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Archive for Monday, March 14, 2011

Wolf Creek nuclear power plant officials monitoring situation in Japan

March 14, 2011

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The Wolf Creek nuclear power plant, which went online in 1985, is shown in this Jan. 11, 2000, photograph.

The Wolf Creek nuclear power plant, which went online in 1985, is shown in this Jan. 11, 2000, photograph.

Wolf Creek nuclear power plant officials said Monday that they are watching developments in Japan closely to see whether lessons can be learned from the plant disasters occurring there.

“We are closely monitoring it as an industry,” said Jenny Hageman, spokeswoman for the Wolf Creek plant, a 1,200-megawatt facility 52 miles south of Lawrence.

Japanese officials are dealing with crises at several nuclear plants in the wake of the country’s earthquake and tsunami that have left at least 10,000 dead.

Hageman said U.S. nuclear power officials are offering to help Japan.

She said the chance of an earthquake affecting Wolf Creek is much smaller than in Japan. Tornadoes would be the more likely disaster to hit the plant, and Hageman said Wolf Creek’s containment structure can withstand winds of 300 mph.

Wolf Creek is running at 100 percent capacity but will be shut down on Saturday for about seven weeks for scheduled maintenance, which will include the replacement of four giant rotors and turbines. This operation constitutes the largest modification of the plant since it started operating in 1985, she said.

Michael Murray, a nuclear physicist at Kansas University, said Japanese officials are trying their hardest to address the problems, but they face great obstacles.

“The crucial thing at the moment is that the fuel rods be kept under water,” Murray said. “The problem they are having is that the general level of devastation from the tsunami” has hindered their efforts.

Murray said there is no evidence of a rupture in the containment cases at these units.

“What needs to happen now is make sure there is not enough buildup of steam or hydrogen to crack the containment vessel,” he said.

Comments

Ken Lassman 3 years, 1 month ago

Reading back through these comments (which I don't recommend) shows the typical knee-jerk downplaying and namecalling that has too often typified this comment board. As the second containment vessel breaching is announced, with stored nuclear waste rods beginning to uncover and perhaps melt down too, it's a horrifying prospect to lay on top of the tsunami devastation--my heart goes out to the Japanese people.

If folks don't think this is going to have an impact on new nuclear plant construction, then they should step right up and invest in nuclear power right now. It was the financial community who killed the nuke power plants after 3 Mile Island, and I sure as heck wouldn't be lining up to put my money into nukes after Fukushima. The new nukes in Georgia were the first ones to move ahead with the loan guarantees, and they were going to cost 8 billion dollars apiece--and that was before all of this happened. You might as well increase that pricetag 50% for the coming cost overruns and delays, and then who is going to buy that very, very expensive electricity? Who is going to invest in the two nukes planned for Texas that is designed by--you guessed it--Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO)?

I'll go out on a limb and say that the current generation of nuclear power plant designs just died on the vine. Next generation nuclear? Decades away and guaranteed to be pricey, perhaps to the point of ridiculous. Time to get serious about investing in highly efficient designs and energy conservation so we can do much more with what we have, like Europe has been doing. It's a chance to innovate and even re-look at those values that our parents had and ponder the possibility that living within our means wasn't such an outmoded idea after all.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 1 month ago

Obama doesn't need to say or do anything about Japan; the unhinged left is doing it for him. Some of them even immediately cried global warming. And Soros, Obama's puppet master, is pretty happy with the way Obama is taking us down the toilet with his policies. And last but not least, the crooked mainstream media has never in history had to scramble so hard to pick and choose the news that fits their liberal agenda---unprecedented.

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BigPrune 3 years, 1 month ago

Meanwhile back at the Whitehouse, the President spent time finishing out his NCAA Tournament bracket before heading off for another round of golf. He was alerted our naval assets pulled back 200 miles from Japan, then he allowed our surgeon general to make a statement about hoarding iodine tablets - just in case, should the radiation contaminate California. Then he read a little, smoked a little, went to his Tuesday party, then he finished the night playing detective because someone had taken a portion of the fresh strawberries from the fridge. Then he ate a big bowl of chili before turning in.

Tomorrow his weekly shipment of Hawaiian shaved ice is due in before noon so he's excited by its arrival, but his immediate crisis is figuring out who ate an extra portion of the fresh strawberries. None of the help will fess up.. Then he plans on a nap before his Wednesday evening party.

