Report: Sandy forecast to hit New Jersey nuclear reactor with same design as Fukushima No. 1 — Hot fuel recently loaded in pool? (MAPS)

Published: October 28th, 2012 at 10:42 pm ET


NHC Forecast: 11:00 PM EDT Sun October 28, 2012

Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station is located near New Jersey’s shoreline in an area forecast to take a direct hit from Hurricane Sandy: “The current ‘track center’ for the landfall path is central New Jersey pointing Sandy in a path that would hit Oyster Creek nuclear station.” –SimplyInfo

A: Oyster Creek

Some news reports appear to discount the threat to Oyster Creek because the reactor is shut down for refueling.

Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen said in a recent podcast that the fuel pools — not just the reactors themselves — are at risk from Hurricane Sandy: [intlink id=”gundersen-26-nuclear-plants-area-hurricane-sandy-hit-power-lost-only-plan-spent-fuel-pools-heat-diesel-generators-pump-water-audio” type=”post”]Gundersen: If power lost, only plan is to let spent fuel pools heat up… no generators to pump in water (AUDIO)[/intlink]

With Oyster Creek shut down for refueling starting last week, hot fuel may have been placed in the fuel pool quite recently.

The unit at Oyster Creek is the same as Fukushima Daiichi No. 1: “Oyster Creek is one of the oldest US nuclear plants and is the same design as Fukushima unit 1.” –SimplyInfo

Published: October 28th, 2012 at 10:42 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. Gundersen on TV: Biggest problem I see is Oyster Creek plant near Jersey Shore — No way to cool spent fuel pool while power is out — All nuclear fuel is in pool, none in reactor (VIDEO) October 29, 2012
  2. Gundersen: Nuclear fuel pool started to heat up at New Jersey plant due to Sandy — They were bringing in fire pumps because of all the problems (AUDIO) November 4, 2012
  3. Emergency Declared at NJ Nuclear Plant from Hurricane Sandy — Power lost, ocean water rising — Concern about cooling of reactor and spent fuel pool October 30, 2012
  4. Now 5 Nuke Plants with Problems from Sandy: New Jersey’s Salem reactor shuts down as water pumps “not available” — Trouble with both units at New York’s 9 Mile Point — Also Oyster Creek, Indian Point, Limerick October 30, 2012
  5. NRC: Spent fuel pool cooling lost at NJ’s Oyster Creek nuclear plant during Hurricane Sandy November 2, 2012

47 comments to Report: Sandy forecast to hit New Jersey nuclear reactor with same design as Fukushima No. 1 — Hot fuel recently loaded in pool? (MAPS)

  • ShutItAllDown

    Ah well, at least if this one craps out, it'll be harder for them to pretend there's nothing wrong.

    • guezilla

      Hate to be a spoilsport, but I think with no "major" accidents having happened in half a century before Fukushima, it's bit presumptious and hysteric to expect another so soon after. If anything, the Oyster Creek has plot armor because an accident just happened less than two years ago… and more seriously, people will be making preparations, if not on concrete level at least mentally in their mind, and have pretty good idea how to act if needed.
      Although at this point I believe a bigger worry would be the tree missile idea, if the eye is really passing across the nuclear plant, what if a tree or something is thrown right through the wall of the irradiated fuel pool? I believe there were earlier articles about how they are not designed to withstand this, and if that were to happen, there would be little even the best laid emergency plans could do.

      • Mack Mack

        Three Mile Island in 1979 was downplayed by the "industry."

        Yet Dr. Gould and Dr. Sternglass found a statistically significant increase of ONE MILLION deaths believed attributable to Three Mile Island.

        Source: This award-winning video on Three Mile Island

      • lam335 lam335

        re: "no "major" accidents having happened in half a century before Fukushima"???

        In response to your statistics-based confidence, by the time I was 36 years old, THREE significant nuclear accidents had happened during my life time–Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima.

