Gov’t: Erosion is “undermining foundation” of major dam upstream of US nuclear plants — “Extensive network” of seepage paths found — “Water flowing through from multiple sources & multiple directions” — Nuclear plants doing Problem Evaluation Reports on ‘complex and urgent’ situation (VIDEO)

Published: July 30th, 2015 at 11:58 pm ET


TVA’s Boone Dam repair announcement, Jul 30, 2015 (emphasis added):

  • 2:30 — The location of this sinkhole and the presence of the sediment… really raised the possibility of a safety concern with the dam… The initial investigation showed that we had internal erosion. A phenomenon called ‘piping’ where voids from water flowing through the dammore of a stream-like effect — than just seepage. Internal erosion is one of the leading causes of dam failures around the world. So we knew that we had to do something here to protect the safety of the public… particularly downstream risk… Around the clock inspectors [are] keeping surveillance on the dam [and we have] sensors to monitor movements that might occur in the dam itself.
  • 4:00 — One of the key findings so far is that water is flowing through the foundation from multiple sources, and in multiple directions. It’s actually seeping through porous rock — rainwater upstream, through porous rock, through the dam
  • 9:15 — There’s still a lot of unknowns as we move into the project.
  • 21:30 — There’s only 3 companies in the world that do this kind of remediation. That’s the complexity we’re talking about.
  • 24:00 — Reporter: You said that water was coming from multiple sources and moving in multiple directions. To the people who are watching… I would think they would think that seems like an impossible task to do. There are some… in this community who think… that Boone Dam can’t be fixed… Is there a possibility that these solutions that you’re proposing won’t work?

TVA’s Boone Dam Investigation and Analysis Summary: [There is] “internal erosion,” in which voids develop within a dam and/or its foundation because of the action of flowing groundwater… one of the leading causes of dam failures… March of 2015, TVA discovered a well-developed, complex network of groundwater seepage paths coming from sources other than the reservoir… surface runoff flows underneath the dam and is a leading contributor to the observed seepage and sinkhole… Further investigation has confirmed that deterioration of the cutoff trench has occurred as seepage flows continue to undermine the foundation of the embankment dam… If left unaddressed, continued internal erosion may lead to enlargement of the network of voids at which time a large influx of water into the voids could cause rapid acceleration of internal erosion and eventual breaching of the dam. Due to the complex and urgent nature of the situation at Boone Dam, TVA has complemented its own dam safety engineers with nationally recognized experts… In its current state, the dam cannot be relied upon to serve the functions for which it was constructed. In the unlikely event of a dam failure, risks to the public would include: … loss of critical infrastructure [and] potential loss of life… [We are] engaging local and state emergency management officials… developing specific plans to address potential emergencies and conducting mock exercises to execute those plans. TVA has also initiated efforts to reinforce downstream facilities in a way that will minimize potential risks from an unlikely failure of Boone Dam.

TVA’s Boone Dam Weekly Update, Jun 23, 2015: Our investigation has shown that more water is seeping through the foundation of the dam than would typically be expected.  A contributor to the seepage is the high water table from the area just east of the dam.  Both sources of seepage and subsequent erosion have created an extensive network of seepage paths beneath the dam… TVA Dam Safety experts [are] working to understand the extent of the seepage and erosion

Sequoyah Nuclear Plant – NRC Integrated Inspection Report (pdf), Feb 4, 2015: For the five operability evaluations described in the problem evaluation reports (PERs) listed below, the inspectors evaluated the technical adequacy of the evaluations… The inspectors completed five samples [including] PER 952079 – Functional Evaluation of Boone Dam Sinkhole.

Watts Bar Nuclear Plant – NRC Integrated Inspection Report (pdf), Feb 9, 2015: The inspectors reviewed the operability evaluations affecting risk-significant mitigating systems listed below [including] PER 952103 for the discovery of a sinkhole and tailwater sediment at the Boone Dam.