In the meantime, for the third straight day, Japan has begged the United States to help them stop this nuclear disaster by using some of our military assets to drench the burning reactors with water. The President doesn't understand what they mean and wonders out loud what happened to their looters? Why aren't there any looters? We had looters in New Orleans and LA, but the Japanese got nothing.

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igby 3 years, 1 month ago

Quaker state of 8.9 in southern Illnois, could make the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers to back up and flood the mid-west into a basin of lake that could cover 7 states in a matter of days. This would be a bell ringer for thought!

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ralphralph 3 years, 1 month ago

Oh, Come ON!

Nuclear ... in Kansas .... still clean, safe (yes!), reliable, and domestic.

It's still the right thing. Really.

P.S. .... If they GOP had run a human being against Harry Reid, there would be a chance that the VERY safe Yucca Mountain facility would open, and the public safety would be well served. Now we have to wait for him to die, like Fidel.

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pace 3 years, 1 month ago

Wolf Creek's original plan did not include long term storage of the rods. The state of the art plants in Japan had containment on the working cores but some did not have containment on the spent rods. It is a good question for Wolf Creek. Are their spent rods protected by containment and how many levels of back up generators and pumping system are there for both the working core and for the spent rods? Any one seeing burning and radiating plants as good news for investing lives a different interior life than I. I wonder where one can get potassium iodide pills. Is there any harm in taking them?

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SinoHawk 3 years, 1 month ago

I am more impressed by success rather than the failure of the Japanese plants. As of this moment, potentially tens of thousands have been killed by the quake/tsunami, but no significant deaths/injuries have resulted from the power plants hit by a 9.0 quake and tsunami well outside the disasters planned for during the construction of the plants. I hope and pray that the plants don't release any significant amounts of radiation, but their success so far in NOT blowing up is already quite impressive.

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RuralWanderer 3 years, 1 month ago

I guess I'm still not overly worried about nuclear power. If I lived near a nuclear power plant by the San Andreas fault? Sure. But in Kansas? No problem. I say build two or three more. Safe, clean, inexpensive energy and a huge job boost. What's not to like?

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macon47 3 years, 1 month ago

i feel terrible for the people that lost thier lives in japan i feel sorry for the famliles and their loss but who bombed pearl harbor? was it muslim terrorists, native americans. or african americans? we spit on our servicemen, and many of them are homeless when they come back from the war but all we can do is send money overseas cause no one cares about the folks at home

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mr_right_wing 3 years, 1 month ago

George W. is responsible for the earthquake, tsunami and possible nuclear meltdown.

He soon may decide to make KU lose. There is no limit to what this man is capable of.

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KUrolls 3 years, 1 month ago

Looks like this saturday the earthquate window is opening.

http://connect.in.com/syzygy-earthquake-prediction/profile.html

I'm out of potasium iodine too.

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The_Original_Bob 3 years, 1 month ago

Nothing better happen to Wolf Creek. That's some good walleye fishing in the dead of winter.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 1 month ago

SR is just trolling with his report...an initial stirring of the environmental looney tune pot so to speak. Nothing to see here.

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Shardwurm 3 years, 1 month ago

They should worry. My sister was a welding inspector at Wolf Creek when it was being built in the 70s and early 80s and she was stoned most of the time. True story.

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The_Original_Bob 3 years, 1 month ago

"Are they worried a Tsunami might knock out their cooling pump stations? I don't see them having the same problem."

Um, um. Nevermind.

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TomJoad23 3 years, 1 month ago

I find it funny that plenty of people are crying foul of how "un-safe" nuclear power is. When it took a 9.0 earthquake (which did no damage to the reactors) and Tsunami to make the Fukushima plant so unstable. Want safer Nuclear Power? Don't build the powerplant on a seismic zone next to an Ocean with your back up generators to run the pumps sitting at ground level. You can take that to the bank

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JayhawkVeteran 3 years, 1 month ago

Humm... I thought the problem was at (1) plant and they were dealing with it's 4 reactors.

"Japanese officials are dealing with crises at several nuclear plants"

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easyliving 3 years, 1 month ago

Lol....ouch, I just fell out of my chair.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

The one point of consensus that I've heard is that none of these plants will ever operate again.

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farva 3 years, 1 month ago

The above may be the most ignorant comment ever on this website

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doc1 3 years, 1 month ago

Are they worried a Tsunami might knock out their cooling pump stations? I don't see them having the same problem.

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