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24 Comments

  1. Whoever suggested to the Senator that she ask that question with that context is providing poor staff support and putting their member in a potentially embarrassing position.

    I agree that she needs new, better staff, but what do you expect when the only qualification to be on her staff is being terrified of firearms?

      1. Heh … Yeah, I remember that. I can’t tell whether he’s trying to be silly or is actually serious. Poor Mr. Johnson has some serious health problems.

      2. Johnson and Sheila Jackson Lee are two living, breathing arguments for IQ tests for elective office.  If the voters are dumb enough to elect morons, they deserve to be un-represented.

        1. I agree there should be some standard for cognitive functionality to hold elective office, especially at the federal level. As it is, these peoples’ votes count as much as an elected official who is informed and up to date on the subject matter. Our system has devolved to the point of where voters seem to elect those who promise them more material benefits (at the expense of productive citizens) instead of those who are capable of sifting the pros and cons of an issue and forming a position based on reason and logic.

  2. It is even more aggravating that Senator Feinstein asked such a question when a simple Google search using the keywords “crystal river containment delamination” would have given her staff 3,000 hits complete with explanations, reports, pictures, presentation slides, etc. Took me all of 10 minutes to find and read the most relevant items from this search to understand the gravity of this screw-up.

    Go figure….

    Enjoy!
    Flying Finn

    1. @Flying Finn

      This is why I choose to blame the staff for poor support of their member. It isn’t terribly reasonable to assume a mature senator like Senator Feinstein would be doing her own Googling, but she should be furious that her staff didn’t take the ten minutes it would have required to more effectively prepare her for the hearing.

      1. @Rod

        Agreed. We are on the same page. While it would be nice if Senators would do that, its not going to happen (another issue I have with today’s politicians – elitism). Sorry if that was not clear enough.

        Enjoy!
        Flying Finn

        1. @Flying Finn

          I guess by your definition, I’m an elitist. There are many reasons why people who earn positions of greater responsibility and oversight hire other people — often much younger and less experienced — to handle details. A society with abundant opportunity for all is not going to be a flat society with equal outcomes for all. There are enormous differences in ability, drive, determination, and age. It’s actually quite a good thing for society that we are not all equal, even if we strive for the ideal of being BORN equal.

          I only oppose the vast inequality that arises artificially out of differences in inherited wealth, access to familial networks, gender and membership in historically favored or disfavored clans.

          1. Rod,

            Your forgot the big one: the development of large corporations that
            a) have considerable market control and corresponding margins,
            b) nil shareholder control of executive compensation, This has been
            delegated to a board of directors that in turn is effectively controlled
            by management.

            In such a situation, there is no reason to expect that an executive’s
            income is a good measure of his economic value to society.

          2. @Rod,

            Actually, you are probably not an elitist in my definition. While this is moving away from the topic of the article, you can delegate too much to others to handle all of the details. The end result is you forget to ask the right probing questions or take a little bit of your own time to double check what your staff gave you.

            Since you and I were both officers in the nuclear US Navy, I am sure you and I had plenty of situations where we depended on others to handle the details but having gone through the “doing” part every once in a while, even as an officer, was important to know what we were getting was proper and accurate.

            In the Senator’s case and many other politicians and bureaucrats in DC, they have become elitist because in their view they are too good, too important for handling the “details”, especially on what the average citizen goes through. Thus they become isolated from the citizenry they are suppose to serve. Not a good trait of a leader in my book.

            There is probably a lot more we could discuss, but I have to go do my home chores.

            Enjoy!
            Flying Finn

    2. A cracked containment structure takes down a plant with BRAND NEW STEAM GENERATORS…….. the USA is GODDAMN IDIOTIC!!!! Still blows my mind.

      1. @Bons 25

        That’s ALMOST as idiotic as having a single U-tube leaking at a rate of 75 gallons per day (when the tech spec limit for continued operation is 150 gallons per day) taking down TWO 1000 MWe plants with otherwise brand new steam generators and a just completed 2% power uprate package for both units.

        It continues to boggle my mind how badly our side’s lawyers were played by those serving the other team.

  3. Our “Solons” don’t even read the laws they vote on. Laws which are written by interchangeable, revolving door staff/lobbyists.

  4. If Aging Concrete is such a terrible, un-resolvable safety problem, maybe we better tear down:

    * 1/2 the hydro dams in the country
    * All old skyscrapers
    * All old concrete bridges

    Etc. . .

    Oh, wait, those can be fixed and restored? So why can’t nuclear plants?

