North Anna: Officials unsure whether control rods fell into reactor core due to shaking or loss of power

Published: September 6th, 2011 at 12:25 pm ET
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24 comments


Dominion: North Anna Reactors Won’t Restart Until Safety Assured, AP, September 5, 2011:

Emphasis Added

[…] “The plant is safe, we have seen no significant damage from any of our inspections thus far, there was no release of radioactivity,” said Dan Stoddard, senior vice president of nuclear operations for Dominion.

Officials are still reviewing what happened at the facility after the quake, and inspections continue. Stoddard said the final analysis is expected to be completed by the end of next week, but he could not say when the reactors will be restarted. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission also is inspecting the plant. […]

Within seconds of the afternoon tremor, the plant automatically shut down. At that time, the facility lost off-site power and control rods dropped into the reactor core and stopped the nuclear chain reaction, shutting down the reactor. Officials are unsure whether the rods fell due to the shaking or loss of power, but the rods dropping is not unusual and can happen even during something as simple as a blown fuse. […]

Published: September 6th, 2011 at 12:25 pm ET
By

24 comments

Related Posts

  1. Reuters: It now appears quake caused problem inside both reactor cores at North Anna, triggering shutdown -Officials September 9, 2011
  2. 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
  3. Gundersen: People around North Anna didn’t lose power, only nuke plant did — Best info says a problem in switching yard (AUDIO) September 6, 2011
  4. NYT: North Anna nuke plant in situation that no US reactor has ever faced before — NRC has no protocol to see if design held up after quake September 8, 2011
  5. Officials change story about why North Anna reactors went into automatic shut down after quake — “There were multiple trip signals coming in” September 4, 2011

24 comments to North Anna: Officials unsure whether control rods fell into reactor core due to shaking or loss of power

  • enemoe

    The headline here sure makes it sounds like something happened that wasn’t designed to happen. Rods “falling” into the reactor core isn’t like they just fell off a shelf into it. The control rods are designed to drop into the core at the first sign of a problem (as I am sure most of us know).

    I am not saying everything is peachy at North Anna, but this is a bit alarmist in its language.

  • Government, if you’re listening.

    You wouldn’t have these credibility problems if you learned how to engage properly with your citizens – both online and off.

    The age of asymmetrical communications is fast becoming a thing of the past. Asymmetrical communication assumes government is smart and people are dumb and that messages have to be filtered from elites down to “sheeple”.

    Studies show that people are far less dumb than imagined, and that open two-way communication can lead to co-resolution of problems or issues much earlier (and better) with a verifiable win-win for both at the end of the process.

    Much of this work is being pioneered in the new age of public relations that stresses open government and the use of social media to prevent stressors to the system and open up the dialogue (think of enenews), and, dare we say it, make people happy (including yourselves).

    A case study in communication failure, reactive management and asymmetric communication is kindly provided by TEPCO, and I expect we all need to watch and learn. That is, learn how NOT to commmunicate with targeted publics.

  • Darth

    In the following interview Arnie Gundersen makes the observation that the diesel generator “failure” was actually a leak in in the cooling water pipe connected to it and that is why it was shut down. The interesting question is, “Did the EQ cause the pipe to leak?” It’s concerns like this that should give pause to the integrity of other piping in the system – especially those that are buried and slightly leaking – so slight the leak cannot be detected but could fail in a catastrophic manner.

    Arnold Gundersen with a Fukushima update – with Dr. Helen Caldicott

  • “Did you see my control rod? It was right here when I went to lunch.”

    • WindorSolarPlease

      Thanks for laugh risbee.)))) Even in the most serious times, a laugh is needed to help us get through.

    • I chuckled too when I thought of it, visualizing Michael Palin saying this to Eric Idle … but of course there was a sincerity and seriousness that underlay all their work, as with all good satire.

  • socal stukncali

    Sounds like to me they are setting the stage to tell us something later. Or maybe I’m just paranoid. With all these nuclear meltdowns and war going on lately I have been a little more on edge then normal.

    • WindorSolarPlease

      Hi stukncali

      I don’t think you are paranoid, there is just a lot going on with nuclear power and everything else.

      This is the first time that I can write more about bad things in the world, than good things that are happening.

  • patb2009

    If a fuse blows, that’s a failure, and the rod dropping is a failure that goes to a better ground state.

    Now if the earthquake caused electrical problems in the drive electronics and the drives fell, that’s a unplanned failure that went to a good ground state.

    Now, Bear in mind if the earthquake blew out reactor conduits, could it also blow out conduits to the primary circulation pumps?
    Could it blow out conduits leading to the computers?

    The fact they needed to vent steam and start the RHRS, tells me they most likely lost all primary cooling and were on the emergency cooling loop.

    It’s sort of like an airplane landing with all the generators blown out but the battery working.
    It can be done, but, you are one battery away from a loss of aircraft.

    It would be interesting if they could do a pressure test and check integrity of the pipes in the reactor.

  • James2

    If there’s a chance the control rods fell, then the reactor is junk.

  • gonefission gonefission

    Anyone hear the story that the Colorado and VA quakes were caused by the goverment blasting underground tunnels with Nukes? And the source was Russian and was not a reputable resource.
    However this data is very interesting and these wave patterns are from IRIS ‘Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology’ The following video is of 4 recent earthquakes,including the Co. and VA. events.
    definately interesting to even an untrained eye.

    If the Govnt. is responsable the really should help the people that sustained considerable losses to property\merchandise as most of these people have no earthquake ins.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51rqQsqDkz8

    And thankfully Pueblo Co. where they were trying to get approval for zoning to build a plant was NOT approved by a unanimous VOTE!! (GREAT NEWS it should have been posted as a headline here ) 🙂

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    gonefission, thanks very much for the Pueblo, CO vote. It’s so nice to have positive news for a change.
    We Celebrate Pueblo’s No Vote on Nuclear Power
    http://www.coloradogreenparty.org/1204/celebrate-pueblos-vote-nuclear-power/

    • gonefission gonefission

      I guess its not that recent, after that quake hit not to far just south of Pueblo in Trinidad is just more facts to back up that NO place is SAFE for nuclear.
      But hey 1 at a time …. its somethin at least 🙂