Gundersen: US nuclear plants at risk of ‘flood of biblical proportions’? — “They’re not designed against biblical floods” (AUDIO)

Published: January 13th, 2013 at 11:47 pm ET


Title: Repairs at Four Nuclear Reactors Are So Expensive That They Should Not Be Restarted
Source: Fairewinds Energy Education
Date: January 13, 2013

At 2:45 in

Nuclear Expert Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Energy Education: At the Ft. Calhoun plant [in case of an upstream dam failure] we’re looking at 35 feet more water than there was in the flood 18 months ago. […]

Dr. [Bernard] Shanks has a quote […] he said that if an upstream dam were to fail it would cause a flood of biblical proportions. These plants are not designed against biblical floods. These plants were right at their limit 2 years ago.

According to Dr. Shanks and many other geologists and hydrologists, the condition of the upstream dams is suspect.

Full program here

Published: January 13th, 2013 at 11:47 pm ET


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58 comments to Gundersen: US nuclear plants at risk of ‘flood of biblical proportions’? — “They’re not designed against biblical floods” (AUDIO)

  • razzz razzz

    Just like fluoride and MTBE are waste byproducts looking to be dumped, now the nuclear industry wants to turn a loss into a gain by lobbying Congress to allow radioactive waste metals to be remelted and mixed with 'clean' iron then sold to the public when used to manufacture typical items.

    Nuclear power is a failed technology but taxpayers continue to foot the bill and endanger their health.

    • lickerface lickerface

      That is off topic somewhat but… I read that forklifts and golf clubs utilize depleted uranium to make them extremely dense and heavy for their small size. I just copied this from a webpage:

      " The most common non-military use of DU outside of the nuclear energy industry is as ballast in the keels of yachts and as counterweights in forklift trucks."

      Every time I see a forklift I walk the other way because I do not understand whether it is radioactively risky or not. It's better for me to be weary.

      • Mack Mack

        @ 13:15 in the podcast, Arnie discusses the DOE wanting to recycle radioactive metals and re-introduce them to consumer products. It would be the iron and steel that a nuclear plant is made of, shipping it to a smelter, where iron and steel would be added.

        @ 16:23 "Secretary Chu wants to do it routinely. He wants to take a nuclear steam generator, which is highly radioactive, and melt it down and throw in some clean steel and spread out that radiation and then sell it back to you and me in the form of pots, pans, forks, spoons, or construction material."

        @ 18:33 "This is really a ploy by the nuclear industry to make some money off of something that historically that has been a liability."

        Regarding depleted uranium, it is also used in airplanes.

        Doug Rokke discusses it in this podcast:

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        Better wary than sorry. Yes, it's alarming to find out many consumer products utilize radioactive isotopes. Pattie B. mentioned radioactive argon gas being used as ballast material between the panes of dual pane windows. The State of Calif. Dept. of Health inspector who found the radioactive cobalt in the Bed, Bath, & Beyond kleenex boxes told me cesium is commonly used in consumer products, too. In the case where I questioned what I thought was a high Beta reading from a ceramic water vessel, he told me it was "normal" to use a little "industrial cesium" in a product, but was "nothing to worry about."

        "Health physcists" at work, need I say more?

  • Anthony Anthony

    So why haven't modifications been done the last 18 months? IS it because they cant make them or just didn't? Cost doesn't trump safety.

    • Sickputer

      Financially it is unfeasible to raise the plant above the danger from the upstream dam failing. The spent fuel at Ft. Calhoun is in a ground level pool so the flood danger is perhaps even a bigger threat than the plants with raised fuel ponds.

      You can buy a lottery ticket in Omaha and have one chance in 176 million of winning. The chances of the plant flooding and Omaha city ruined by radiation is much more likely. So why accept a deadly risk? Because companies are in the business of profit, not common sense. This corporate accepted risk of deadly failure is what makes the nuclear industry a doomsday machine.

      The geographic dispersion of mankind over the past 500 millennia makes it very plausible mankind somewhere would survive different extinction level events. But the thin layer of atmosphere is all that supports life globally. You can live weeks without food, days without water, but only three minutes without breathable air.

