safety system, it must be single failure proof considering hazards such as fire, flooding, earthquake, internal missiles, and you name it. What this means is each train of the system is segregated in separate rooms in the lowest floor for NPSH reason.
Then my good friend who worries about exposure explains in FSAR Chapter 12 how great the ALARA is. While all that concrete is not needed for shielding is is needed to keep the building functional in an earthquake.
Over in FSAR Chapter 12, this all explained with the the results stating the exposure at various locations is a very small number. Like I said before in all practicality zip, zero, nada.
In his inexperience Rod did not read regulations correct nor understand the physical ramifications.
Rod is simply wrong about stationary power plants that he has never worked at.
@Kit – thank you for the education. I am not sure you have actually disagreed with my contention that proving that new nuclear power plants keep doses as low as reasonably achievable is doable but significantly more expensive than it should be. However, since the cost I am trying to address is revenue for you, the good friend who worries about exposure, or other members of your team, perhaps there is a reason you are so defensive.
Quite frankly, I would be okay with the cost if we could simply make the permission process more predictable. Has your system actually received a design certification yet?
You are also correct that I have never worked at a commercial stationary power plant. (I did qualify on a land based prototype for a ship reactor, but that does not really count as a stationary power plant.) Perhaps you would prefer if the field of pronuclear bloggers were limited to only people who have had that experience instead of having a few who at least have the experience of operating a power reactor, training a department, and completing 11 patrols underway on nuclear power.
“Kit I want people like you who are arrogant ”
Cal I am not arrogant, I am accomplished. My accomplishments do not take away from the accomplishments of others. I work with many fine people who are also accomplished.
I have no problem being wrong. If people point out where an wrong, I will learn from it. Gosh Cal, I am not having say that with you are Rod. If people who have no experience in commercial nuclear power find more than typos I would find it troubling.
One of my accomplishments in high school was making the tennis team. Not because I am a great player but I worked hard. I was the only one on the team that did not belong to the country club. When we won the city finals I know members of the other team were laughing at me because the worse player on the private school looked so much better than me. I won on hustle and playing patty cake.
Our coach told us that tennis was sport we could play all of our lives. It was about having fun. Losing your temper and throwing your racket was a good way to get booted off the team. My mom had a framed picture on her desk. She clipped the team picture from the paper when we won city. Did I mention that the bosses son went to a private school and was one of the best players in the state?
The point is getting the job done. The object is to provide power to our customers when and where they need it. LNT and EROI are used in blog to debate policy by people who do not produce energy. I do not need to know anything about them to get the job done.
NPSH is a different matter. Every navy nuke knows about NPSH. I had an engineer who went to the same university as me ask what NPSH. Still have the folder for explaining NPSH at brown bag lunches. It is a concept that is not stressed enough college.
“However, you are mistaken to think that wind power improves the efficiency of the grid ”
I am not mistaken because I did not say that. I will not waste anymore time explaining the difference to Cal between actually wind farms and imaginary ones that allow you to make up whatever you want.
“So judge me by what I read. ”
I do not care what you read, it is the stupid things you say. What power plant does Spinoza work at?
“I do see a conflict with wind power and solar power in the manner in which they are being forced on the economy. ”
Really Cal, do you believe every press release? If PR was electricity we would be getting 720% of electricity from wind and solar. Wind and solar is Mickey Mouse. Cal listen to this it will help you when you are an old nuke like me. There is cycle for every generation to learn that wind and solar is not sustainable because it breaks and turns to junk.
The cost of a new nuke plant should include a 4 kw solar panel on the roof of the admin building. BTW, damn thing does have to work just look good in the picture.
Kit, I am going to guess you won’t find any disagreement at all on the following quote. I may even have to borrow it.
“If PR was electricity we would be getting 720% of electricity from wind and solar.”
“However, since the cost I am trying to address is revenue for you, the good friend who worries about exposure, or other members of your team, perhaps there is a reason you are so defensive. ”
Rod is a prick! I see no reason to be civil when someone infers you are dishonest.
Rod did not even bother to go read FSAR Chapter 12 for a new plant. I did! One of the things we did to improve frequency of core damage is to move the water in the refueling water storage tank inside the containment. This also lowers cost since there is no big RWST sitting next the containment building. One less big round thing. In FSAR Chapter 12 we took credit as ALARA.
My friends who write FSAR Chapter 12 gets paid the same for answering less than 1 mrem as they would less than 100 mrems. The answer would be the same because it is below the requirement.
Rod I do not care how many patrols you have. I hope your mother was as proud as of you mine was. However, Rod you keep getting upset about things based on false assumptions. It is a sailors right to complain I suppose. My first ship was CNO Zumwalt first ship during WWII. As a MM3, I stood watch in ER #2, port and starboard and hot bunked. We were always on water hours, we did not take showers period. We were were too tired to care. One of my SLJO duties was to the junior officer on a committee to listen complaints from the crew. It was new nuke cruiser with beautiful berthing and all the hot water one could use to take showers. The complaint, the location of the color TV. The XO ‘punished’ me by booting me from the for committee for lack of empathy and falling asleep. On my second ship, I would always sit next to the captain during training. He would fall asleep and jerk awake. This would wake me so he would not catch me sleeping.
I never lost any sleep over ALARA. Do you want my list of expensive BS that the navy could eliminate?
The NRC Chairman evaluates his performance as stellar. He did indeed held 38 public commissions meetings, issued 92 formal decisions, had 10 closed Commission meetings and discussed overall agenda issues over 14 planning meetings.
I have told my boss yesterday that I have greatly improved on y communications skills as I have sent more than 2,000 emails, answered the phone 2,500 times and abstained from going to the bathroom between 9:00 and 10:00 every other Tuesday.
I want my raise now.
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