CBS Affiliate: Water level drop of 20+ inches in a day in lake used by reactors have many near quake-hit Virginia nuke plant concerned — Dam problem?

Published: August 25th, 2011 at 4:43 pm ET
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28 comments


Mineral residents concerned about Nuclear power plant, WTVR, August 25, 2011:

[… S]ome residents living in Mineral say they’re worried.

The Randlett family says they were still feeling aftershocks from Tuesday’s 5.8 magnitude earthquake on Wednesday.  The family lives just one mile from the power station, and ten miles from the epicenter of the earthquake.

“We’re all just a little bit on edge,” says Jennifer Randlett.  Randlett says many neighbors are concerned that the water levels in the North Anna Lake have dropped nearly 22” in a day.

Dominion says each of the plant’s two nuclear reactors pumps one million gallons of water a minute into the North Anna Lake.  Dominion says that flow was disrupted during the power outage, but posed no risk to the public. […]

h/t Anonymous tip

UPDATE: Lake Anna Dam inspected for damage after quake — Engineering experts classified dam as a “high-hazard”

Selected Comment:

22″ is fast. Lake Anna is artificial, created to provide cooling for the nukes. It is not unthinkable that the quake damaged the dam construction, that further quakes could do more damage […] –Granny M

Published: August 25th, 2011 at 4:43 pm ET
By

28 comments

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28 comments to CBS Affiliate: Water level drop of 20+ inches in a day in lake used by reactors have many near quake-hit Virginia nuke plant concerned — Dam problem?

  • Granny M

    22″ is fast. Lake Anna is artificial, created to provide cooling for the nukes. It is not unthinkable that the quake damaged the dam construction, that further quakes could do more damage which leads to the not impossible scenario of 2 nukes plus spent fuel 4-5 times over capacity with no water available.

  • dharmasyd dharmasyd

    How does a large lake lose 22″ of water level in one day? CBS repeats the words of the authorities: No need for concern. There’s no daznger!

    Yeah sure, I guess it’s just normal evaporation on a hot Summer day.

  • James2

    Lake Anna is 13,000 acres. 22 inches of drop is 8 Billion gallons of water.

    It didn’t go into the nuke plant. That’s a lot of water – probably somebody downstream is flooded right now, and my guess is somebody is worried about the integrity of the dam.

    Of course if the dam breaks, that’s a in its own right a catastrophe – but the worst is that the nuke plant melts down.

  • WindorSolarPlease

    Quote: “no risk to the public” ?????

    When will they say there is a risk, after the fact???

    I think there is a legitimate reason for concern

  • Sickputer

    >Dam problem?

    No maybe it’s a damn containment building problem. If the complicated cooling pipes in that PWR are fubar from the quake then we may be looking at Tokyo fire cannon time…round 2!

    The problem will be getting enough water for the cannons when the lake goes dry. But I bet they can rustle up a temporary pipeline from somewhere…

    How deep is that lake anyway? Better do a little checking…

    Yeah I know…early fear monger speculation, but it may be soon Good Night Irene in more ways than one!

    I know if I was in Virginia down wind I think I’d take a little trip out west for a few days.

    • cosmicwind

      Well perhaps the west isn’t a good idea right now what with the fallout from Japan, Nortwest, no that’s got a lot of fallout too. Hawaii, same problem? Well how about a trip to the gulf coast…just don’t eat any seafood or go for a awim. Well, maybe a trip to the southern hemisphere might be a good idea!!!!
      What are we letting happen to our country? If these energy companies were run by Official terrorist, we would be FIGHTING to preserve our land. When will we stop the madness! I can live without airconditioning…I can’t live with radiation in my food, water air. Really simple to understand.

    • Auntie Nuke

      Dam problem? Damn problem! Do not believe the government assurances of “nothing to worry about.” After watching TEPCO and Japan, and with rumors growing of a US pact with Japan to downplay Fukushima to the American public (in order to protect trade, of course!), it seems that the purpose of government is to “handle” the population into passive compliance.