        And going back a half a century, don't forget about Simi Valley, Kyshtym (level 6 event), Windscale (level 5) …

        And then there are all of the other "minor" accidents:

      • VyseLegendaire VyseLegendaire

        THere have been Chernobyl and TML to name a few. And the reactors have continued to age as we go forward – and climate events are spiraling into unknown territory depending on how you ask. And our grid and infrastructure and have continued to decline in robustness along the way. And fate loves irony.

        "bit presumptious and hysteric" is certainly the terms of denial in my view.

        • lam335 lam335

          Speaking of all the "minor" nuclear accidents that have occurred, here's a pretty interesting "calendar" of nuclear events:

          At least one has occurred on almost every date of the calendar year.

          • guezilla

            Since Hiroshima in 1945, and that's not even an "accident", still interesting list and they're not listing nearly everything that's happened. Of course I meant to write something more akin to *major* rather than "major", as Fukushima would be considered very major, and implictly referred to reactors of the Fukushima design as this is what we're talking about.

            To be exact, Chernobyl and Fukushima are the only nuclear incidents so far to have been classified as MAJOR under International Nuclear Event Scale. Chernobyl was a Soviet design without even containment, so while it is indeed something we should not forget, it hardly has any bearing when talking about reactors in USA or the track record of GE Mark I reactors in particular.

            Yet, by the rhetoric here everybody seems to be expecting an exact repeat of Fukushima. And to be bluntly honest, I think the people in charge of Fukushima recovery must've been inept idiots. If there is loss of power on an US reactor, especially after Fukushima, it is inconceivable that generators and fire-engines wouldn't be air-lifted on site in blink of an eye. While it will take several days for coolant water to boil away.

            Yet I am not claiming the situation is without risk. The only way cooling can't be restored in time is if there is already too high radiation on site, and if the reactor core has been unloaded into irradiated fuel pool, the only way THAT can happen is if the pool or pipes are physically damaged.

            • Radio VicFromOregon

              guezilla, the roads were blocked two or more stories high with debris from the tsunami. It took days for trucks to get through. All the damage had already been set in motion from the time of the quake to about 4 hours afterwards. TEPCO even managed to scram some of the reactors which kept things from getting even worse and responded by their book as much as they could under the circumstances and felt it was bad enough that all was lost and that it was time to evacuate. Maybe review the independent report as well as some videos of the devastation all around Fukushima and you could get a better idea of what was taking place. Fukushima was one of hundreds of immediate crisis going on in Japan from the earthquake and tsunami. It was not the only event getting time or attention. With Chernobyl and TMI and the others, nothing but the nuclear event was occurring. Add in a major widespread natural disaster and resources and attention are immediately split a hundred directions.

              • guezilla

                I don't really see what you're getting at, to me it seems we're basically in agreement. In Fukushima the earthquake and tsunami already released radiation, and meltdowns were in progress long before TEPCO even admitted it was a possibility. It was not just a clean power outage, and this complicates recovery immensely.
                But regardless of that, the importance of cooling even a scrammed reactor is not just theoretic, it is universally known and effectively the most important aspect of nuclear reactor design and operation. The clear long-term consequences of loss of coolant accident should have been obvious to everybody, let alone the plant operators, and it should have been the nation's top priority at the time. Had appropriate resources been mobilized, Fukushima *might* have been limited to little more than 4xTMI (assuming no major EQ damage as claimed).
                Yet, we have records of TEPCO officials squabbling over whether to send the helicopter to send funds or not, employees failing to get essential supplies because no money or stores closed. And defense forces turning back because of explosions – correct me if I'm wrong, but is not their sworn duty to go in line of fire to defend the nation?
                Chernobyl reactor design was such that recovery from an operator error was not possible in any case, plus it was leaking well beyond western standard even without an accident to boot. TMI was bad but nothing on the scale of Chernobyl or Fukushima, which people seem to be expecting here.

          • guezilla

            Stupid response length limit. Continued.

            …the only way THAT can happen is if the pool or pipes are physically damaged. And lets face it, there IS a chance of that happening.

