Nuclear Power Plant information that you may not have known

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Nuclear Power Plant information that you may not have known

   On August 27, 1956 the first commercial nuclear power plant, Calder Hall 1, Eng-land, with a net electrical output of 50 MW was connected to the national grid. As of July 2013, 30 countries worldwide are operating 434 nuclear reactors for electricity generation and 71 new nuclear plants are under construction in 14 countries. 56 countries operate a total of about 240 research reactors and a further 180 nuclear reactors power some 150 ships and submarines.

   Today, the world produces as much electricity from nuclear energy as it did from all sources combined in 1960. Civil nuclear power can now boast over 14,800 reactor years of experience and supplies almost 13.5% of global electricity needs.Over 60 further nuclear power reactors are under construction, equivalent to 17% of existing capacity, while over 150 are firmly planned, equivalent to 48% of present capacity.  

   Sixteen countries depend on nuclear power for at least a quarter of their electricity.  France gets around three quarters of its power from nuclear energy, while Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovenia and Ukraine get one third or more. Finland normally gets more than a quarter of its power from nuclear energy, while in the USA one fifth is from nuclear. mong countries which do not host nuclear power plants, Italy gets about 10% of its power from nuclear, and Denmark about 8%.  

   For 15 years Finnish plants topped the performance tables, but the USA now dominates the top 25 positions, followed by South Korea and Russia followed by Japan, Taiwan and India. Russia also operates a fleet of six large nuclear-powered icebreakers and a 62,000 tonne cargo ship. 

   It is also completing a floating nuclear power plant with two 40 MWe reactors for use in remote regions.    From the outset, there has been a strong awareness of the potential hazard of both nuclear criticality and release of radioactive materials from generating electricity with nuclear power. There have been three major reactor accidents in the history of civil nuclear power – Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. One was contained without harm to anyone, the next involved an intense fire without provision for containment, and the third severely tested the containment, allowing the release of radioactivity.  

   These are the only major accidents to have occurred in over 14,500 cumulative reactor-years of commercial nuclear power operation in 32 countries. When I went to look into these further, what I found amazed me on what is being said. They are wanting us to believe, of all the accidents and incidents, only the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents resulted in radiation doses to the public greater than those resulting from the exposure to natural sources. They also states, the Fukushima accident resulted in some radiation exposure of workers at the plant, but not such as to threaten their health, unlike Chernobyl.  

   With all of the research I have done the past year on this matter, I ask myself why they would not inform the public of the true disaster that came with each of these and why on everything I looked at I kept seeing:   Three Mile Island (USA 1979) where the reactor was severely damaged but radiation was contained and there were no adverse health or environmental consequences; Chernobyl (Ukraine 1986) where the destruction of the reactor by steam explosion and fire killed 31 people and had significant health and environmental consequences. The death toll has since increased to about 5; Fukushima (Japan 2011) where three old reactors (together with a fourth) were written off and the effects of loss of cooling due to a huge tsunami were inadequately contained.  

   I wanted to break this down on each event to help everyone better understand the TRUE information behind each one of these. Let me start with the 1st on the list, Three Mile Island. They state there were no health/environment consequences, but in fact many people in the surrounding area were IN FACT affected by this. Some were paid off to keep their mouthes shut, no surprise there.  The public was told the releases were controlled and done purposely to alleviate pressure on the core, they were also told the releases were “insignificant.” A very substantial portion of the fuel DID melt.  

   Nearby Hershey, which was showered with fallout. The state of Pennsylvania hid the health impacts, including deletion of cancers from the public record, abolition of the state’s tumor registry, misrepresentation of the impacts it could not hide (including an apparent tripling of the infant death rate in nearby Harrisburg) and much more. The federal government did nothing to track the health histories of the region’s residents.  