    • Auntie Nuke

      No water cannon, please! But dump boron and zeolite on top, followed by concrete, just like Chernobyl. Boron and zeolite will stop the spread of radiation, fix it, and protect the water supply.

  • Granny M

    Aw, shucks, folks – not to worry, that hurricane gonna fill that lake right up.

  • FML

    Sounds like they are pumping more water into the reactor cores to combat a meltdown in progress. In a month or so we will here about the meltdown, another two months the melt-through, and another two months the melt-out.

    • FML

      Forgot to mention partial meltdown first, then full meltdown.

    • Flapdoodle Flapdoodle

      I am glad you mentioned that. If it is the case, the water must go somewhere. North Anna is designed to put the cooling water back into the lake, and there was concern even before it went into operation that it would raise the lake water temperature.

      But if they are dealing with contaminated water, aren’t they supposed to treat it before dumping it back? If so, then that would explain the water drop.

      • cosmicwind

        I think you have a good point, Yes, it had to go into some kind of containment…where else could 8 billion gallons of water disappear to?If it went somewhere then the authorities would jump in and explain why the water level dropped. Somebody knows where 8 billion gallons of water went.

      • Unless the earthquake has put a crack in the lake and it is draining, how much lower by this afternoon ?
        This is something that needs to be looked into, is that dam that is being checked have anything to do with the water level there ?

        So much to watch after a major quake for it changes the landscape other then just move bricks !

  • Granny M

    New Yoek State just had its second quake of the day: 2.5 & 2.8, but I never saw NY on the quake list before.

  • jwfuki

    Not so much how deep the lake is….

    But at what depth do the intakes sit at…..

  • bmurr bmurr

    I don’t understand why you think its any of your business if the plant is melting down, or having problems, or spreading toxic particles that have the potential to kill you and your kin for the next few thousand years. Just listen to yourselves and maybe you will understanding just how unreasonable you sound.

    Dominion in CT. A chilling read for those of you up here in New England.

    http://www.mothballmillstone.org/news2011.html#spike

    • FML

      I hope you’re being sarcastic.

      • bmurr bmurr

        My biggest worry is not that they are lying about what they have found, but rather that they are too incompetent to handle the situation. And yes, I do sense a bit of sarcasm in my tone these days. Its my way of dealing…

  • Nigwil

    http://www.dom.com/about/stations/nuclear/north-anna/waste-heat-treatment-facility.jsp

    says that at full operating power the station has 2,000,000 gallons a minute passing through the station.

    There is a normal variation of about +/- 8 inches in lake level depending on water flows through the plant.

    If the lake lowers by 22 inches, then lifting two million gallons a minute requires an extra 1.2 megawatts from the pump motors.

    The whole design will have been determined around the inlet and outlet levels and the internal flow resistance. Carefully designed (as Im sure it is) the system would work with minimum head difference.BUt that fine design could make it a lot more susceptible to small variations in lake level outside the normal operating range.

    22 inches more (1.2 MW) is likely to be a big ask, but at least they are not using primary cooling just now with the reactors off line.

    To simply provide aux feed water to the condenser and vent the resulting clean steam to keep the primary circuit cooling the reactor will not need as much water, but it still has to be enough to dissipate the residual core heat for a long time to come. Backups on backups there, please!

    Re the sudden drop in the lake level: Smaller man-made lakes in Christchurch New Zealand drained virtually dry after their recent series of earthquakes, and not easy to find the leaks.

    I note from
    http://www.dom.com/about/stations/nuclear/north-anna/pdf/lake-anna-brochure.pdf

    that “…spillway operators control the flow of water through the [North Anna Dam] spillway to maintain water level at 250 feet above msl.”

    The lowering could be precautionary to relieve stress on the dam while they check it after the the earthquake. Hope so.

    Good luck!

  • Elenin Velikovsky Elenin Velikovsky

    Nigwil, dern good report.
    I wonder about limestone karst topography
    in that area? haven’t risen above laziness to
    look it up for myself. I know lots of the south
    is like that, shot through with cave networks,
    underground rivers and sech-like stuff.