Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Personal Experience With Nuclear Power "Accidents"

I grew up in an area that started off free of nuclear power plants. That changed when I was in High School. They decided to build a nuclear power plant on the beach less than ten miles from where I lived. This is the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.

Lots of people came from all over the United States and even from other countries to protest building this nuclear power plant. They most often held signs grimly, near the security gates of the building site. One time there was a very large protest and a lot of people were arrested. The local courts were completely overwhelmed with the numbers of protesters. They had to get outside help to avoid breaking US law by keeping the protesters too long without charges. It discourages me to think that would not happen, since the passage of laws that make a mockery of the US Constitution, and allow arrests without charges and indefinite imprisonment. I digress, however.

None of this stopped the power plant from being built and put into operation. I learned much more than I wanted to about nuclear power plants, and that one in particular, because it was so close to where I lived.

One of the worst things that I learned about nuclear power plants is that they can be built by real idiots. The thing that impressed this on me the most was mistakes that were made by builders and the lies they told about them.

The first one was that there was no danger of any earthquakes in the area of the power plant. It was made public that the builders knew that an earthquake fault had been found that was very close to the power plant. The builders had been assuring the local public that there were no nearby faults during a time when they knew that the opposite was true.

The next thing that came out, was that someone had designed the containment domes to be mirror images of each other. The designer had decided that it would be a good idea to save money by designing one containment dome and letting the builders flip the blueprint to mirror image the other containment dome and build it from the same blueprint.

You are right if you guessed that the builders neglected to flip the blueprint and built the second dome wrong. The second dome did not pass inspection for safety because the metal reinforcement inside it was in the wrong areas to hold up for containing a reaction.

They decided that it would cost too much money to tear the second containment dome down and start over. Instead, they simply added metal reinforcements in places they should have been in the first place. This was in addition to the metal reinforcements that were in the wrong places. The builders informed the public that we actually had a bonus as a result of the initial mistake. Our second containment building was extra secure because it was stronger because of the extra mental reinforcements inside it.

My view, which was popular, was that it really worried me that such chuckle heads, who could not even manage to build the nuclear power plant, were planning to fire it up and operate it. 

It was not reassuring to think that we might need both of those containment buildings because of the earthquake fault nearby, either.

This post is getting too long, so I will continue on the subject.

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