Watch today’s TVA press conference here

Published: July 30th, 2015 at 11:58 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. Official: Urgent, worrisome situation at major dam with nuclear plants downstream — We don’t know what’s going on — “You’ve got water able to get by that dam… coming out downstream… which, of course, shouldn’t be happening” — Danger of collapse called not ‘imminent’ — Cracks found in another dam nearby, water seeping from bedrock January 26, 2015
  2. Officials ‘Alarmed’ at Press Conference on Dam with Nuclear Plants Downstream: ‘Movement’ in foundation 100s of feet underground; Rock dissolving — “Sinkhole is indication of bigger problem” — “Urgency of issue is obvious” — Examining “every possible type of failure” (VIDEO) February 27, 2015
  3. ‘Special Alert’ issued for major dam upstream of US nuclear plants — Muddy seepage coming up near foundation — Cause of sinkhole and ‘mysterious’ discharges unknown after weeks of analysis — Newspaper: “Hopefully, it isn’t catastrophic” — Officials working around clock, submarines and ground-penetrating radar in use (VIDEO) November 24, 2014
  4. Official: Fissures in earth now suspected under dam upstream of nuke plants — “There’s plenty of rumors… We’re considering all possibilities… Leak is actually in embankment, that’s where all the focus is” — Speculation that problem to go on for years — New drone footage shows excavation in progress (VIDEO) January 16, 2015
  5. Top Official: “Sinkhole has sunk further… we have water coming through dam” upstream of nuclear plants; “Now agency’s top priority”; “Continued flow…could destabilize dam” — Section caved in at base — Gov’t not disclosing inundation maps over security concerns; Private meeting with facility in path (VIDEO) May 4, 2015

198 comments to Gov’t: Erosion is “undermining foundation” of major dam upstream of US nuclear plants — “Extensive network” of seepage paths found — “Water flowing through from multiple sources & multiple directions” — Nuclear plants doing Problem Evaluation Reports on ‘complex and urgent’ situation (VIDEO)


    All the above reponses are noted and appreciated but I'm thinking more on mobility right now.
    Check this out. My needs are grow my own food (small amount), and space for a vendor business. So I'm looking at various Toyhaulers (tt) The back of these things are nothing more than space. Front is living space. Add sky lights, solar, Earthboxes..your stealth work/food space.
    For some reason I want to be mobile. With preps.
    Someone in Ashville is offering a space on their property. Live/work. Looks upscale, they want a background check. That's just one.
    Phil- glad your a 'recyclin' type.

    see you guys around..

  • mrutopian mrutopian

    Fukushima is sinking, the tva dam is dissolving, wipps is closed. Our atmosphere is weak, we could suffer a carrington effect, the poles could flip and the Canadians want to bury their wastes 1 mile from lake Huron. What could go wrong?

  • rogerthat

    Wylfa plans thown out due to yet more safety fears

    Nuclear safety officials have rejected Hitachi’s vital risk plans for their threatened new nukes (July 2015).

    Hitachi want to build Advance Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) at the Wylfa and Oldbury.

    But the Office for Nuclear Regulation says the safety risk models put forward are not up to UK standards.

    The ONR issued the firm with an official “regulatory issue” notice earlier in July.

    It told the nuclear engineers they must address a “serious regulatory shortfall” in the safety plans.

    Officials said plans were “insufficient to present an overall picture and thus, a reasonable understanding of the UK ABWR risk”. …

    • rogerthat

      2 August 2015
      Plans for Britain’s first nuclear reactor in almost 30 years have come under sustained attack from politicians and City bankers. A report from a top bank this weekend warned that the cost of the £25billion Hinkley Point C plant was ‘becoming harder to justify’.

      HSBC concluded: ‘We see ample reason for the UK Government to delay or cancel the project.’

      Key to the criticisms levelled by HSBC’s analysts is that the electricity produced by the reactor is likely to be too expensive, as European wholesale prices are expected to fall along with demand for energy from UK users.

      It warned of ‘huge difference between UK forward prices and the Hinkley price’.

      Among HSBC’s eight key concerns is that the reactor will be economically unviable due in part to a rising number of electricity grid links with the Continent providing a ready source of cheaper supply.

