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Hanford Nuclear Emergency and the Legacy of Reactors Worldwide

tom baxter

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#1
Instructions for people to shelter in place were expanded from central Hanford to all of Hanford, including LIGO and the reactor areas along the Columbia River, after the aerial survey. No one is being allowed to enter the site beyond the security barricades.

Earlier in the morning workers near Purex had noticed a 4-foot-by-4-foot depression that was 2 to 4 feet deep over the tunnel.
As a reminder, during the Cold War, the project was expanded to include nine nuclear reactors and five large plutonium processing complexes, which produced plutonium for most of the 60,000 weapons in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Alas, the site has been leaking ever since, as many of the early safety procedures and waste disposal practices were inadequate
This current event at Hanford is low level and one of several that have occurred around the world in the past decades. More troubling is the frequency of actual nuclear meltdowns in active reactors, which are expected to occur roughly every 20 years. Consider Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island Nuclear accident in 1979, Ukraine’s Chernobyl Nuclear meltdown in 1986, Japan’s Fukushima in 2011.

Every time a major nuclear accident occurs the world is told it was an unforeseen disaster and the assumption we make is that it won't happen again because the experts in charge of these plants will learn from prior mistakes. The reality is far different though, and in a world of competitive pricing and aging reactors I would expect the frequency of these disasters to increase. I for one wouldn't want to be living downwind from one.

Here is a paper on it. Just ignore the math and read the text and you'll be fine :)
https://arxiv.org/pdf/1405.6658.pdf

Excerpt:

One observes immediately that, given the empirical data, the probability that
the industry’s PRA-based conclusions are right is astronomically small. As we stated
in the introduction, this implies that with almost perfect certainty we can conclude
that the true frequency of accidents is much larger than the figures advertised by the
manufacturers.

In words, the results of Table 3 can be stated by means of the following straight-
forward conclusion: the historical data on nuclear accidents provides overwhelming
evidence that the methodology of probabilistic risk assessment is seriously flawed. A
corollary is that the observed frequency of accidents contradicts the industry’s claim
that the probability of an accident is negligible
 
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latemetal

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#3
A book I liked, "We almost lost Detroit" about when the Enrico Fermi reactor shit the bed and other hidden disasters, good reading.
 

BarnacleBob

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Sounds like something out of "The Report from Iron Mountain." If your gonna tell a lie, tell a big one, that way everyone believes it!

 

BarnacleBob

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Question: The electrical power grid overproduces electricity, this is a must to provide "peak power" capabilities. For instance lets say a home is using an average of 2000 watts of power per hour, the home is equiped with a central 220v a.c. unit & a deep well pump. Both the a.c. & well pump may require an addition of peak power to start. The home will momentarily require 4000 watts of peak power to start the devices. Which means the electrical grid must produce 4000 watts of power per hour even tho the home is on average only consuming 2000 watts. If the home does not have the 4000 watts available to start the devices an overload situation is created usually resulting in a complete shut down & power outage.

Thus the national electrical grid must produce a tremendous amount of excess power to accomodate peak demand when a.c. units, refrigerators, pumps and large motors, etc. start up. It is for this reason the U.S. economy is divided into four times zones, which aids in regulating the peak demand. IOW west coast Californians are not demanding peak power at the same time as east coast users... this allows the grid to adjust peak power usage & demand throughout the day.

The Question then is where does the excess unused peak power flow to? If it is not used somewhere the electrons would stack & load up, creating bottlenecks in the transmission wires which creates heat causing short outs (blackouts) on the grid.

Oil filled transformers are placed on poles & also at transformer stations to absorb the excess peak energy. The oil is heated by the excess unused power and the peak energy is bled away as heat... needless to say a lot of energy is completely wasted using this very inefficient method. A person tied to the grid isnt really paying for their actual energy usage, but rather they are subsidizing the luxury of having the peak power available. This is a dirty lil secret of the institutionalized electrical power monopolies...

Now that this is explained, how could/can the power companies bleed off & recapture the unused peak power? The peak unused power as stated creates heat, a lot of it as the electrons stack up, thus you could create a big heating element coil to divert the unused peak power (heat) into to create steam which would in turn be used to turn a turbine and regenerate new electricity. Such recycling devices would need to be located around the grid near high peak usage areas & near sources of water to release the heated water produced by the central heating element that creates the steam to drive the turbine.

Seems logical to me that a so called nuke plant could easily be used as a recycling generator device for the excess peak power.... Most people are unaware that EVERY nuke plant has its very own conventioal power plant on the premises.

Seems rather uncapitalistic that the electrical monopolies would not employ a device of some kind to recapture the unused energy produced by the demand for peak power! IMO nuke plants are serving this purpose. Which then begs the question of "what exactly is this excess energy" being used to produce? On the surface of the matter it would be logical to deduce that uranium is being enriched on the cheap by a reactor driven by the excess peak energy. The uranium once enriched is then used possibly by the U.S. Navy as fuel for their various nuclear driven ships & subs would be one guess. Dont know but another guess would be that possibly enriching uranium to create nuke fuels is such an expensive & energy intensive process that only excess peak energy is capable of driving the enrichment process. We must also consider that the U.S. Navy only uses nuke fuels for specific specialized vessels such as subs & carriers, vessels that must remain at sea without the necessity of refueling for long periods.

