Given that Small Animals Have REPEATEDLY Shut Down Nuclear Plants, Should We Really Be Running These Things?

Animals Have Repeatedly Shut Down Nuclear Plants

Rats have repeatedly shut down the Fukushima nuclear plant’s cooling systems.

But that’s not the first time that animals have foiled nuclear plants.

Dave Lochbaum – nuclear engineer with the Union of Concerned Scientists (interview here and here) – reported last year:

On December 29, 2012, a pelican started an emergency diesel generator for the Unit 2 reactor at the Surry nuclear plant in Virginia. The pelican contacted an overheard power cable causing a short that de-energized one of the connections between the plant and its offsite electrical power grid. One of the emergency diesel generators automatically started in response to indications that electrical voltage inside the plant were decreasing. Both reactors at Surry were operating at 100 percent power at the time and continued operating throughout the power disruption.

Another bird caused the Fermi Unit 2 reactor in Michigan to automatically shut down on September 14, 2012, after it landed in the switchyard containing electrical cables connecting the plant to its offsite electrical power grid.

The operators manually shut down the Unit 1 reactor at the St. Lucie nuclear plant in Florida on August 22, 2011, after a squad flotilla bunch of jellyfish blocked the screens at the intake station, significantly reducing the flow of cooling water to the plant.

The operators manually shut down the Unit 2 reactor at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California on October 21, 2008, after a bunch of jellyfish blocked the screens at the intake station, significantly reducing the flow of cooling water to the plant.

A snake slithering onto an overhead power cable on August 1, 2007, at the Hatch nuclear plant in Georgia caused a short that caught the wooden pole holding the cable on fire. The operators reduced the power level of the Unit 2 reactor about ten percent because the snake stopped the flow of electricity to some of the cooling towers. Workers declared an Unusual Event, the least severe of the NRC’s four emergency classifications, due to the fire that burned for over 10 minutes.

The operators manually shut down the Unit 2 reactor at the Point Beach nuclear plant in Wisconsin after “a large number of small forage fish” blocked the screens at the intake structure, significantly reducing the flow of cooling water to the plant.

The reactor at the Wolf Creek nuclear plant in Kansas automatically shut down from 100 percent power on September 4, 2000, after a squirrel caused an electrical short in the main power transformer.

The operators manually shut down the Unit 1 reactor at the St. Lucie nuclear plant in Florida on September 18, September 20, and September 22, 1993, after a bunch of jellyfish blocked the screens at the intake station, significantly reducing the flow of cooling water to the plant.

The LaCrosse nuclear plant in Wisconsin was disconnected from its offsite electrical power grid on July 16, 1984, when mayflies caused a power transformer to short out. Two emergency diesel generators automatically started to provide power to essential equipment at the plant.

Decentralized energy production is much safer.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.
  • kimyo

    i wonder if there’s a backup plan to provide cooling at indian point if the hudson freezes as it did in the winter of 1779-80:

    http://www.jerrypournelle.com/mail/2009/Q3/mail582.html

    Both the Hudson and East River froze in the really nasty winter of 1779-1780, “greatly alarming” the British Army occupying Manhattan Island. The island was now accessible by foot and the Royal Navy was completely immobilized. Without their fleet, to protect them the
    British “were in a fever of anxiety”.

    From the New York Times account of December 24, 1911:

    When New York Harbor Froze Over

    “The letters of Major Gen. James Pattison of New York, and the journal of the Hessian Lieutenant, Von Krafft, indicate how seriously the British were concerned for their safety, owing to the loss of their insular character of Manhattan Island and the paralysis of the British fleet.

    On January 17, 1780, Von Krafft crossed on the ice from New York to Long Island with an orderly without fear. During January and February people crossed the Hudson to New Jersey, and not only
    cord wood but the heaviest cannon were hauled between Jersey City and and New York on the ice.

  • Joffan

    Not a very impressive argument. Not even one incident per year across the whole fleet, accounting for a day or so of closure at one power station. The first incident listed didn’t even produce a power reduction – not sure why it’s in there.

    By way of an example of similar vulnerabilities in other systems, moderate snow can stop all solar PV production across a wide area.