      At the same time it said projections by National Grid to 2025 all point to flat or declining demand.

      HSBC said its demand estimates are for a fall of one per cent a year. HSBC also highlighted the ‘bleak’ future of large nuclear reactors which have a history of escalating costs and sliding deadlines.

  • rogerthat

    Nuclear Futures
    Nuclear power is not only too expensive, it is extremely risky from a financial perspective. Private investors will not finance or insure it. It does not scale down, except in submarines where cost is not the primary issue. The cost to decommission the reactors is high and rising and no one has yet satisfactorily figured out what to do with the mounting collection of wastes, some of which will remain lethal for eons.
    Oil Price 31st July 2015

  • rogerthat

    World Moves Toward 100 Percent Renewable Energy – First Electricity, Then Heating/Cooling, and Finally Transportation

    More and more municipalities, cities, states and even entire countries are setting 100 percent renewable energy targets but policy support is critical for success.

    July 31, 2015
    By Junko Movellan
    Contributing Editor

    The exclusive use of energy from renewable resources in at least one sector has now become a feasible goal for 8 countries. Diane Moss, Founding Director of Renewables 100 Policy Institute, discussed this remarkable development at one of the conference sessions at Intersolar North America 2015.

    Denmark, Scotland, and Aruba are among the nations with 100 percent renewable energy targets. Besides the 8 nations, the Institute has so far mapped 55 cities, 60 regions and 9 utilities across the world that have officially established 100 percent RE goals, and Moss points out that there may be more and that those numbers are steadily increasing. …

    Renewable Energy World 31st July 2015

  • rogerthat

    Unlike solar panels or wind turbines, fuel cells are usually hidden from sight. But a growing number of big companies are relying on these mini power plants for a steady supply of electricity with a lower carbon footprint.

    Fuel cells, which date back to the 1800s, generate electricity by putting natural gas through a chemical reaction. They release about half the emissions of a conventional power plant, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

    Lately, fuel cells have emerged as a feasible alternative to solar-, wind- or grid-powered electricity because of lower-cost financing, generous federal and state subsidies, and the desire by companies to reduce their carbon footprint and, in some cases, their energy costs. …

  • rogerthat

    Survey: 55% of hibakusha stressed over health impact of 1945 radiation exposure
    August 02, 2015

    By TAKASHI OKUMA/ Staff Writer
    More than 55 percent of survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings still feel anxiety over the impact of radiation exposure on their health, and nearly half fear their descendants may also be affected, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed.

    To mark the 70th anniversary of the Aug. 6 bombing of Hiroshima and the Aug. 9 bombing of Nagasaki at the end of World War II, The Asahi Shimbun sent questionnaires to about 22,000 hibakusha.

    Of the 5,762 people who gave valid responses, 3,193, or 55.4 percent, said that whenever they become ill or feel subpar, they fear their conditions could be a result of their exposure to radiation from the atomic bombs.

    In addition, 2,801 respondents, or 48.6 percent, said they feel anxiety over whether their exposure to radiation may have affected the health of their children and grandchildren, although such genetic effects have not been scientifically confirmed.

    The questionnaires were sent to atomic bomb survivors around Japan through organizations under the umbrella of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo).

    The respondents are from 46 prefectures, including 1,542 in Hiroshima Prefecture, 1,244 in Tokyo, 550 in Kanagawa Prefecture and 243 in Nagasaki Prefecture. …

    • rogerthat

      Their average age is 81.1, up 8.7 years from the previous survey a decade ago.

      Many survivors have grown alarmed by the threat of nuclear warfare in the current international situation, including heightening diplomatic tensions between the United States and Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent statement that the country was prepared to use nuclear weapons.

      As many as 3,656 respondents, or 63.5 percent, said the risk of nuclear weapons being used in warfare has increased over the past decade.

      More than a quarter of the respondents, or 1,474, said it is unreasonable for Japan’s national security to rely on the U.S. nuclear umbrella, while 2,519 people, or 43.7 percent, said such a policy is inevitable.