            But it's not like the red herring people seem to be spreading here, "OMG there will be a power-cut and then it's another Fukushima!!!". Riding on that bandwagon will only come to bite clean energy movement in the butt when there IS a power cut, and… nothing happens.

            • Jebus Jebus

              Tepco, the NRC, and the Nuclear Industry uses "low probability" logic also…

              • They also obtained their 'Risk Management' data from people paid to make it 'look good'.

                It's not that the probability is low.
                It's that the likelihood is imminent.
                (sooner or later)

      • Chelsea Chelsea

        Yeah… read about Davis Besse Nuclear Power Plant and how the NRC lodged the largest fine in history about First Energy and how people went to jail over the cover-up there…

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        Have you forgotten Chernobyl in 1986 and the 57 nuclear accidents since then?

        Nuclear and radiation accidents
        Fifty-seven accidents have occurred since the Chernobyl disaster, and 57% (56 out of 99) of all nuclear-related accidents have occurred in the USA.[5]…”

  • snukey

    Did I read that right – no backup Generators? Backup Shmackup who needs'em!?

  • arclight arclight

    With Oyster Creek shut down for refueling starting last week, hot fuel may have been placed in the fuel pool very recently.

    The unit at Oyster Creek is a clone of Fukushima Daiichi No. 1: “Oyster Creek is one of the oldest US nuclear plants and is the same design as Fukushima unit 1.”

    you dont think the nrc and new york times are lying?
    whats it going to be like when entwhistle takes over? 🙁 not good..

    Crews Securing Oyster Creek, Reactor Offline
    'Safety is our number one priority,' site vice president says
    10:59 am

    A storm response team has been mobilized this weekend to protect the plant and its workers, according to Suzanne D'Ambrosio, site communications manager. it will "closely monitor the storm and take actions to address challenges if they arise," D'Ambrosio said.

    “Safety is our number one priority. We are prepared to protect our plant, our workers and the public no matter what this storm throws at us,” said Oyster Creek Site Vice President Michael Massaro.


  • arclight arclight

    Oyster Creek Generating Station is protected against floods

     Oyster Creek is designed to remain in a safe operating condition even during significant floods.  Tsunamis are not a threat to Oyster Creek. The Atlantic basin does not have the tectonic makeup to generate earthquakes that cause large tsunamis seen in the Pacific Rim.  According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, there have been three significant tsunamis in the Atlantic in the past 400 years. The largest of those produced a wave between two to four feet high in the mid-Atlantic region.  Oyster Creek is situated 23 feet above sea level. The nearest body of water, Barnegat Bay, is at sea level. The largest recorded flood at the site is 4.5 feet above sea level. The maximum recorded high tide at Barnegat Bay (approximately two miles from site) is approximately seven feet above sea level.

    Oyster Creek Generating Station is protected against power loss


    • arclight arclight

      The electricity to operate the facility comes from one of three independent transmission lines feeding power into the station switchyard (similar to a substation). Two additional independent grid power sources can be connected quickly should any of the three primary sources fail.
       Should all five offsite power sources fail, two locomotive-sized emergency diesel generators that start automatically, two independent battery banks and two backup natural gas-fueled combustion turbine generators ensure continued electricity for safe and secure shutdown and cooling.
       The two emergency diesel generators are housed safely and securely within a reinforced concrete structure in separate rooms and can operate 24/7 for months if needed.
       The generators are fueled by two diesel fuel tanks. The primary tank is in an underground vault and holds a three-day supply of fuel. A second, above-ground tank holds an additional five-day supply. Pipes run underground to the diesel generators and the tanks are bolted and secured to the ground.
       The station has contingency plans for replenishing diesel fuel supplies in an extended natural disaster.  Oyster Creek has three banks of large emergency batteries in two locations within the facility and
      can power equipment for up to eight hours if all four emergency diesel and combustion turbine generators fail.

  • Jebus Jebus

    ugh! predictions abound…

    Oldest US nuclear reactor: a ‘disaster’ in waiting?
    Friday, March 25, 2011 8:55 EDT

    “You also have that tremendously stupid design to start with where the spent fuel rods are sitting on top of the reactor,”

    New Jersey is not in a seismically active zone but meteorologists say the coastal state is long overdue for a Category Five hurricane.

