Nuclear Regulatory Commission Engineers Charge Government Coverup: Reactor Meltdown “Absolute Certainty” If Dam Fails … 100s of Times More Likely than Tsunami that Hit Fukushima

Massive Cover-Up of Risks from Flooding to Numerous U.S. Nuclear Facilities

Numerous American nuclear reactors are built within flood zones:

http://www.scienceprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/NuclearFloodsFinal_Highres.png

As one example, on the following map (showing U.S. nuclear power plants built within earthquake zones), the red lines indicate the Mississippi and Missouri rivers:

 Nebraska Nuclear Threat: As Predictable as Fukushima

Reactors in Nebraska and elsewhere were flooded by swollen rivers and almost melted down.  See this, this, this and this.

No wonder, nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen said:

Sandbags and nuclear power shouldn’t be put in the same sentence.

And the Huntsville Times wrote in an editorial last year:

A tornado or a ravaging flood could just as easily be like the tsunami that unleashed the final blow [at Fukushima as an earthquake].

The Hill notes today:

An engineer with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) says the agency has withheld documents showing reactor sites downstream of dams are vulnerable to flooding, and an elevated risk to the public’s safety.

Richard Perkins, an NRC reliability and risk engineer, was the lead author on a July 2011 NRC report detailing flood preparedness. He said the NRC blocked information from the public regarding the potential for upstream dam failures to damage nuclear sites.

Perkins, in a letter submitted Friday with the NRC Office of Inspector General, said that the NRC “intentionally mischaracterized relevant and noteworthy safety information as sensitive, security information in an effort to conceal the information from the public.” The Huffington Post first obtained the letter.

He added the NRC “may be motivated to prevent the disclosure of this safety information to the public because it will embarrass the agency.” He claimed redacted documents in a response to a Freedom of Information Act request showed the NRC possessed “relevant, notable, and derogatory safety information for an extended period but failed to properly act on it.”

The report in question was completed four months after … Fukushima.

The report concluded that, “Failure of one or more dams upstream from a nuclear power plant may result in flood levels at a site that render essential safety systems inoperable.”

Eliot Brenner, an NRC spokesman, told The Hill on Monday that the flooding report has been rolled into the agency’s “very robust” body of work on lessons learned post-Fukushima. He declined to comment directly on the letter.

“We cannot discuss the reasons for the redactions,” Brenner said. “The NRC coordinated with the Department of Homeland Security, the Army Corps of Engineers and FERC on the necessary redactions.”

Huffington Post reported:

In a letter submitted Friday afternoon to internal investigators at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a whistleblower engineer within the agency accused regulators of deliberately covering up information relating to the vulnerability of U.S. nuclear power facilities that sit downstream from large dams and reservoirs.

***

These charges were echoed in separate conversations with another risk engineer inside the agency who suggested that the vulnerability at one plant in particular — the three-reactor Oconee Nuclear Station near Seneca, S.C. — put it at risk of a flood and subsequent systems failure, should an upstream dam completely fail, that would be similar to the tsunami that hobbled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in Japan last year.

***

The engineer is among several nuclear experts who remain particularly concerned about the Oconee plant in South Carolina, which sits on Lake Keowee, 11 miles downstream from the Jocassee Reservoir. Among the redacted findings in the July 2011 report — and what has been known at the NRC for years, the engineer said — is that the Oconee facility, which is operated by Duke Energy, would suffer almost certain core damage if the Jocassee dam were to fail. And the odds of it failing sometime over the next 20 years, the engineer said, are far greater than the odds of a freak tsunami taking out the defenses of a nuclear plant in Japan.

“The probability of Jocassee Dam catastrophically failing is hundreds of times greater than a 51 foot wall of water hitting Fukushima Daiichi,” the engineer said. “And, like the tsunami in Japan, the man‐made ‘tsunami’ resulting from the failure of the Jocassee Dam will –- with absolute certainty –- result in the failure of three reactor plants along with their containment structures.

“Although it is not a given that Jocassee Dam will fail in the next 20 years,” the engineer added, “it is a given that if it does fail, the three reactor plants will melt down and release their radionuclides into the environment.”

***

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Huffington Post, Richard H. Perkins, a reliability and risk engineer with the agency’s division of risk analysis, alleged that NRC officials falsely invoked security concerns in redacting large portions of a report detailing the agency’s preliminary investigation into the potential for dangerous and damaging flooding at U.S. nuclear power plants due to upstream dam failure.