      The Asahi Shimbun’s previous survey in 2005 to mark the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings obtained responses from about 13,000 of around 40,000 hibakusha who were sent questionnaires.

      While the number of hibakusha has rapidly decreased over the past decade because of their aging, 1,246 respondents in the latest survey, or 21.6 percent, pointed to the “fading of memories of the atomic bombings” as one of their most poignant experiences during the past decade.

      A combined 2,214 respondents, or 38.4 percent, said their firsthand experiences of the nuclear devastation have been sufficiently or somewhat sufficiently handed down to younger generations, while 2,919 people, or 50.7 percent, said their experiences …

      • rogerthat

        have not been handed down at all or sufficiently.

        The latest survey also asked hibakusha about their sentiments toward nuclear power generation following the Fukushima nuclear disaster that started in March 2011.

        More than 66 percent of the respondents, or 3,842, said they are opposed or somewhat opposed to nuclear power generation as an energy source.

        By TAKASHI OKUMA/ Staff Writer

  • rogerthat

    Aug. 3, 2015
    Rare 1941 'thought police' training document discovered

    YONEZAWA, Yamagata — A rare outline of a training session for Japan's special police who monitored the public to suppress "dangerous" thoughts and groups prior to and during World War II was found at a research center here, offering a peek into the education of a force sometimes referred to as the "thought police." …

  • rogerthat

    Sellafield nuclear site ordered to improve after string of safety breaches
    1 AUGUST 2015

    • GOM GOM

      Ah, Sellefield. The dark heart of Europe, building #B30. The most contaminated of all. Has it's own fence and barbed wire. A structure so radioactive that the concrete is crumbling.
      Yes, every government that has nuclear legacy radiation is going to clean it up. Yep. Appease the masses as they knowingly swim and frolick in radioactive muck. Stupidity knows no bounds.

      it's nice to know someone else is watching the maddness. our Dark Heart..that would be Hanford.

  • rogerthat

    Nuclear Albatross Continues to Haunt Long Island Utility
    JUL 31, 2015
    As the Long Island Power Authority seeks to lower its debt costs, a never-opened nuclear power plant built by the utility's predecessor in the 1980s remains an albatross. …

    To continue reading, log in, register or subscribe below.

  • rogerthat

    mainichi is on the ball, great piece:

    TEPCO execs' mandatory prosecution reflects the sense among regular citizens

    TEPCO execs' mandatory prosecution reflects the sense among regular citizens

    A judicial review board's July 31 announcement that three former Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) executives should be indicted over the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant meltdowns reflects existing "sense among ordinary people," and emphasizes the weight of responsibilities that have been placed on the senior officials of the plant operator.

    The Tokyo No. 5 Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution dismissed the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office's decision to drop cases against TEPCO's former chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, 75, and two former vice presidents, Ichiro Takekuro, 69, and Sakae Muto, 65 — claiming that such a decision neglected the significance of the disaster and was based on a false understanding.

    Since the committee is made up of 11 citizens, however, its judgment differs from regular prosecution standards. As such, court-appointed attorneys serving as prosecutors are believed to face difficulties in making a good case — and lengthy trials are expected.

    "The committee's report clearly says that the TEPCO executives could have predicted (the disaster)," commented an attorney from a group of lawyers that filed for a review to the committee on behalf of…

    • rogerthat

      disaster victims. "We have a bright outlook for the trials."

      Perhaps the biggest game-changing factor for the public prosecutors' earlier decision not to indict the three former executives was the committee's conclusion that the responsible parties for a nuclear power plant should take into consideration the possibility of a disaster exceeding all expectations, insofar as a nuclear plant accident would result in irreversible effects.

      The report emphasized that the TEPCO executives were responsible for preparing for a possible nuclear disaster at the Fukushima plant even though the chance of such an accident was very small — thereby imposing much greater due diligence on the former utility executives than had the public prosecutors.

      The fact that the committee referred to a shutdown of the plant to ensure safety was also a notable point.