      Destroy that thin layer with only a handful of nuclear reactors exploding and life will have to go underground in bunkers for many years before MAYBE the air might clear in some areas. If it doesn't then carbon form life on earth will be finished. We have met the enemy and it is us.

      • Anthony Anthony

        Its interesting you say that Sickputer, I think the underground survival plan is the only one that makes sense for the long term Fuku-situation. Like you said though, as long as the oxygen holds up.

        • Sickputer

          You have to figure some paranoid (but smart) billionaire has equipped a remote small island stronghold with a bunker, air filtration and food to last for decades.

          If even a handful of survivors could survive the long nuclear winter then there might be humans still standing years after the SHTF. A post-modern Adam and Eve family.

          • PattieB PattieB

            there are to my knowing… 87 entire undergound cities! Gee.. and they run off nuke power. But folks like you and I…? We don't have a card that gets us into one when it all goes to complete shite!

        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          Oxygen is already being destroyed because the radiation in the Pacific and Atlantic from run off from nuclear power plants is killing the plankton which creates our oxygen for us. So there will be to oxygen for those living under the earth in bunkers.

          • Anthony Anthony

            I have a funny feeling that oxygen has been stored in quantity somewhere already….just a hunch! I didn't however, get the memo or a map.

            • HoTaters HoTaters

              Anthony, it's also likely those planning to live underground have figured out how to extract or "harvest" oxygen from materials around them.

          • HoTaters HoTaters

            And the ozone holes are also killing off the phytoplankton blooms. Documented in studies done as early as the mid-1980's. Yes, it will be a miracle if there is a breathable atmosphere left in 50 years. Add deforestation to the equation, and one really has to wonder where we're headed.

            It's really nuts. David de Mayer (sp?) Rothschild is a naturopathic physician. His family is in the top tier of TPTB in the world. No doubt they have helped to finance wars and weapons of mass destruction. But Mr. Rothschild beats the drum and warns of global warming, etc. He recently took a voyage in a boat built of recycled plastic waste. His mission was to go and reconnoiter the 1,000,000 square mile field of floating plastic debris in the middle of the Pacific gyre.

            Sometimes I'm amazed we can still live here on earth, at all. It seems man is at war with all creation, instead of trying to be a good steward living on the earth.

            • HoTaters HoTaters

              The boat was called, The Plastiki. (A take off on Thor Heyerdall's raft, the Kon Tiki.)

              • HoTaters HoTaters

                Here's a quote from Wikipedia:

                "The Plastiki is a 60-foot (18 m) catamaran made out of 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles and other recycled PET plastic and waste products.[2] The craft was built using cradle to cradle design philosophies and features many renewable energy systems, including solar panels, wind and trailing propeller turbines, and bicycle generators. The frame was designed by Australian naval architect Andrew Dovell. The boat's name is a play on the 1947 Kon-Tiki raft used to sail across the Pacific by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, and its voyage roughly followed the same route.[3]
                Closeup of the starboard hull, showing the plastic bottles used for flotation

                On March 20, 2010, the sailing vessel set off from San Francisco, California to cross the Pacific Ocean with a crew of six: British skipper Jo Royle, co-skipper David Thompson, expedition diver Olav Heyerdahl, filmmakers Max Jourdan and Vern Moen, and expedition leader David de Rothschild.[4] The expedition projected landfall in Sydney, Australia and included plans to visit several sites en route of ecological importance or which were susceptible to environmental issues caused by global warming, for instance the current sea level rise, ocean acidification and marine pollution."

                I applaud Mr. Rothschild's ambitious project, but I can't help wondering if he's not some kind of wolf in sheep's clothing. He gives me the creeps. 'Like looking at the Antichrist.

