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Spent Fuel Damage: Pool Criticality Accident

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #29

Disaster by Design

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #26 described a progression leading to overheating and damage to a reactor core, often labeled a meltdown. Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #27 described the damage to a reactor core that can result from reactivity excursions. Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #28 and #29 mirror those commentaries by describing how irradiated fuel stored in spent fuel pools can experience damage from overheating and reactivity excursions. Read more >

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Bad science: Russian objections to US plutonium proposal not a reason to keep MOX

, Washington representative and senior analyst

President Putin recently made some alarming statements about U.S. plans to cancel the current American approach to disposing of excess plutonium. His comments are important because the United States and Russia have an agreement to each dispose of 34 tons of excess plutonium generated by the two countries’ nuclear weapons programs. The Russian president suggested that the approach proposed by the Obama administration, to dilute the plutonium and dispose of it in a geological repository, was unsatisfactory and could damage U.S.-Russian relations. Read more >

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Nuclear Spent Fuel Damage: Pool Accident

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #28

Disaster by Design

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #26 described a progression leading to meltdown of a reactor core. Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #27 described damage resulting from reactivity excursions.

This commentary describes a progression leading to overheating damage of fuel in a spent fuel pool. Next week’s post will describe how fuel in a spent fuel pool could experience a reactivity excursion. Read more >

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Reactor Core Damage: Power Excursion

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #27

Disaster by Design

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #26 described the accident progression resulting in meltdown of a reactor core. Such scenarios factored in the accidents at Fermi Unit 1 in October 1966, Three Mile Island Unit 2 in March 1979, and Fukushima Daiichi Units 1, 2, and 3 in March 2011. Read more >

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New NNSA Stockpile Plan Same as the Old Plan: Problematic

, Washington representative and senior analyst

Last week the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) released its Fiscal Year 2017 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan, the agency’s annual update on its 25-year plan for the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. It is the most comprehensive, long-term plan related to nuclear weapons available from any government.

The key takeaway from this year’s stockpile plan is that very little has changed since last year. The overall vision has not changed, the schedule has not shifted, and the budget estimates, while modestly smaller for some projects, are still harrowingly large.

And that is a bad thing, because the NNSA’s plan has significant problems.

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