    1. You said it. An example would be Hoover Dam, which is 80 years old. That is about twice the age of the oldest currently operating plant in this country, which I think is Oyster Creek. OCNGS is our pal Bas’ favorite whipping boy. Rarely does Bas post without throwing in a gratuitous smear of Oyster Creek. Anyway, if people out there are worried about concrete aging, they’d better go after things like Hoover or Grand Coulee Dam.

  5. The Chairman asked the questions: How many people have died as a product of a nuclear accident, and it hasn’t happened…My goal is, I know what can happen, and the key is to prevent it from happening.

    Let me ask you some questions about the Crystal River plant in Florida, which I gather operated for 36 years. We’re talking about 80 year licenses now. And apparently, the concrete began to separate in the dome, and that led to its shutdown.

    Could you tell me a little bit about that, and what happened, because if we’re gonna go for 80 year licenses, we oughta… This went in to the faulty steam generators in San Onofre, and I suppose they could’ve patched them and kept operating, but they didn’t. They did the responsible thing, and decomissioned it…. impeccably maintained… So, could you talk just a little bit about what happened at Crystal River in Florida?

    If you think you could ask a better question, then what is your suggested replacement?

    History suggests at least two percent of nuclear plants have “catastrophic failures” (Ostendorff) of other equipment during replacements of aging plant equipment, causing them to be permanently shutdown for financial reasons; What is the acceptable level of incompetence like this at nuclear power plants? How do we know that similar fubars do not occur without being detected? Does the NRC have sufficient funding and qualified staff to catch less obvious mistakes such as the leaking reactor vessel head at Davis Besse, before they become more serious?

    Crystal River 3 “was licensed to operate from December of 1976 to February 20, 2013.” or about 36 years.

    Is it true that Crystal River 3 replaced the reactor vessel head in 2003, after about 26 years, because, “The old head had cracked and had leaked small amounts of boric acid, causing corrosion. Rather than try to weld the crack every few years, the company decided it would be cheaper to replace the head?”

    Were the steam generators being replaced in 2009, after about 32 years, because they were were old?

    Why were the plants not designed for such replacements without requiring advanced knowledge of structures?

    Can you imagine any similar failures, at PV solar plants, which if undetected could lead to failure of safety systems to perform as intended?

    1. @Mala Metalloru

      You’re wearing out your welcome. I have answered question after question from you, yet you keep asking more that indicate a fixed position in opposition to using nuclear energy. You’re apparently not here because you are curious and want to learn, or here because you want to constructively engage in conversation about how to solve problems. My assessment is that you are simply here to argue with people with whom you always plan to disagree.

      In other words, you are acting in a troll-like fashion. You may stay if you change your actions, but if you have already made your decision about nuclear energy’s value in comparison with all other alternatives, please go find another place to spread your message.

    2. Can you imagine any similar failures, at PV solar plants, which if undetected could lead to failure of safety systems to perform as intended?

      Frankly, I can’t imagine a PV solar plant lasting 20 years, much less 30.

    3. Remember that we are now filling in a database of operational information about Generation II reactors that now have a significant operating history. This was not available to us prior to now. We could make estimates and projections based on use of similar apparatus in other applications, but a lot of it was first of a kind. The Generation I systems were primarily adaptations of marine systems (e.g., Shippingport), but the larger-scale Generation II systems were a fairly new breed. So much of what the industry has had to deal with involved issues that were not obvious when the initial designs for Generation Ii systems were proposed and deployed. All of what we have learned is or will be incorporated in Generation III systems and beyond, as needed if the overall system requires it. In fact, a lot of people were ahead of the game on this. One of my last projects as a graduate student (back in the early ’80s) was a design course wherein each student would come up with their own power plant design. Mine was an LWR unit with all replaceable components, including the pressure vessel and all BOP systems.

    4. Can I think of a better question? Yeah, one that doesn’t make the two following ridiculous and indefensible statements:

      1) That the (relentless and singular) goal should be preventing meltdowns from happening, even though (as we saw at Fukushima) they cause few if any deaths.

      (This in a world where fossil fueled power generation causes ~1000 deaths PER DAY, increased fossil fuel use being the main thing that results from a relentless effort to prevent meltdowns, at any cost.)

      2) Suggesting that the San Onofre operator did the “responsible” thing by electing not to continue operating the plant, and to use fossil fuels instead (despite the fact that fossil fuels are orders of magnitude more dangerous and harmful).

      We trying to do something about global warming or not?

      1. That the (relentless and singular) goal should be preventing meltdowns from happening, even though …

        Trying to prevent core damage is a very good goal, if for no other reason than core damage can be expensive.

        We trying to do something about global warming or not?

        Not. I’ve been pointing this out for years now.

        The biggest players who are fighting against “global warming” are either trying to sell you something or are trying to use this issue to secure their place in politics and further their agendas that have nothing to do with “saving the planet.”

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