   Area residents encountered substantial plagues of cancer, leukemia, birth defects, respiratory problems, hair loss, rashes, lesions and much more. Large numbers of central Pennsylvanians suffered skin sores and lesions that erupted while they were out of doors as the fallout rained down on them. Many quickly developed large, visible tumors, breathing problems, and a metallic taste in their mouths that matched that experienced by some of the men who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, and who were exposed to nuclear tests in the south Pacific and Nevada.  

   Now on to Chernobyl. Some 985,000 people died, mainly of cancer, as a result of the Chernobyl accident. That is between when the accident occurred in 1986 and 2004, and many more have lost their lives since this time.  Leaky and structurally unsound, it now threatens to collapse, shaking loose enough radiation to cause a second disaster of similar magnitude. Work has started on a new encasement, which will slide over the existing sarcophagus to seal in the remaining nuclear fuel – at an estimated cost of 2 billion dollars.  

   From the first day, officials downplayed the damages of the catastrophe and the politics of misinformation continues: A UN report estimates that 4,000 people will eventually succumb to cancer-related illnesses as the result of the accident. But major environmental organizations have accused the report of whitewashing Chernobyl’s impact and state that more than 100,000 people have already died as a consequence of the disaster. Yet people were informed that they could move back in to this area after some time. WHY? The area is still contaminated.  

   For almost three decades the forests around the shuttered nuclear power plant have been absorbing contamination left from the 1986 reactor explosion. If these forests burn, strontium 90, cesium 137, plutonium 238 and other radioactive elements. This contamination would be carried aloft in the smoke. If Chernobyl forests burn, contaminants would migrate outside the immediate area, much of the Chernobyl forest is in high danger of burning. In some places the contamination level is the same as it was in 1986, most of it in the top 10 centimeters of the soil.  

   Absorbing cesium, plutonium and strontium helps contain radionuclides within the exclusion zone, but it dramatically heightens the alarm over wildfire. A 2002 two-acre ground fire near the failed power plant released up to five percent of the cesium and strontium in the biomass. A high-intensity crown fire would release much higher amounts than burning needles and leaf litter. The fine particles emitted from a forest fire could be transported hundreds of miles away.   

   Until 2011, no one had assessed the human health effects of a catastrophic wildfire in the exclusion zone. Sweden, Finland and other European countries could in fact be heavily impacted by the 1986 explosion. A study was done that year showing women in their 20s living just outside the zone face the highest risk from exposure to radioactive smoke. 170 in 100,000 would have an increased chance of dying of cancer. Among men farther away in Kiev, 18 in 100,000 20-year-olds would be at increased risk of dying of cancer. These estimates pale in comparison to those from the 1986 Chernobyl explosion, which predict between 4,000 and over a million eventual deaths from radiation exposure.  

   Instead, the greatest danger from forest fire for most people would be consuming foods exposed to smoke. Milk, meat and other products would exceed safe levels. The Ukrainian government would almost certainly have to ban consumption of foodstuffs produced as far as 90 miles from the fire. People living outside the exclusion zone, would be exposed to radiation beyond all acceptable levels. In addition to “normal” external radiation, they would be inhaling radionuclides in the smoke they breathe, being irradiated both outside and inside.  

   A Soviet tank has been modified for firefighting with a 20-foot blade like a gigantic pointed cow-catcher. but the firefighters there don’t have much professional training, protective suits or breathing apparatuses, standard equipment for  firefighters dealing with hazardous materials. The United Nations recently acknowledged the potential for another Chernobyl disaster and has mounted a $20 million sustainable development project designed to address wildfire and other environmental issues. At least they state. 

   And now on to Fukushima. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was an energy accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, initiated primarily by the tsunami of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. The damage caused by the tsunami produced equipment failures, and without this equipment a Loss of Coolant Accident followed with nuclear meltdowns and releases of radioactive materials beginning on March 12, 2011. The plant comprised six separate boiling water reactors originally designed by General Electric (GE) and maintained by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). At the time of the earthquake, reactor 4 had been de-fueled and reactors 5 and 6 were in cold shutdown for planned maintenance. Immediately after the earthquake, the remaining reactors 1–3 shut down the sustained fission reactions automatically, inserting control rods in what is termed the SCRAM, following this, emergency generators came online to power electronics and coolant systems.

