Feds question whether there was damage to fuel in reactors at quake-hit North Anna nuke plant — The answer may surprise you

Published: September 29th, 2011 at 6:51 pm ET


SOURCE: dougward

Shaking caused plant shutdown, Free Lance Star (Virginia), September 29, 2011:

Dominion reveals more about quake impact at North Anna in letters to NRC

[…] The NRC also asked Dominion whether there was any damage to fuel in the reactors. The fuel is thumbnail-size uranium dioxide pellets loaded into metal alloy rods that compose fuel assemblies.

Dominion said, “There is reasonable assurance that there was no significant physical or functional damage to the fuel.” […]

‘Reasonable’ assurance there is no ‘significant’ damage to fuel?

Published: September 29th, 2011 at 6:51 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. Time.com: “Augmented Inspection Team” is only used when risk of reactor core damage rises by 100 — AIT already at quake-hit North Anna nuke plant September 1, 2011
  2. WaPo: NRC directs quake-hit North Anna nuke plant to inspect supports for Reactor Pressure Vessel — No “significant” problems? November 6, 2011
  3. Strong aftershock jolts quake-hit Virginia reactors — Epicenter in same county as North Anna nuke plant September 1, 2011
  4. Experts concerned about North Anna: “Uncomfortably close” to maximum quake that nuke plant was designed to withstand August 24, 2011
  5. Reuters: It now appears quake caused problem inside both reactor cores at North Anna, triggering shutdown -Officials September 9, 2011

39 comments to Feds question whether there was damage to fuel in reactors at quake-hit North Anna nuke plant — The answer may surprise you

  • acid Lab acid Lab

    for once, the NRC probably isn’t lying.

  • acid Lab acid Lab

    i generally don’t read your posts (due to their extreme run-on nature) but, in less than five thousand words, would you please explain the difficulties in performing a cold shutdown at michigan.

  • Jebus Jebus

    From above article:
    Both reactors at the plant on Lake Anna remain shut down as follow-up work and in-house inspections continue.
    The NRC and Dominion say Units 1 and 2 will remain idle until they are satisfied that the plant is safe to operate.
    Unit 2 is being refueled in the meantime.

    Okay, but wait…
    As I remember reading:
    North Anna’s next fuel cycle, assuming it’s still there then, is in 2012 for unit 1 and 2013 for unit 2.

    Why would they need to be refueling #2?

    • Jebus Jebus



      • Jebus Jebus

        From the above PDF file…

        Unit 1 and Unit 2 Cores
        At the time of the seismic event on August 23, 2011 RCS coolant activity indicated zero fuel failures in the Unit 2 core and an estimated two failed fuel rods in the Unit 1 core. The Unit 1 and Unit 2 RCS coolant activity following shutdown was consistent with the known fuel condition at the time of the earthquake, and indicated that no fuel failures occurred in either unit as a result of the earthquake. Because there were no indications of fuel failures in the Unit 2 core, no fuel sipping inspections – which are used to identify fuel assemblies containing leaking fuel rods – were required.
        Prior to the Unit 2 core offload, the tops of two fuel assemblies that did not contain inserts (either RCCAs or discrete BPRAs) were examined to ensure the quick disconnect mechanisms remained properly locked. The locking lug position was checked for one assembly in the interior of the core and for one assembly in a baffle core location in accordance with AREVA recommendations. The locking lugs were determined to be properly positioned.
        Binocular visual inspections were performed on the 157 fuel assemblies in the Unit 2 core during the core offload. Such visual inspections are performed as part of the normal refueling outage work scope, to look for any damage or other fuel anomalies. The appearance of the
        Serial Number 11-544
        Docket Nos. 50-338/339
        Response to Request for Information – 08/23/11 Earthquake
        Page 4 of 22
        fuel assemblies during the North Anna 2 Cycle 21 core offload was consistent with fuel assemblies inspected during previous core offloads, with no observations of grid or fuel rod damage that would indicate any unusual interaction between adjacent fuel assemblies or between fuel assemblies and the core baffle.
        The only fuel anomalies that were identified during the North Anna 2 core offload visual inspections were indications of excessive fuel rod bow in some second- and third-cycle assemblies. Twenty fuel assemblies (five assemblies scheduled for reuse in Cycle 22 and fifteen assemblies scheduled for discharge at the end of the current cycle) were identified as potentially having sufficient fuel rod bow to result in channel closure (rod-to-rod contact) or envelope violations (rods extending beyond the plane identified by the fuel assembly nozzles and grids). Consistent with Dominion’s normal inspection practice, detailed video inspections were performed of each fuel assembly in which a possible anomalous condition was identified during the core offload. These detailed video inspections confirmed the presence of channel closure or envelope violations in ten of the twenty fuel assemblies that had been identified. All ten fuel assemblies with confirmed anomalies were scheduled for discharge at the end of Cycle 21. The existence of significant fuel rod bow, the number of potentially affected fuel assemblies identified by the binocular inspections, and the number of confirmed instances…

        • Jebus Jebus

          The existence of significant fuel rod bow, the number of potentially affected fuel assemblies identified by the binocular inspections, and the number of confirmed instances of channel closure or envelope violation are consistent with previous experience with fuel rod bow in the AREVA Advanced Mark-BW fuel design at both North Anna units. There is no indication that the seismic activity that resulted in the Unit 2 shutdown affected the presence of this phenomenon in some fuel assemblies, the frequency of occurrence, or the magnitude of fuel rod bow.