Perkins, along with at least one other employee inside NRC, also an engineer, suggested that the real motive for redacting certain information was to prevent the public from learning the full extent of these vulnerabilities, and to obscure just how much the NRC has known about the problem, and for how long.

“What I’ve seen,” Perkins said in a phone call, “is that the NRC is really struggling to come up with logic that allows this information to be withheld.”

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  • MrCoto

    Mankind signed its death warrant the day we decided to build the first nuclear plant. There really is nothing else to say. We are a doomed species. As smart as we is as insane as we are.

    • http://www.marijuanaparty.ca/article.php3?id_article=161 Blair T. Longley

      Unfortunately, you appear to be right … at least within the foreseeable future. The way that atomic energy was developed was the spearhead of the rest of our insanities!

      ALL OF OUR INSANITIES GOT AMPLIFIED TO ASTRONOMICAL SIZES!

      The social facts are that the people who are the best at being dishonest, and backing that up with violence, ended up controlling civilization. Their established systems are making them more wealthy and more powerful, and more able to get away with doing things that evidence and logical arguments should stop us doing. However, the people who make the real decisions have already decided to deliberately ignore any evidence or logical arguments that they do not like. Atomic power plants ONLY exist due to the history of subsidizing making atomic bombs. The decisions to operate atomic power plants takes place inside of that context.

      What worries me the most is that sometime in the 1990s it appears that those utterly insane people that control our civilization, simply because they were the best at deceit and destruction, have decided that depleted uranium weapons were acceptable to use. Policies of first strike use of atomic weapons have been adopted. The original, patently obvious, total insanity of using nuclear weapons to “win” wars has apparently been embraced as an acceptable idea by the people now in control.

      I like to believe that the development of atomic power is going to EVENTUALLY turn out to be like the discovery of photosynthesis. Nothing else in human history comes remotely close in potential magnitude. Remember, oxygen was the pollution caused by photosynthesis. The greatest revolutions, in the sense of re-evolutionary convergences, were due to the stress of photosynthesis upon the life forms that existed before that, which forced all of them to go through dramatic transformations, back and forth, in and out, for billions of years, through wild oscillations of the consequences of the development of photosynthesis.

      Atomic power is billions of times bigger than the social pyramid systems of Neolithic civilization, based on the compression of ignorance and fear wielded by a minority to control the majority. Atomic power MUST necessarily blow Neolithic civilization away, one way or another, sooner or later! I like to think there could survive to evolve some translithic civilization after that ???

      Bertrand Russell wrote in The Impact of Science on Society, in 1951, “Science offers the possibility of far greater well-being for the human race than has ever been known before. It offers this on certain conditions: abolition of war, even distribution of ultimate power, and limitation of the growth of population.”

      Although Russell was one of the leading thinkers about the problems caused by atomic bombs, I do not believe he thought thoroughly through the issue of the UNITY proven by the fact that those bombs DO GO BOOM!

      Matter is a form of energy. There is no fundamental dichotomy between matter and energy. I believe we should see that the concept of “energy” is as close as we now can get to the concept of spirit. Thus, the fact that atomic bombs go boom PROVES that the material world is an awesomely intense concentration of the spiritual world. Indeed, most of the progress in science has been done through understanding UNITARY MECHANISMS, to better understand the older false fundamental dichotomies, or categorical categories.

      More than anything else, we need to apply that way of thinking to militarism, in the murder systems that do the death controls. ONLY in world where there is a standing force of thousands of atomic bombs, on missiles ready to launch after the turn of few keys, would there also be nuclear power plants allowed to be operating in the unsafe ways that they are today. ONLY in a world where our civilization is constantly preparing to commit suicide would we not do something better than make electricity from atomic power, in the ways that we do today.

      The overall situation is that Neolithic civilization has channelled progress in science and technology through the social pyramid system. Therefore, primarily we have employed those powers to become better at being dishonest, and backing that up with violence. Therefore, we now have a global fiat money electronic fraud, backed by atomic bombs. Generally, the history that made War King morphed to make Fraud King. The decisions to build atomic bombs and atomic power plants are made by the mad Fraud Kings. Those decisions are made by people who are professional liars and immaculate hypocrites, who have excelled at deliberately twisting evidence and logical arguments into pretzels! ONLY inside an economic system controlled by fiat money, made out of nothing, as debts, could the economics of atomic power plants make “sense.”