   At the time of the earthquake, reactor 4 had been de-fueled and reactors 5 and 6 were in cold shutdown for planned maintenance. The tsunami arrived some 50 minutes after the initial earthquake. The 13m tsunami overwhelmed the plant’s seawall, which was only 10m high, quickly flooding the low-lying rooms in which the emergency generators were housed. After the secondary emergency pumps (run by back-up batteries) ran out, one day after the tsunami, the pumps stopped and the reactors began to overheat due to the normal high radioactive decay heat produced in the first few days after nuclear reactor shutdown.

    It is estimated that the hot zirconium fuel cladding-water reaction in each reactor produced 800 to 1000 kilograms of hydrogen gas, which was vented out of the reactor pressure vessel, and mixed with the ambient air, eventually reaching explosive concentration limits in units 1 and 3, and due to piping connections between units 3 and 4, or alternatively from the same reaction occurring in the spent fuel pool in unit 4 itself, unit 4 also filled with hydrogen, with the hydrogen-air explosions occurring at the top of each unit, that is in their upper secondary containment building.

   The MSM states, the negative health effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster include a moderately increased risk of thyroid cancer (a comparatively rare form of cancer) for girls from the most contaminated area, and a slightly increased risk of other cancers for infants from the most contaminated area. In particular, a 2013 WHO report predicts that there is a 70% higher risk of developing thyroid cancer for girls exposed as infants in the most contaminated area, a 7% higher risk of leukemia in males exposed as infants in the most contaminated area, a 6% higher risk of breast cancer in females exposed as infants in the most contaminated area, but only a 4% higher risk, overall, of developing solid cancers for females.

   The MSM is not stating that is has already began to effect the countries surrounding Japan. On July 22, 2013, more than two years after the incident, it was revealed that the plant is leaking radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, something long suspected by local fishermen and independent investigators. TEPCO had previously denied that this was happening. On August 20, in a further incident, it was announced that 300 metric tons of heavily contaminated water had leaked from a storage tank.

   They want us to believe that this radiation in not already here. The signs are here. Whether it be in our fruits and vegetables or in life it’s self. Radiation levels have begun to increase in our food and water supply. Babies are being born with thyroid issues that are directly linked to radiation. The U.S. and Canada are now raising the legally acceptable levels of certain toxic substances that are being imported from Japan. Samples of milk taken across the United States are showing radiation levels 2000 percent higher than EPA maximums.

   Infant mortality has increased by over 35% following the nuclear disaster at Fukushima. This is being kept hush-hush by all parties. Tepco kept things quiet for over two years. Our government hasn’t addressed the topic whatsoever. They just DO NOT want us to have means of this knowledge. They wish to have us remain silent, not share this knowledge. They want us to keep buying into their BULLSHIT and consume the food with no questions asked.

   But I am not yet done providing information on this matter. The above are just the major ones. What about the leaks that they remain to tell us are “no big deal”? Well, they are a BIG DEAL to me! Below I have listed dates and where some of the leaks have taken place, these are also important pieces of information to us ALL! The number and severity of the leaks has been escalating, even as federal regulators extend the licenses of more and more reactors across America. Tritium, which is a radioactive form of hydrogen, has leaked from at least 48 of 65 sites.  Leaks from at least 37 of those facilities contained concentrations exceeding the federal drinking water standard, sometimes at hundreds of times the limit.

   On May 5, 2003, the South Texas 1 plant, 90 miles southwest of Houston, has been shut since, when a routine inspection turned up two tiny boric acid deposits on the underside of its pressurized reactor vessel. The leak, which may have begun 4 years ago, supposedly again, poses no public health threat. I am unsure at this time of the status for this plant.

