Countering Capenhurst Issue 10 – New Year 2017

In this issue of Countering Capenhurst is in which we look at some of the wider work we are engaged upon.

Working Alliance

Working Alliance is an informal network of campaigning groups and organisations, which co-operate together and support each others work.

Working Alliance includes: –

The Close Capenhurst Campaign

JAN UK

Kick Nuclear

Nuclear Waste Trains Action Group

Radiation Free Lakeland

&

STAND (Severnside Together Against Nuclear Development)

 

Remember Fukushima 6th anniversary events.

March 11th 2017

Plans are well underway to mark the sixth anniversary of the continuing disaster at Fukushima.

Aside from a match on the day, there will a vigil outside of the Japanese embassy on the friday, a public meeting, and exhibition at Conway Hall.

Full details if these events can be found on the Remember Fukushima website.

https://rememberfukushima.org/

 

Tracking the Waste Trains

The latest edition of Freightmaster  No.84 : JANUARY 2017 to MARCH 2017  has a special feature upon the Cumbian coastline.

That includes the DRS nukiller waste flasks which are taken to Sellafield & Drigg.

This is an essential reference work for anyone who is concerned with the nukiller waste trains issue.

Capenhurst Firefighters Update.

We have just received the following email:-

‘ Just to inform you that Urenco and Babcock have gone through with their plan to dissolve the site fire and rescue service. The new service that is in place is a combined fire and security team know as incident responders.

In the past the fire and rescue service on site were a fully trained professional fire team. What you now have is a team of security guards with very minimal very basic fire training (a one weeks course) with a few of the old fire team. On occasion there is only one of the old fire team on shift which is highly unacceptable and dangerous not only to site but also to the local community.’

Moorside.

Criticism continue to grows about the AP1000 reactor proposed for the Sellafield Moorside site.

In November a report by Edinburgh Energy and Environment Consultancy, written by Pete Roche, commissioned through crowd funding by campaign group Radiation Free Lakeland was published.

The AP1000 Nuclear Reactor Design report concludes with the following:-

‘ The AP1000 reactor design is not fit for purpose and so should be refused a Design Acceptance Confirmation (DAC) and Statement of Design Acceptability (SDA)by the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency.

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities have endorsed this Damning Report.

We have also looked at the Westinghouse design for this plant, and have our own additional worries about the amount of water which might be available to cool down the reactors at the plant should they be needed.

What is very remarkable about this document is the number of times it repeats stating just how safe their ‘defence-in-depth’ safety systems might be.

Yet there are a number of aspects of the plant cooling system which are very worrying indeed

Here are our various questions and observations about the WestinghouseAP1000®Nuclear Power Plant Spent Fuel Pool Cooling design.

Potential power problems.

The document states that it has:-

‘Passive systems, requiring minimal or no operator actions, are sufficient for at least 72 hours under all possible loading conditions.’

Yet we know that many reactor problems [ accidents ] last for a much longer time.

It also states that:-

‘During normal and abnormal conditions, defense-in-depth and duty systems provides highly reliable spent fuel pool cooling, relying on offsite AC power or the onsite Standby Diesel Generators.

– What might happen if there was ‘accident’ which lasts for longer, and all the grid power supply was cut?

– What size of diesel generators would be needed should this happen?

&

– How much diesel fuel would need to be stored on site to keep working for a two week period, which might be needed if any fuel tanker could not get through to the plant ?

Water supplied to the reactor core and cooling ponds.

The document makes a great point about the water storage capacity at the plant,

but also states that: –

‘ After 72 hours, operator action is required to align the Passive Containment Cooling Ancillary Water Storage Tank (PCCAWST or “Ancillary Tank”) located in the Yard to the Spent Fuel Pool. The Ancillary Tank contains 925,000 gallons (3,500 m3) of water at ambient temperature and pressure and can supply enough makeup water to the Pool for at least an additional 4 days using an Ancillary Diesel Generator-powered pump. Note that about 1/3 of the Ancillary Tank water capacity is available for Pool cooling as the tank also supplies water to cool the Containment Vessel.’

Further on the document states that:-

‘ – – – in the rare case of a loss of normal Spent Fuel Pool Cooling in the middle of a refueling outage, with no fuel in the reactor vessel, and a Pool completely filled with fuel including a full core offload:

The maximum amount of decay heat possible will be present in the Pool and the water in the Pool will begin boiling within approximately 2 hours.

As there is no longer any fuel in the reactor vessel, decay heat does not need to be removed from the core. This allows the Pool to take advantage of the large volume of water in the Containment Cooling Tank on top the Shield Building to make up for water inventory lost to boiling for approximately 5 days.’

Lets just think about these time scales.

Here are just 3 questions need asking.

– What might happen if there was a loss of water in the cooling ponds, while it is also needed to cool down the reactor ?

– In the event of all the water storage tanks being emptied, then from which water source will they be replenished ?

&

– Has any thought been given to just what contingency planning might need to be in place should such an event occur ?

The document states that:

‘One of the unique methods an AP1000Plant uses for providing makeup water to the Pool is via a safety-related fire hose connection located in the Yard. This allows fire hoses to be safely connected by personnel in the Yard and to use a portable pump to inject makeup water to the Pool.’

– Yet what might happen if they could not get in to the yard as it was filled wilt debris, or there are high levels of radioactivity in the immediate area?

So let’s just hope that no ‘accident’ occurs which involves the loss of water in the cooling ponds, while water from the tanks is also needed to cool down the reactor core.

In to the Air.

In Section 2:  Additional Means of Spent Fuel Pool Cooling

we read that: –

‘In case of any event which results in a loss of the normal means of Pool cooling (i.e., heat exchangers and electrically-powered pumps) then safety-related passive means of providing heat removal from the used fuel are initiated.

As the used fuel in the Pool continues to generate decay heat, the water in the Pool increases in temperature and will eventually begin to boil the water in the Pool within

3 to 8 hours (depending on how much fuel has recently been removed from the reactor). The decay heat from the fuel is transferred to the Pool water which then boils, producing non-radioactive steam.

This steam generated by boiling will fill the Fuel Handling Area and cause the room temperature to increase. Once a preset temperature limit is reached, an engineered relief panel in the wall will open without the need for power and allow the steam to vent to the atmosphere.’

Logically, if the water in the pond continues to drop, and the fuel rods split or catch fire, then any radioactivity released will also get in to the atmosphere.

The document makes no mention as to just how the engineered relief panel might be closed if such an occurrence takes place.