Nuclear industry poised for hiring binge amid planned growth, u...
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#1 Apr 30, 2010
Two words: GOOD LUCK.
The nuclear industry in the United States is not just dying, it's dead. Primarily because the commercial nuclear power production is operated and maintained by a bunch of private companies, where the one objective is profit. These companies may talk about safety, but safety costs money.
But, you say, we have the Nuclear Regulatory Commission !! They wil step in and prevent the bad things from happening. Not so. The NRC provides oversight, but in all fairness, they can't be everywhere.
From 1982 to 2004, I worked in the nuclear industry. After experiencing the 'near miss' corrosion hole in the reactor lid at the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Ohio, I had my fill of the industry. This was a case where the NRC and INPO (another oversight body) gave high ratings to the plant for performance, and the NRC even gave the plant permission to keep running to the next refueling outage, despite indications that a problem existed on the reactor head. The only thing that was holding back 2000+ PSI of primary coolant was a 3/16" layer of stainless steel cladding that should have been underneath 6" of steel. Corrosion had eaten away the 6" of carbon steel in an area about the size of a football.
Don't take my word for it. I encourage you to simply type in "Davis Besse corrosion" as a search. You'll get more information than you'll ever want to know.
My reason for saying this is that corporate greed and the perceived need to keep the plant on the grid drove these decisions. The company admitted they had put production ahead of safety.
Until we come up with a solid standard plant design, get rid of the porkbelly politics, and take the decisions regarding nuclear safety out of corporate hands, we're not going to turn this around.
I for one am glad I'm out. I can sleep better at night.
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