    • Jebus Jebus

      From November 8, 2010…



  • North Anna is already the next Chenyobl.
    It’s gonna blow up real good one day soon.
    the water level from the lake keeps dropping.

    shhhhhhhhh….dont want to wake up any american citizens living in the hood.

    red red wine

  • Reasonable assumptions:
    “…that there was no significant physical or functional damage to the fuel.” – Dominion

    “I did not have sexual relations with that woman…” – Clinton

    Both sentences have a similar ring and air of truth about them.

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    If you want, you can report this article HERE:
    A little sick today so not up for it myself.
    Go on – I dare ya! (n.trolls)

  • Sickputer

    Thanks Jebus… What a good posting about fuel rod issues that are apparently considered to be an industry norm. No wonder when they pop the lid on reactor vessels they frequently get more fumes than they anticipated. I am sure getting a damn good education about how this industry operates and has screwed the world for half a century.

    We knew that expended nuclear fuel rods leaked radiation during refueling… now we know why it so common… The rods warp (or “bow”) as they describe it. I can only imagine what Duke saw in 2007 at their MOX reloading in South Carolina that scared them beyond the pale.

    • Jebus Jebus

      The thing that gets me is that, as they uprate (supercharge) the 30 year old reactors, they extend the licenses for 20 more years.
      These things should be maintained like a shuttle mission in the best scenario, and even then it’s not a 100% guarantee.
      There is no question in my mind that there will be another disaster.
      Just a question of when…

    • James Tekton James Tekton

      SP sed:

      “…and has screwed the world for half a century.”

      What it now becomes about for us is our own situation and our part of the screwed world. We can pray for Japan, but this is what is happening in the Durango, CO area.

      Today it rained briefly, a good shower it was. Got everything good and wetted and after it was done, we went out to get a rain sample on a blue paper towel.

      Brought it in to put into a zip lock baggie post haste and after washing up and making a cleared area on the freezer, we placed the counter on the towel and wowie-ka-powie! Watch what happens next. It goes off like a fast striking trout headed to the moon.

      After the ten minute count, we ended up with a measurement of 529.9 CPM. What the heck! was the gasp that crept up. And yeah, it may very well be radon, but this much every time it rains now and this is normal?

      Actually, what is normal??

      So, we are getting a little better at documenting for posterity purposes. Two links here to ponder and aye, if any of you good folks out there have some positivity to offer, now’s the time to share your best thoughts around this. Thank you in advance for doing so.





      • NONO NONO

        Taco said:

        Radiation levels by august would rise to 300-800cpm.

        another coincidence?

        • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

          It’s very probably the Radon which has the biggest effect. We have big short term spikes here as well when it rains. I’m in Germany.

          • radegan

            If you took the sample from a car windshield and not the ground, how would local radon be the cause of such a spike?

      • radegan

        What was the reading in another room? I would’ve expected the cpm to drop off radically as you moved the unit away from the bag. Next time, walk in on camera from another room to establish your indoor baseline.

        • James Tekton James Tekton


          If you look carefully at the pictures link, you will see that there is one picture of the rain rag at 5299 and one other taken just after that that says normal background at 499 total ten minute count. The time and date is on the picture for posterity purposes.

        • James Tekton James Tekton

          Reply to your previous statement….good point. Why indeed is it so high off the truck?

          Any answers anyone?

  • The quake near Anna was felt as far north as Michigan and south as far as Ga.

  • Anthony Anthony

    ****Conflict of Interest?

    Weeks after Tohoku, the NRC instructed inspectors to assess American plants’ ability to deal with similar events and found some weaknesses. The investigation entailed various criteria, including: verifying if equipment was available and functional; verifying the training and qualifications of operators and support staff; assessing plants’ abilities to mitigate station blackout conditions; and assessing their ability to mitigate internal and external flooding.

    Twelve out of 65 reactor sites had discrepancies with requirements, most of them involving staff training. Three sites had issues dealing with station blackouts, and two had issues with extreme flooding. However, the NRC wrote on May 20 that neither the blackout nor extreme flooding issues undermined the plants’ ability to respond to extreme events.

    But not everyone has faith in the conclusions. “They have a huge conflict of interest,” Hirsch said. “It’s just not in the cards that the NRC is going to inspect these reactors and determine that the NRC has failed to adequately keep them safe.”****


    • Sickputer

      The NRC is like a fox guarding a secret henhouse. The fox wants the hens to stay very quiet and not call attention to themselves or the farmers might take some away. The fox wants lots of chicks and lots of eggs, but sick and diseased hens will not be removed. A big secret society trying to fly under the radar of humans. The fix also has powerful allies so he is impervious to harm.

  • StillJill StillJill

    Here, here Jebus,…..well done Man! Here’s a soul with proper boundaries! (Wish I’d done that!) 🙂