Friday, January 11, 2013

Plastic Surgery for Our Nuclear Reactors

The aging process is never a pretty thing but for most of us it is something we accept and live with.  The glitzy people, the insecure people often turn to the surgeons knife to help turn back time. In reality it is just a surface fix.

The wrinkles and sagging skin are pulled back taught and to the eye one appears young(er) again. But inside, those unseen and vital organs still are aged and old. I don't know if they actually sag with age, perhaps they do, feeling the effects of years of gravity's pull on them.

Our nuclear reactors here is in United States are aging as well. And many of them are openly showing the affects of time and use. They are wrinkling and sagging and in some cases the plastic surgeon is being put on call to come and give them a nip and tuck. In other cases it is going to take much more then a nip here and there.

Poor San Onofre Nuclear Plant, once the fledgling young star of California's nuclear energy plants, is failing fast. She has aged beyond a quick surface fix, the sagging skin can no longer be pulled back tight into place. Now it is the interior, that beating heart that has now grown silent. But the 'family' is not ready to give up hope, perhaps a jolt with the paddles will jar her back to life?

But again, like our aged parent we come to care for, we reach for the Depends to save her and ourselves from embarrassment. But in San Onofre's case Depends can't do the job to protect the deadly fluids that lurk inside her, ready to ooze and flow into the surrounding environment.

Two of San Onofre's reactors are beyond the benefit of life support systems and are just a seismic shake away from becoming a Fukushima-style disaster. Read Harvey Wasserman's Showdown at San Onofre

Other Starlets of the nuclear day are known by such grand names as FitzPatrick, Indian Point, Vermont Yankee, Pilgrim, Palisades, Grand Gulf, River Bend and Waterford 3. All these former beauties are lined up outside the doctor's office waiting their turn to be made beautiful and young once again.

But these nips and tucks are growing more and more expensive and less reliable. Yes, sadly the Forever Young appearance is quite fleeting. A move is a foot to get these reactors shut down completely before disaster strikes.

The NRC will be holding public meetings and most of these can be accessed on the Internet either live or on video afterwards.

January 12 - Palisades Leaks -

January 16 - Post Fukushima Improvements -

January 17 - Callaway -

Want to know what the NRC is doing or has planned?  Click to go to NRC Office Website

  • Stay tuned for a future blog post on "Interim" Radwaste Storage.

The first of eight Waste Confidence Monthly Public Teleconferences will be held:

Wednesday, January 16 - 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. EST
Prior to the start of the meeting, please dial 1-800-857-2553 and provide operator with passcode 3682386


  1. That analogy was very effective. Should have been in the NYT.

  2. Thank you Keith. Appreciate your support.

  3. I ditto Keith's comment. This was so well-written. I think you should send it to the NYTimes as a Letter to the Editor. They're notoriously picky, but I don't see how they couldn't print it. I'm only about an hour away from Millstone in Waterford. The first CT one, Connecticut Yankee was closed and demolished. Not sure how effective that really is to the underlying property. I remember visiting it in '69 on a 6th grade school trip. It was going to be a Jetson's future.

  4. Wow, thanks Casey. Do they accept letters from such foreign places as Missouri?

    I get your Jetson's reference. I remember when they kicked nuclear power around as the future for fuel for our cars. Just one little pellet would power our cars forever. I thought, "Wow, first sliced bread, now this!"

    1. I agree, Annie. Send it to the Times of your choice.