Firstly whatever the reason, the explainations that have been publicly provided concerning nuke plants doesnt hold up to a hard analysis & scrutiny concerning their actual function. Secondly why would or should I believe ANY publicly disseminated information by institutionalized monopolies when it is a proven FACT that 80% of such information is sanitized, deceptive, & even outright fraudulent. Thirdly, whatever function these plants are actually performing & being used for must be so detrimental to the public that it requires a complete public relations campaign built upon disinformation to create a consensus of acceptability.... for example when the industry began the PR campaign for nuke power they promised that this power would reduce monthly electric bills by 75% or more.... thus the general public blindly & unquestionably accepted their construction & operation. And of course it was a fraudulent lie....

Things to think about! Bottom line is that we just dont know beyond a shadow of a doubt what these devices are actually being used for, other than what we have been told... and what we have been told is disinformation at best... and of course I would wager the real story is buried in National Security & red tape to hide the facts.

JMO
 

Goldhedge

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#6
Post on Fakebook says it's much worse than they are letting on...

from a friend ...West from a group post on fb: "I live next to Hanford and know many who work out there. It is worse than the news is saying. People who live in N. Pasco, across the river & downwind, have been asked to leave their homes - not mandatory. The workers can not return until further notice. Saw 2 convoy of trucks military/mining. No planes in the area. The online radiation counters are offline in this area. The old timers say the stuff down there will devastate the world."


Tunnel collapses at Hanford nuclear waste site in Washington state


video

The clean-up operation of Hanford's nine nuclear reactors has been underway since 1989.(Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)

Hundreds of workers at the Department of Energy’s Hanford nuclear site in Washington state had to “take cover” Tuesday morning after the collapse of 20-foot-long portion of a tunnel used to store contaminated radioactive materials.

The Energy Department said it activated its emergency operations protocol after reports of a “cave-in” at the 200 East Area in Hanford, a sprawling complex about 200 miles from Seattle where the government has been working to clean up radioactive materials left over from the country’s nuclear weapons program.

The agency said in a statement that the 20-foot section is part of a tunnel that is hundreds of feet long and is “used to store contaminated materials.” The tunnel is one of two that run into the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility, also known as PUREX. The section that collapsed was “in an area where the two tunnels join together,” the department said.

The PUREX facility, once used to extract plutonium from spent nuclear fuel, has been idle for years but remains “highly contaminated,” the agency said.

Energy Department officials said there was “no indication of a release of contamination at this point” but that crews were still testing the area. Responders also were using a robot to take video and survey the damage. The department said that Energy Secretary Rick Perry had been briefed, adding that “everyone has been accounted for and there is no initial indication of any worker exposure or an airborne radiological release.”

But Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said there is still cause for concern. “It appears that this is a potentially serious event,” he said. “Collapse of the earth covering the tunnels could lead to a considerable radiological release.”

An August 2015 report by Vanderbilt University’s civil and environmental engineering department said the PUREX facility and the two tunnels had “the potential for significant on-site consequences” and that “various pieces of dangerous debris and equipment containing or contaminated with dangerous/mixed waste” had been placed inside the tunnels.


The portion of the 20-foot-long portion of a tunnel that collapsed at the 200 East Area in Hanford, Wash. (Hanford Site)

charged with the Hanford cleanup and with other nuclear sites. It has requested $6.5 billion for the agency’s environmental management program for 2018.

The budget for Hanford alone is about $2.3 billion in the current fiscal year, about $1.5 billion of that going to the management and treatment of approximately 56 million gallons of radioactive liquid waste stored in underground storage tanks.

Trump has been slow to fill science-related positions, and he has not yet named a new assistant secretary for environmental management; a career department employee is serving in an acting capacity.



During his recent confirmation hearing, Perry was asked by Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) about the Hanford site. “So are you committed to funding Hanford cleanup and what it takes and getting the waste treatment plant finished?” Cantwell asked.

“Senator, I’m committed to working with you and prioritizing what is one of the most dangerous, most polluted sites that we have in this country,” Perry replied. He vowed to visit Hanford and said he looked forward to “walking that site with you.”

On Tuesday, Cantwell issued a statement praising first responders and saying that she was monitoring reports. She said that “worker safety must be our number one priority, and we need to understand whether there has been any environmental contamination resulting from the subsidence at these tunnels.”

Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said in a statement he was aware that “a tunnel was breached that was used to bury radioactive waste from the production of plutonium at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.”

“This is a serious situation, and ensuring the safety of the workers and the community is the top priority,” Inslee said.

Chris Mooney contributed to this report.




https://www.washingtonpost.com/news...ton-state-reports-say/?utm_term=.50c509339303
 

BarnacleBob

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#8
The budget for Hanford alone is about $2.3 billion in the current fiscal year, about $1.5 billion of that going to the management and treatment of approximately 56 million gallons of radioactive liquid waste stored in underground storage tanks.
Thats a lot of pork! WTF?
 

the_shootist

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#9
We should send in all of our esteemed politicians to help clean up this mess. Have them do something for the people they represent...anything!