Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fire and Water

The rumors about impending nuclear disaster and a government-ordered news blackout at the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in Nebraska have turned out to be bullshit. Fortunately, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission did its job a couple years ago and ordered some flooding protection measures.

"Bottom line: The floods appear more annoying than destroying for Nebraska's nuclear plants," says nuclear engineer David Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nuclear industry critic. "If the NRC had not found the flooding protection shortcomings (at Fort Calhoun) last year and compelled the owner to fix them, chances increase considerably that the floodwater would have gotten into places that disabled equipment."
On the other hand, the wildfire that threatens to overtake the Los Alamos National Laboratory could be cause for serious concern. Let's hope that the radioactive waste onsite is indeed stored in fireproof vaults.

12 comments:

Deekaman said...

Of course they were and it certainly is. Difference?

Civilian nuclear plants are much more safely designed and operated than those run by the government or their contractors. Evidence? One only needs to look at Rocky Mountain Arsenal, the SL-1 disaster, Hanford, and Barnwell.

Civilian nuclear plant threats to the public...none (and I am including TMI in that).

Still like that Big Government thing?

Ordinary Jill said...

Japan's Fukishima plant is civilian-run.

Deekaman said...

Fukushima is not in the United States, nor is it germaine to this line. I am specifically referring to how poorly the government runs their own nuclear facilities vs civilian-run plants in this country.

Deekaman said...

And if you want to cover the reasons for the Fukushima mess, I can point to government as well.

Ordinary Jill said...

It was a federal government agency (the NRC) that is responsible for the flood-control measures that are now saving Fort Calhoun from a disaster.

Deekaman said...

Stay on point, please. I am not saying ALL government regulation is bad. I am saying two things here: There is over-regulation and lots of it and (and this is my main point), the government ddoesn't police itself. There are thousands of examples of the government doing exactly what will get us "commmoners" fined or jailed.

Ordinary Jill said...

You haven't argued your point very clearly. I assumed your first comment meant that Fort Calhoun is less of a public safety hazard than Los Alamos because civilian-operated nuclear facilities are better-run than government-operated ones. Is that really your contention?

Deekaman said...

Having been on the inside (i.e. the operation of) of both government-run and civilian nuclear facilities, yes.

And I was quite clear in my first comment.

Ordinary Jill said...

#1, "Of course they were and it certainly is" means what exactly? "Of course the rumors of disaster in Nebraska were bullshit and Los Alamos is certainly cause for concern?" Or perhaps "Of course the floods appear more annoying than destroying and the radioactive waste is certainly stored in fireproof vaults?" Your meaning was obscured by unspecified pronouns and missing descriptors.
#2, Fort Calhoun is owned and operated by the Omaha Public Power District, a municipal government entity, so I'm not sure how it differs from Los Alamos for purposes of your argument.

Dan said...

If it weren't for Harry Reid and other NV politicians, they could have sent it to NV. And if it is low grade nucear material, they still could.

Deekaman said...

The answer to #1 should be obvious.

OPPD remains is not operated by the Feds and is under the jurisdiction of NRC. It is therefore a "civilian" nuclear plant for the purposes of this discussion. Los Alamos is operated by DOE/DOD with no other oversight.

You comments seemed to indicate you understood, but apparently not.

I have no issue with the idea of Federal oversight of civilian nuclear power plants. My ONLY point here remains that the Federal government (as in so many other cases) willfully chooses to not follow the same rules, regulations and standards that are set for the rest of us.

Clear enough?

Ordinary Jill said...

Yes, that is much more clear. I agree that the federal government (including the military) should follow the same safety and environmental standards that are required of everyone else.

I am glad that you have no issue with not-for-profit public power utilities. I think there are some industries (notably electricity and health care) where barriers to entry and inelastic demand prevent the free market from working properly, and a not-for-profit public option is needed to keep the private sector honest.

I am also glad that you see the need for regulatory oversight. There are too many greedy CEOs who will cut corners if allowed to do so, because they can deploy their golden parachute before the lawsuits must be settled.