Congressman: Emergency diesel generator was inoperable due to flooding at Maryland nuke plant where transformer exploded during hurricane

Published: August 31st, 2011 at 6:11 am ET


Massachusetts Representative Edward Markey’s letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, August 29, 2011:

h/t Robert Singleton

Published: August 31st, 2011 at 6:11 am ET


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13 comments to Congressman: Emergency diesel generator was inoperable due to flooding at Maryland nuke plant where transformer exploded during hurricane

  • arclight arclight

    my respects to the homourable edward j markey…making nuclear power very costly!
    and maybe making the usa a bit safer!
    what a guy!!

  • Lee Binder

    Good Stuff! SUCH people the world needs!

    Here’s an OCR of Edward J. Markey letter:
    The Honorable Greg Jaczko
    Chairman Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    115 55 Rockville Pike
    Rockville, MD 20852

    Dear Chairman Jaczko:

    I write to urge the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to re-evaluate and, as necessary, upgrade the protections against hurricanes and other extreme weather events in light of the multiple challenges faced by nuclear power plants during Hurricane Irene this past weekend. I additionally ask once again that you immediately move to adopt the recommendation of NRC’s Near-Term Task Force Report[2J on Fukushima to require the re-evaluation of seismic and flooding hazards every 1 0 years and address any new and significant information to ensure that nuclear power plants are protected against these hazards. Hurricane Irene’s strong winds presented considerable challenges to numerous nuclear power plants:

    Calvert Cliffs Unit 1 (MD) nuclear reactor shut down automatically after a large piece of metal siding blew off a building and contacted high energy lines associated with a main transformer. One of its emergency diesel generators was found to be inoperable due to flooding of its circuitry, and 66 out of 73 emergency sirens at the plant were out of service. The power at Millstone Units 2 and 3 nuclear reactors (CT) was reduced as a precaution, the spent fuel pool at the decommissioning Unit 1 lost power for its cooling system, and Unit 3 lost one of six water circulation pumps. The Oyster Creek (NJ) nuclear reactor shut down as a precaution, and 10 of 42 emergency sirens lost function. 51 of 97 emergency sirens at Peach Bottom nuclear power plant (P A), lost function . 49 of the 172 emergency sirens at the Indian Point nuclear power plant (NY) and 74 of 113 emergency sirens at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant (MA) had to be placed on backup battery power An off-site electrical line to the Surry puclear power plant in VA was lost. The power at the Brunswick nuclear power plant in NC was reduced as a precaution .

    The NRC’s July 12 Task Force report recommended that protections to address seismic and flooding threats at each nuclear power plant be periodically revised to incorporate the most up-to-date information regarding those threats. It also observed that the “Extreme Damage Mitigation Guidelines (EDMGs)” adopted at nuclear power plants after the attacks of September 11 2011 in order to mitigate the impacts of a terrorist attack did not consider the potential for the same impacts to be caused by extreme weather events such as hurricanes. In light of the widespread challenges to nuclear power plants caused by Hurricane Irene, as well as the potential that global warming could increase both the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as hurricanes, I urge you to quickly incorporate hurricanes and other strong storms into the safety and emergency response upgrades the Commission is currently undertaking. Thank you very much for your consideration of this important matter. If you have any questions or concerns, please have your staff contact Dr. Michal Freedhoff of my staff at 202- 225-2836.

    Edward J. Markey

  • Ken31ONCA

    he will get my praise when he has a whole plant shut down, would take a while they should start the cold shutdown on all the riskiest plants and start more solar, windmill projects, they arent any more of a eye sore then the nuke plants themeselves constantly spewing shit in the air, and having all thier reps say its totally safe.

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      I wish wind and solar could handle our needs but the truth be told, it just can’t unless people no longer want cable, internet, etc. and side on the simple life. I still like Thorium Molten Salt Reactors as an alternative, which is not perfect, but nothing like the current reactors. I do think Japan could use wind and solar being an island and having lots of wind. I do agree that we should shut all these nasty BWR’s right now.

      • lam335 lam335

        Is this “molten salt” reactor the same type as Japan’s Monju reactor, which has been called “Japan’s most dangerous reactor”? (NYT, “Japan Strains to Fix a Reactor Damaged Before Quake” )

        Regarding the Monju type of reactor, this story states:
        “Instead of water, which is used in commercial nuclear reactors, the prototype reactor uses 1,600 tons of liquid sodium, a hazardous material that reacts fiercely with water and air, to cool its fuel. The presence of an estimated 1.4 tons of highly toxic plutonium fuel at the reactor makes it more dangerous than light-water reactors, which use mainly uranium fuel, critics charge.”

        The story also states that that reactor’s design “makes it more prone to Chernobyl-type runaway reactions in the case of a severe accident …”

        I don’t know if the reactor you “like” and the Monju one are the same kind, but the liquid sodium sounds like it is extremely dangerous since, if there is a fire, water apparently cannot be used to extinguish it.

      • lokay5 lokay5

        When touting the advantages of a sodium cooled reactor, keep in mind that the world’s first reactor meltdown occured at Rocketdyne’s SRE
        (Sodium Reactor Experiment)at The Santa Susanna Field Laboratory in Simi Valley, California, in 1959;


      • americancommntr

        There’s not enough integrity in society today for corporations to be running and government to be regulating nuclear reactors. There probably never was to begin with.

        Don’t forget tidal and geothermal, and don’t forget breakthroughs. How many breakthroughs have been suppressed? Think suppression is “conspiracy theory”? It’s not theory at all. Scientists and inventors all over the world have for the last 90 years plus been thwarted, robbed, intimidated,obstructed, or murdered.

  • Ken31ONCA

    if every property had a solar panel, every house, business, then they should all be able to support themselves for power, it would take a long time but the goverment will have to step in make them more affordable. they definately have to get rid of certain plants, they would still make power off them as they cool them off or they have to start reusing the feul

    • bmurr bmurr

      They don’t want you to be independant of them. They want to babysit you from cradle to grave. I think the congressman was far too polite to these folks. Imagine if a private citizen put millions of people in the potential danger these companies do. That person would be a homegrown terrorist.

    • Craig-123

      Ken, Thanks for being concerned and engaged here at Energy News, but I think what we’re really up against is this planet’s human limits. Yes: nuclear power is a death wish, but filling our communities with nanotech solar panels might one day be seen as yet another grievous national mistake. Solar panels could also become a personal mistake if you didn’t first invest in a helluva roof. You don’t want to be paying both an electrician and a roofer when it leaks or there’s storm damage –and then have one blame the other when it still leaks or the power stops. (Put non-nano panels on your garage and the garden shed.)

      The real answer is to, at long last: “live within our means”: the non-nuclear, non-fossil fuel carrying capacity of our planet. Any other approach just sets us up for some ultimate “great die-off”.

      At this point in history it sounds like science fiction to make such a proposal, but we need a “Responsible Adults” political party which thinks, advocates and acts upon such awareness.


      • lokay5 lokay5

        The “Responsible Adults” about which you speak, should be responsible enough to realize that the basic problem on this planet Earth is that there are already too damn many people sucking the life out of Mother Earth.

  • arclight arclight

    Vlatko Stefanovski Texas Flood 2008 live in Zagreb 2008