    • nedlifromvermont

      That's just it, Anthony … Cost or the scent of a fictitious profit has trumped safety since the beginning of the nuclear age …

      In the dark and misty beginning, it was build the bomb at all costs – no thought of safety slowed the military necessity.

      that was in the 1940's …

      then in the 1950's it was get the Congress to build the Interstate system (1956) to move the nuclear fuel and waste efficiently, and (1957) to pass Price-Anderson liability waivers, to recover their investments in uranium mines … (GE, Standard Oil etc.) …

      and in the 1960's and 70's, under the cover of the cold war, to roll out these poison factories as a necessity (for GE etc.)

      and buy up the media so the Josef Goebbels-inspired propaganda machines would sooth an unwary public into accepting this madness;

      and fast forward to radioactive disasters of Chernobyl and Fukushima, which the nuclear boosters assured us just couldn't ever happen, but did;

      … and we are now, all of us, in the gas chamber together;

      … all because of management failure, crony capitalism and cynical corporate hubris; now no one one the inside (Jeffrey Immelt, CEO, GE) dares admit the reality of the situation due to damages which could result from an honest retelling of historical fact … so 'Veritas' (truth) is buried under mountains of nuclear rubble …

      … and the nucleocrats who have drunk the Kool-aid, deride the truth-tellers of enenews …

      … good lick!


      • Anthony Anthony

        I agree that costs are the measure of the century nedlifromvermont, but they already built these machines. Dont they now have an obligation to fix them at all costs given it is becoming a struggle of life and death? We surely cant have another five reactors go the way of Daiichi?

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        Actually, there were no new nuclear power plants built in the US for 30 years. And the technology has been developed by people from foreign countries including Russia's nuclear industry which was developed by German scientists in the 1940s. And the new plants now planned in the US and around the world are being built by foreigners. And GE Hitachi nuclear has been taken over by the Japanese and Westinghouse has been taken over completely by the Japanese who own over 75%.

        That's the thing about prejudice and disinformation. It is all and predominantly all lies.

    • PurpleRain PurpleRain

      Sorry to bring in politics, but I'm sure that Republicans would claim that spending on infrastructure is just some liberal ploy toward socialism. They would vote it down — if they could even agree to get it that far.

      • PattieB PattieB

        your still laboring under the assumption that we have two parties? HAH!-

        • LOL, yes there are 2 parties, the M's and the P's
          The moochers that are trying to get more productivity out of the goose by telling it "you are free" as they throttle it, and the Producers who are sick and tired of working 40 to 60 hours a week to pay for 2 other people who are not working productively.

  • nedlifromvermont

    Good luck, too!!!

    peace to the 'newsers!!!

    Death to Nuclear Power … No, really!!!

  • Nobody else has said it, so I will.

    Isn't this like sending a 'Hello Postcard' to terrorists?

    Not that they wouldn't have figured it out sooner or later anyway.

    Maybe they should post armed guards at the dams too.

    Of course, even an army of armed guards cannot stop mother nature from destroying a damn dam.

    "…the condition of the upstream dams is suspect."
    The real suspects are those who built these Death Machines in the first place and those who continue the deception of 'safe' for their own profit. The Nuclear Industry continues to lie, (forgot to mention maybe), the horrific dangers to all life.

    • ftlt

      They have armed security at all major dams now… Now, the upstream ones from nukes may have even more of it – I do not know…

      Your Homeland Security at work… Doesn't that make you feel safer???

      Some sleepy doughnut eating guard up against a determined motivated attacker… Good luck!!!

      Perhaps, our best form of security against terrorism would be to review our policy and actions on peoples around the world and then modify our nation's behavior accordingly… That is assuming, we have an independent nation state any longer – another question all together

      • PurpleRain PurpleRain

        Actually, they had very wide-awake and fully armed National Guard troops and equipment on duty at those sites 24-7 … along with fresh drinking water sites too and (more) for a very extended period of time.

      • PattieB PattieB

        It's simple… If we held the fuel, when crunch came, it's a barganing chip to get entrance to a DUMB.

      • Yep, bring them all home….I mean all of them, millions of military and dipolats in 160 countries, bring them ALL home and build a 120% solar infrastructure within 10 years.

        How smart is that?

        • m a x l i

          Very smart indeed
          To catch the sun's heat
          Without getting a bill
          From the sun or a thieve
          But still conservative
          Better aim for 10 days
          Where there's a will
          There are ways

    • PurpleRain PurpleRain

      Right after 9-11 all Damns in the USA were put on those lists …? .. possible terrorists target lists…I forget what they called it back then. That's why some folks in little nowhere locations coud not understand how they came to be identified by the new Homeland Security agency… they all just thought big cities like DC and NY were the only places "important-enough" to be potential targets.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    The flooding that endangered Ft Calhoun Npp was large..I would not say 'Biblical'.
    I think many nuclear plants are in danger..with much less than 'Biblical' proportions.

