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Nuclear Renaissance–Nuclear Requiem

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

There was considerable discussion a decade or so ago about the purported Nuclear Renaissance. New reactors were proposed almost everywhere but Delaware: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Read more >

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Nuclear Plant Containment Failure: Robusted

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #34

Disaster by Design

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #30 through Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #33 described events where the containment structure around reactor pressures vessels failed or could fail. Read more >

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The Bathtub Curve, Nuclear Safety, and Run-to-Failure

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Disaster by Design: Safety by Intent #7

Disaster by Design

The bathtub curve (Fig. 1) is a common way of showing the failure rate as a function of time. The observed failure rate (blue curve) reflects the overall failure rate. It is the sum of three individual failure rates: (1) the failure rate due to infant mortality (red dotted line), (2) the failure date due to random causes (green line), and (3) the failure rate caused by wear out (yellow dotted line). Read more >

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Nuclear Power(less) Plants

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #3

Disaster by Design

The primary purpose of commercial nuclear power plants in the U.S. is to generate electricity. When not fulfilling that role, nuclear power plants that are shut down require electricity to run the equipment needed to prevent the irradiated fuel in the reactor core and spent fuel pool from damage by overheating. The March 2011 accident at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan graphically illustrated what can happen when nuclear plants do not get the electricity they require. Read more >

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Flooding at the Nuclear Plant

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #1

Disaster by Design

The March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan did not reveal flooding to be a nuclear safety hazard; it reminded us of this well-known threat. Flooding from internal sources (e.g., broken pipes and failed storage tanks) and from external sources (e.g., heavy rainfall and swollen rivers) had long been recognized as a risk to be managed with an array of flood protection measures. As the following summaries—an abridged sampling among many such events—indicate, there were numerous reminders before Fukushima. Read more >

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