   At three sites — two in Illinois and one in Minnesota — leaks have contaminated drinking wells of nearby homes, the records show, but not at levels violating the drinking water standard. At a fourth site, in New Jersey, tritium has leaked into an aquifer and a discharge canal feeding picturesque Barnegat Bay off the Atlantic Ocean. There were 38 leaks from underground piping between 2000 and 2009, according to an industry document presented at a tritium conference. Nearly two-thirds of the leaks were reported over the latest five years.

   At the three-unit Browns Ferry complex in Alabama, a valve was mistakenly left open in a storage tank during modifications over the years. When the tank was filled in April 2010, about 1,000 gallons (3,785 liters) of tritium-laden water poured onto the ground at a concentration of 2 million picocuries per liter. In drinking water, that would be 100 times higher than the EPA health standard. And in 2008, 7.5 million picocuries per liter leaked from underground piping at Quad Cities in western Illinois — 375 times the EPA limit.

   Many of the pipes or tanks have been patched, and contaminated soil and water have been removed in some places. But leaks are often discovered later from other nearby piping, tanks or vaults. Mistakes and defective material have contributed to some leaks. Over the history of the U.S. industry, more than 400 known radioactive leaks of all kinds of substances have occurred. One of the highest known tritium readings was discovered in 2002 at the Salem nuclear plant in Lower Alloways Creek Township, New Jersey. Tritium leaks from the spent fuel pool contaminated groundwater under the facility, located on an island in Delaware Bay, at a concentration of 15 million picocuries per liter. That’s 750 times the EPA drinking water limit.

    And tritium found separately in an onsite storm drain system measured 1 million picocuries per liter in April 2010. Last year, the Vermont state Senate was so troubled by tritium leaks as high as 2.5 million picocuries per liter at the Vermont Yankee reactor in southern Vermont (125 times the EPA drinking-water standard) that it voted to block relicensing, a power that the Legislature holds in that state. In March, the NRC granted the plant a 20 year license extension, despite the state opposition. Weeks ago, operator Entergy sued Vermont in federal court, challenging its authority to force the plant to close.

   Dresden site west of Chicago, tritium has leaked into the ground at up to 9 million picocuries per liter, 450 times the federal limit for drinking water. Leaks from Dresden also have contaminated offsite drinking water wells. There’s also been contamination of offsite drinking water wells near the two-unit Prairie Island plant southeast of Minneapolis. Then operated by Nuclear Management and now by Xcel Energy, and at Exelon’s two-unit Braidwood nuclear facility, 10 miles from Dresden.  

   The Prairie Island leak was found in the well of a nearby home in 1989. It was traced to a canal where radioactive waste was discharged. Braidwood has leaked more than six million gallons (22.7 million liters) of tritium-laden water in repeated leaks dating back to the 1990s, but not publicly reported until 2005. The leaks were traced to pipes that carried limited, monitored discharges of tritium into the river.  

   Last year, Exelon, which has acknowledged violating Illinois state groundwater standards, agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle state and county complaints over the tritium leaks at Braidwood and nearby Dresden and Byron sites. Tritium measuring 1,500 picocuries per liter turned up in an offsite drinking well at a home near Braidwood. A consolidated lawsuit was dismissed, but Exelon ultimately bought some homes so residents would leave. Aging Nukes, regulators and industry have worked in concert to loosen safety standards to keep the plants operating.

Nuclear power plants, world-wide……

World Statistics…

Victims of Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident Speak Out

People Died at Three Mile Island…

Zero Hour: Disaster at Chernobyl (Discovery Channel) (2004)

Chernobyl: 25 Years After The Nuclear Disaster…

At Chernobyl, Radioactive Danger Lurks in the Trees…

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster…

Fukushima Radiation Affecting Americans…

Leaks hit three-quarters of U.S. nuclear plants…

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