    Fort Calhoun, Nebraska Nuclear Plant, Should Remain Closed Says Environmental Group

    • Sickputer

      Good post HotR

      Yep…who is going to pay for machine gun squads and Patriot missile batteries at Ft. Calhoun and upstream at the weakest link?

      "Dricks said those details [NRC projections of water levels from an upstream dam collapse] were removed because of security concerns about terrorists obtaining that information."

      SP: Enenews didn't reveal the projected plant flooding water levels …the naked ape nucleocrats at the NRC did. So now they regret their careless big mouths. You can't put the cat back in the bag folks…

  • Mack Mack

    Arnie explains the situation at the Crystal River nuclear power plant in Florida better than I've heard anyone else do.

    @9:24 on

    —> in 2009, they were going to replace steam generators and rather than get someone who had familiarity to cut the containment building open to slide generators in, they decided to do it themselves

    —> the net effect was when they cut huge hole in containment building, it cracked…the crack was 40-50 feet long by 20 feet high and ran all the way around the containment

    —> they spent a year trying to fix it, and it cracked twice more

    —> it has been shut down since 2009, not generating any power, yet paying staff, security, engineers…probably spent upwards of $1 billion already

    —> just this week, they met in Florida with regulators, and they said they're still not sure if they're going to fix it

    —> they're still negotating with the insurance company

    —> depending what insurance company says, they may pull the plug

    —> meanwhile Floridans have been paying exorbinant rates for a plant that doesn't run

    —> they're soaking ratepayers in Florida in attempt to keep this idle plant from going belly up

    —> the plant was sold by Progress to Duke

  • Sickputer

    Great Crystal River NPP column and followup comments from Tampa Bay journalist John Romano:


    "Some time ago, June of 2011 to be exact, the CEO of your local energy company said it was still prudent to fix the Crystal River plant.

    Even as total repair estimates climbed as high as $2 billion. Even if this type of repair had never been attempted in the U.S. Even if Crystal River's operating license was expiring in five years. Even if nuclear energy plants were being phased out around the country.

    A year later, when Progress merged with Duke Energy, the CEO was cleaning out his desk within hours."

  • nedlifromvermont

    What about the threat of sea level rise … at a place like Turkey Point, in Florida, where the whole world is basically at sea level …

    … and an ice sheet failure in Antarctica (east or west) could easily raise sea levels two to five meters … in about twenty-four hours … world wide

    … not a case of if but when …

    … not prepared at all … those captive, toothless Toadies at the NRC, protecting us all (not) but really protecting the commercial death dealers …

    … the nuclear power sector is no better than Hitler's Nazi party …

    zero sum dead enders …


    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Hi Nedli, a large volcanic eruption in the Canary Islands could cause a tsunami of "Biblical proportions" to hit the Eastern Seaboard. Also "a matter of time" according to some experts. Not a pretty thought.

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        Sorry, didn't finish that thought. When the volcano erupts, it is likely to cause a large earthquake and undersea landslide. That could generate a gigantic tsunami, aimed at North America's Eastern seaboard (U.S.)

    • PurpleRain PurpleRain

      Turkey Point is at sea level… and it and the St Lucie Plant have both been having off and on issues and shut-downs and Florida Power and Light (which owns them and the Seabrook NH plant), keep trying to get rate increases okayed and passed year after year after year.

    • PattieB PattieB

      IT's 250 ft of sea-rise if you melt the poles. This is what in truth got the nuke storage bunker shut down, as it would be under water. They can filter water only so much in them DUMBS.

  • HoTaters HoTaters

    Right, 300 year floods, or 1,000 year floods. Call them floods of "Biblical proportions." The 1964 flooding which destroyed much of the coastline in Oregon, Washington, and Calfornia was a 300 year flood event. A hydraulics engineer in Eureka, California, told me it might have been a 1,000 year flood event, but experts still aren't sure.

    That flood was responsible for water levels which nearly reached the top of mature redwood trees in small towns like Pepperwood, California.