    “One good storm surge, and Oyster Creek’s backup generators are swamped. It’s Japan all over again,” Sturmfels said.

  • Jebus Jebus

    If it can happen in mid summer, what are the odds?

    Oyster Creek nuclear reactor offline after power failure at plant
    Monday, July 23, 2012, 12:56 PM

    The Oyster Creek nuclear plant in Lacey Township was shut down early today after a power failure, according to plant owner Exelon.

    Electrical service from the outside grid was disrupted at around 3:41 a.m., and the plant’s emergency diesel generators kicked in and powered the plant’s safety systems, said a statement from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    The problem appeared to be a grounded 230-kilovolt line, according to the NRC.

  • Anthony Anthony

    As far as I am concerned there would be NO EXCUSE for the nuclear industry to create and implement BETTER safeguards and fail-proofs BECAUSE OF Fukushima.


  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    Extended 'grid down' survival scenario about to be unleashed across Eastern seaboard as storm of the century approaches

    Learn more:

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    Podcast: Hurricane Sandy and U.S. Nuclear Power Plants (from Fairewinds)

    "As the U.S. East Coast prepares for Hurricane Sandy to make landfall, many are wondering how American nuclear plants will withstand the severe storm. In this podcast Arnie Gundersen and Kevin Hurley discuss nuclear plant vulnerabilities in the face of a hurricane and what we can expect. Other topics, in this weeks podcast, include a new report from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute which finds Fukushima Daiichi is still leaking, swelling citizen protests at the Indian Kudankulam plant, and a milestone in nuclear history as one U.S. plant plans to shut down for economic reasons. "

  • I spotted a high radiation network ALERT today in North Carolina at about 3:45 pm eastern time.

    Here's the screen shot:

    …followed by a high reading (29 uR/hr) in South Carolina on Blackcat Systems.

    Here's that screen shot:
    (note: 28 uR/hr is considered high)
    (2012-10-28 at approximately 4:25 pm eastern time)

    • Radioactivist

      The first screenshot shows a 187 reading in North Carolina right?
      That's far above the others and seems really serious.

      Anyone have any info on that?

      You say that 28 uR/hr is considered high and the screenshot shows numerous (I counted at least 22) readings at 29 or higher, several in the 40s and 50s. What gives?

      • The 187 cpm shot North Carolina is from Radiation Network.
        Alert for Radiation Network is considered 100 cpm.

        The other screen shot is from Blackcat Systems in South Carolina is 29 uR/hr.

        The Blackcat Systems unit of measurement is different.
        They use uR/hr. (Not cpm) 28 uR/hr is their high.

        Sorry for any confusion. I hope this is clear.

        Two different systems –

        1. Radiation Network:

        2. Blackcat Systems:

        I also check EnviroReporter's independent rad readers. 🙂

  • arclight arclight

    heuston! we may have a problem

    concerning demographics and zimmer frame snags

    Slight hitch, bad planning! USA- 39 percent of nuclear-industry workers will reach retirement by 2016

    “It’s really a microcosm of what’s going on in the electric-utility industry and in heavy industry. We did a lot of hiring 20-30 years ago and (those workers) have now reached retirement age,” said John Wheeler, Entergy Mississippi’s manager of work force planning.

    About 20 percent of the utility’s overall work force of about 2,000 people will reach retirement age over the next four years, he said, although it’s not clear how many will opt to end their careers versus staying on at facilities like Entergy’s Grand Gulf nuclear station in Port Gibson.

    maybe they are to old? the workers i mean..
    some more of the npp storm preperations here

  • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

    Tropical-storm-force winds that extended out 450 miles from the center on Sat. Oct. 27 now extend to 520 miles from the center.

  • lam335 lam335

    There should be a law that requires nuclear plants to shut down when major hurricanes, etc., are projected to be headed straight for them. This decision should not be left up to the "discretion" of profit-driven plant operators. Their "discretion" amounts to little more than a willingness to roll the dice rather than incur diminished profits.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    East Coast is littered with nuclear plants …they need to be shut down, one by one, for good. Seriously.