      However, to return Bertrand Russell’s conditions for our future greater well-being, we obviously do have to find some ways to limit the growth of population. There ARE chronic political problems inherent in the nature of life, and they MUST be resolved in some way. To put forward another suggestion for a unitary mechanism in that regard, I would say that what we now call “birth control” is actually death control.

      If we not indulge in periodic wars, to resolve our conflicts, then we must deal with the chronic problems in some other ways. We need radically different combined money/murder systems. We need to take the oldest and best developed of social sciences, namely warfare, through profound paradigm shifts. Indeed, all of our political sciences need to be transformed just as much as our physics and biology already have been! The standing INSANELY SUICIDAL threats from atomic bombs, and atomic power plants, require that we radically transform both our money and murder systems.

      That is theoretically possible! … We are not necessarily totally doomed. However, all of the established social and political systems are necessarily doomed! We could survive and flourish, but ONLY if we transform our ways of thinking and behaving, in astronomically amplified ways, in proportion to how much we have been transformed by the progress in basic physics and mathematics. I know that sounds preposterous, but the back up system is natural selection, to drive corrections to our current systems of artificial selection. Of course, such political and social changes go totally off the scale of anything we can imagine now! To begin with, the existence of atomic energy, as a scientific theory, proven to be real and practical, requires that we totally change our ideas about time and space. Indeed, the changes to our civilization which would be required to fully adapt to atomic energy would require us adopting a totally new calendar and chronometer, and set of coordinates.

      Like I said, atomic energy is certainly going to Blow Neolithic Civilization Away! However, we could theoretically adapt, if we changed ourselves as much as the development of photosynthesis changed life on Earth in the past.

  • Paul Noel

    US TVA Brownsferry Nuclear Plant was knocked off line losing all 6 power lines into the plant on April 27, 2011 by a tornaodo. It operated on backup generators for nearly 2 weeks until a line was rebuilt into the plant. US TVA was the failure of a backup generator or fuel supply away from meltdown of 3 big reactors at Decatur Al. Fortunately they got the lines up.
    If the TVA Wheeler Dam were to fail, all cooling water to Brownsferry would be lost. The dam was built in 1935 and all the rebar in the cement is rusting out. The dam is 77 years old and has an estimated life span of about 100 years. No plans exist for repair or replacement of the dam to bring it into safe condition.
    In 1973 there was a big flood on the Tennessee River which shoved water more than 1.5 feet deep over the Guntersville Dam upstream of Brownsferry. This could have washed the dam out. The dam was upgraded with big concrete wing walls to prevent this. The risk is very real of dam failure.
    If an earthquake happened in the region the failure of a large dam such as the one near the US TVA reactors up stream of Chattanooga at Watts Bar an earth dam is very likely. This simply isn’t the only such location with these risks. The evacuation if such an event triggered meltdown would cause the evacuation depending on the wind as far as Washington DC.
    There can be no effort more important than making sure that these reactors are replaced with safer technology.

  • http://www.worldcomplex.blogspot.com mickeyman

    One of the important issues is that some of these plants were designed to withstand, say, the 100-year event. Since their design, the size of the 100-year flood has increased due to urbanization and land-use changes.

    Many of these plants are protected from flooding by earthworks, which are notoriously prone to failure by undermining, particularly after prolonged periods of flooding, or after repeated episodes. Were you a homeowner with land partially protected by one of these berms, you would need to inspect it for seepage after every event. Is this done for nuclear power plants? Or are there simply forms filled out and boxes ticked?

    I have some dry articles one these topics here.
    http://worldcomplex.blogspot.ca/2011/06/nuclear-power-and-geologic-hazard-3.html
    http://worldcomplex.blogspot.ca/2011/03/nuclear-power-and-geologic-hazards-2.html

  • Steve

    Wait a sec… You mean to tell me the Government colluded with itself to prevent the disclosure of potentially deadly factors plaguing our nuclear plants? To prevent embarrassment?

    Well, good. Because if all those people died in an accident that could have been prevented, no one will be embarrassed by it. And that’s what’s important.

 

 

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