    I looked at photos of the flooding in the Eel River Valley during the 1964 floods. There's a documentary on the flooding which can be ordered from the State of California. Even though it was "only" a 300 or 1,000 year flood event, it looked like what I'd describe as nearly "Biblical proportions." Think Dino De Laurentiis and John Houston, and Moses parting the Red Sea, in that famous 1966 movie that shall go unnamed.

    Nuke plants don't stand a chance, even in 300 year flooding events. Such poor planning. What are these people thinking? Do they really think at all? This is denial in overdrive.

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      I just thought of something. The nuke plant at Eureka, California was operating when the flood happened.

      I just checked Wikipedia on this. It WAS in operation. Since the power was likely out in Eureka and goods and services had to be flown in, how did they keep the plant from melting down? I wonder if it actually DID melt down, and they just kept it quiet. Hmmn ….

      "The Humboldt Bay Nuclear Power Plant is a 63 MWe boiling water reactor, owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company that operated from August 1963 to July 1976 just south of Eureka, California. Concern about previously undiscovered seismic faults combined with more stringent requirements required after the Three Mile Island accident rendered the small plant unprofitable if restarted. It was shut down permanently in July 1976. It was then placed in SAFSTOR inactive status in 1988."

      • HoTaters HoTaters


        "(For those of you not familar with this story, over Christmas 1964, Northern California, especially the town of Eureka, was inundated with a great flood, and Bennington was dispatched from Long Beach to stay offshore, and be a base for helicopter rescue missions. Unfortunately, these dangerous recue attempts cost the lives of 3 helicopter crew men. For more details, see the crews stories page. I had left to go back to Boston for Christmas leave, just before the ship was sent on the rescue mission. By the time I ot back from Leave, everything was all over and the ship was back on Pier E, right where I left her!
        BUT, Lonnie was there. Read his story about the THREE FOOT EGG)

        Bill Copeland"

        • HoTaters HoTaters

          Caltrans engineers consider the flood a 300 or 1,000 yr event.

          "The Christmas flood of 1964 was a major flood that took place in the Pacific Northwest & California between December 18, 1964 and January 7, 1965, spanning the Christmas holiday.[1] Considered a 100-year flood,[2] it was the worst flood in recorded history on nearly every major stream & river in coastal Northern California & one of the worst to affect the Willamette River in Oregon. It also had an impact on parts of southwest Washington, Idaho, and Nevada.[1][3] In Oregon seventeen people died as a result of the disaster, and it caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.[3] The flooding on the Willamette covered 152,789 acres (61,831.5 ha).[4] The National Weather Service rated the flood as the fifth most destructive weather event in Oregon in the 20th century.[5] California Governor Pat Brown was quoted as saying that a flood of similar proportions could "happen only once in 1,000 years," and it was often referred to later as the Thousand Year Flood.[1] The flood killed 19 people, heavily damaged or completely devastated at least 10 towns, destroyed all or portions of more than 20 major highway and county bridges, carried away millions of board feet of lumber and logs from mill sites, devastated thousands of acres of agricultural land, killed 4,000 head of livestock, and caused $100 million in damage in Humboldt County, California alone…

          • HoTaters HoTaters

            The movie documentary (available from the CA State Parks system) is really amazing. When you watch it, then contemplate there was in operation at the time a nuke plant in Eureka, you have to ask yourself if the PG&E engineers who designed & built the plant were certifiably insane.

        • PurpleRain PurpleRain

          I don't get the three foot egg comment???

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        Right, SAFSTOR. Spent fuel rods stored in cooling ponds. Due to be removed by 2015. Don't be fooled, despite the name, it is not "safe storage." I wonder if Risabee is reading and could comment on this?

        • PattieB PattieB

          any radioactive element stored in water makes tritium. The only thing that can contain it? GOLD! So, that being said… there is no non-leaking reactor. PERIOD!

          H3 goes thru even skin. We've been breathing in more and more every year!Main cause of cancer in reactor-area residents.

  • PattieB PattieB

    strickly speaking… from a tech-point of view? Only the #3 corium has the punch remaining to go bang again. And that won't happen until it hits bedrock. One of my pics is a study I did on that part… and it will be a while yet, but it makes all the stuff they are doing…. make work?