      In order to hold someone criminally liable in cases of negligence, prosecutors must prove that the defendant could predict an accident and avoid its consequences.

      In the TEPCO case, the utility's 2008 calculation based on projection by a government earthquake research body — wherein the highest tsunami waves hitting south of the Fukushima plant were estimated to be 15.7 meters — drew significant attention.

      The focal point in the case was whether the utility executives acknowledged this estimate and were able to predict the massive tsunami.

      The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office had concluded that prior to…

      • rogerthat

        the disaster, the officials could not have recognized the tsunami risk whereby the plant's main equipment would become submerged in water.

        The office claimed that the scale of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami had exceeded the projection by the government research body, and that the projection itself had low credibility.

        In response to the public prosecutors' argument, the committee cited the 1986 Chernobyl disaster — pointing out that a nuclear plant accident could discharge a huge amount of radioactive materials that would in turn affect the preservation of humanity.

        It went on to say that parties involved in the operation of nuclear power plants "absolutely cannot ignore" estimates for the highest tsunami, and concluded specifically that the three executives could have predicted the disaster.

        Regarding the avoidance of consequences, the committee argued that the executives should have taken every measure possible — including the suspension of plant operation — at least during a period when the utility was working on establishing appropriate tsunami prevention measures.

        "If the operation had been suspended, the disaster could have been avoided," the report said.

        The committee slammed the conclusion wherein the public prosecutors had said that the nuclear accident was unpredictable, and that it could not have been avoided even with waterproof buildings or moving the plant up on higher ground. This was deemed as having "no persuasiveness," and…

        • rogerthat

          it was concluded that the decision had been "based on a false understanding."

          Meanwhile, the executives are facing a class-action suit filed by a group of TEPCO shareholders with the Tokyo District Court, in which the investors are demanding a total of some 5.5 trillion yen from the three, as well as from 24 other former and current TEPCO executives.

          The 15.7-meter tsunami estimate has also become the point of contention in this lawsuit, with the defendant claiming that the figure was scientifically groundless.

          In the criminal trial, which will start as the three executives are facing mandatory prosecution, the largest points of contention will likely be the scientific credibility of the estimate for tsunami — as well as how such information was passed to the defendants.

          Since court-appointed attorneys serving as prosecutors are allowed to conduct supplementary investigations for mandatory prosecution, they will likely consider interviewing earthquake and tsunami experts, as well as TEPCO employees who were involved in the calculation process.

          A number of witnesses are expected to be summoned if the defendants plead not guilty, however, resulting in a prolonged trial.

          August 01, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)

  • rogerthat

    Letter: Expand evacuation zone around Seabrook plant
    Seabrook nuclear power plant

    Saturday, August 1, 2015

    To the editor:

    Massachusetts must increase the evacuation and protection zone surrounding nuclear power plants, including the Seabrook plant, from 10 to 50 miles. No More Fukushimas testified to this at a hearing of the Legislature's Joint Committee on Public Health on July 28.

    The committee heard testimony from citizens and public officials who live within and beyond the 10-mile radius surrounding both the Seabrook and Pilgrim plants asking the commonwealth to alter its policies so that public health protections will be extended to 50 miles.

    As No More Fukushimas co-founder Bruce Skud testified, when the Fukushima nuclear power plant had a meltdown, the U.S. government, upon the advice of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, recommended that U.S. citizens in Japan move 50 miles away.

    Fukushima was a litmus test for what the NRC really believes should be the evacuation zone when a nuclear plant is melting down

    There are 4.3 million people in three states who live within the 50-mile radius of the Seabrook plant. But there are no evacuation plans or protections whatsoever …

    • rogerthat

      for anyone outside the 10-mile zone. This includes schoolchildren and nursing home residents.

      House Resolution 2031 proposes extending from 10 miles to 50 miles the area of evacuation zone planning and protections, including stockpiling potassium iodide pills to be distributed to the public.

      Potassium iodide helps protect the thyroid in the event of nuclear fallout.
      The people of the commonwealth deserve this.
      Joanna Hammond

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