San Onofre Nuclear Plant Safety Talk

Last night I went to the talk on SONGS nuclear safety by Caroline McAndrews, M.A.,
an engineer and director of License Renewal for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, and Japan earthquake response manager.  It will be on YouTube in the Distinctive Voices series from the Western National Academy of Sciences and Engineering in Irvine, CA.  I lost my notes on it when I accidentally erased my notes file on my iPhone.  But she did reassure the somewhat skeptical audience of the safety of all systems from a tsunami here.  The maximum earthquake seafloor rise that they foresee from going back analyzing faults for millions of years, is a seven foot one, which would generate a six foot tsunami.  Adding 21 feet for safety from tides and storm surges, leads to a 27 foot maximum water height, which is covered by their 30 foot high beach rise plus tsunami wall.  Also they have four emergency generators, where one is sufficient for one reactor.  They also have a week’s fuel storage.  They are also able to operate as an island if all resources are cut off after an earthquake.  The spent fuel pool is steel and concrete line, and the sealed containers for older spent fuel are impervious to water anyway.  It turns out that the spent fuel in Fukushima was not a problem after all.  They have better venting to avoid the problems with Fukushima where the valves could not be reached after the tsunami.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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