  • Chelsea Chelsea

    Well, I'm in Ohio and the rain has already begun. I'm so lucky, I'm DW from this monstrosity: Here's hoping DB doesn't see any more "issues", and I hope none of the others do, either.

  • This discussion highlights the neglect of public interest science in favor of vested interest witchcraft. It also reveals international syndicate for information suppression by ignoring a wealth of facts available freely on blogs. Blogs serve in the internet era as citizen information base on facts. Governments spend huge amounts on spying and suppression of information and even spreading false information. Instead they can use the services of citizens to react and comment on path breaking blogs by bringing them to the notice of the public to change the way we perceive progress. Then this can act as an information data base to steer our civilization from the destructive to the constructive livable, healthy way to live it up. A case in point is nature and man. Is it a man-made natural disaster or a purely natural event called a natural disaster(independent of wilful but ignorant interference by man)? These SSSandys may really be the results of persistent interference by man into nature, otherwise known as MODERN CIVILIZATION(mc). The positive feedback effects of mc were immediately apparent to Mahatma Gandhi who perceived the unequivocal infinitely more than natural hits to our normal way of life by crude specialist based industrialization as if the interconnections of nature did not exist. They created artificial systems of plundering nature by mining based on imperfect knowledge that things are separate and have to be extracted from nature and mc created.Omnicide!

  • omniversling

    RK, very astute comment…

    "They created artificial systems of plundering nature by mining based on imperfect knowledge that things are separate and have to be extracted from nature and mc created.Omnicide!"

    Cant agree with you on the 'Omnicide" though…still too much to do…. =o)

  • @omniversling
    October 29, 2012 at 6:32 am
    In such instances we should really look back at the truth of what is happening during normal op of nuclears,what really happened during the accidents like T M I,Chernobyl,Fukushima(ongoing).We really do not have an audit of modern civilization(mc)'s irreversible consequences(extinctions of languages, local communities,species of animals, forests, the extent of damages to the gross nature product). So unless we see the distance from here to the end in some measure we may not really know where we are. For a concrete example, in my city Vashi the pollution is so huge that a mosquito net becomes black, the fan becomes black in no time. Garbage remains unattended that dengue results and kills.
    Can we really tell whats happening right now in the inside of each and every nuke fuel cycle and how it is interacting with nature? Fukushima was made possible. Nuclear wastes are converting us and all species into nuclear wastes by internal contamination.. when will the crash happen? To change, by applying the precautionary principle we must stop mc in its tracks before extinction.. Look at the remarkable ECRR 2010 and see the implication of the Recommendations for our health. I dont think the policy makers know the answers. We are inhaling not only U238 but also lead(from cars) and thorium232. The risk has risen by infinity compared with ICRP Recommendations of Risk of internal radionuclide contamination.Infinite Risk compared to now!

  • jump-ball jump-ball

    Power outages have begun in Forked River / Oyster Creek NPP areas in Lacey Township and other northern NJ townships, and can be followed here:

    Local TV affiliates often broadcast critical local news events which often get censored or sanitized if reported on bigger regional or national level stations: during the 2011 Missouri River flood Omaha's KETV asked Fort Calhoun Nuclear for permission to photograph the flooded, sandbagged, aqua-dammed nuclear plant by boat, and were – you guessed it – denied, then sent the boat with film crew out to do the story anyway arguing the Missouri was a public waterway, and I never saw the threatened 'Port Calhoun' plant up close again anywhere else.

    In case of a serious Oyster Creek flood or grid event I will check local TV before the true details are pulled or scrubbed clean.

  • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

    Con-ed shutting power off in Lower Manhattan. according to the weather channel.

    • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

      More than 1.5 million without power already. Any chance some of the customers are Nuclear power plants? Wish they all had wind turbines right now.

  • dineshsjce

    <a href="">Diesel generators</a> are the best power alternative for electricity.