Will nukes shut down?

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Hi, I live in NE Ohio, about 30 mi. from Perry Nuclear Plant. Does anyone know if they're actually going to shut the nukes on 7/1/99? And, if they do, will it affect power elsewhere in NE Ohio? If power's down, anyone have a feel for how long? Are they all interconnected? Please forgive me if you've seen this before, but I'm posting this everywhere I can to help me prepare. Thanks, guys! Linda701@aol.com

-- Linda T. (Linda701@aol.com), June 01, 1999


1. I don't know, ask Al Gore. 2. If ALL nukes are shut down, it's going to be a warm summer. 3. At 1/1/00? THAT is THE $64,000 question (boy am I showing my age) 4. Well they're all supporting the grid, if that is what you mean.

Don't know which thread (but Diane knows, she must be psychic! ;) ) but somebody pointed out that it only takes a few days for the generating core of a nuclear power plant to come down to below boiling, this 6 months to shut down refers to something else, perhaps partial mothballing.

-- Ken Seger (kenseger@earthlink.net), June 01, 1999.

Linda, There have been some very lengthy postings on this subject in the archives, worth checking out. I believe the following represents a fair consensus of those threads. 7/1/99 is the date by which the NRC is supposed to receive final information on the Y2K status of the plants. The NRC will not be shutting any of the plants down on that date, and does not need to do so them. A decision may come sometime in the fall. 7/1/99 had been perceived as the date by which nukes would have to shut down to allow them to cool safely with the aid of external power, but the critical period is far shorter than that and can be accomplished entirely or largely by on-site emergency generation.

Depending on the amount of excess capacity, your nuke may or may not make a difference in your region. Northeast Ohio is part of the grid that serves the entire eastern portion of the US. Nukes account for approximately 20% of energy generation nationally, and 40% east of the Mississippi (and very high in states like New Jersey). The New England grid believes it will be operating at approximately 50% capacity at the rollover. (This assumes there are no unexpected circumstances, like a plant suddenly out of commission, or extremely cold weather.)

As I understand it, the NRC is responsible only for the safety of the nukes, not their ability to generate. (In other words, NRC is only auditing Y2K compliance of the safety systems, not Y2K compliance of the generation-related systems.) So, if the NRC believes the nukes can operate safely (or at least shut down safely if need be), it is likely to allow them to stay up over the rollover. However, that does not guarantee that they CAN operate, only that they MAY operate. The industry would have you believe that the predominance of analog systems makes nukes far less prone to Y2K problems. Since nukes only need to refuel apx. every 18 months, that could make the nukes (and hydro) back up to the fossil fuel utilities.

Personally, I believe there will be extreme political pressure to ensure that the nukes MAY operate at the rollover. Admitting ahead of time that there could be blackouts from a known lack of capacity would be creating an extremely vulnerable situation for us internationally.

Noone will be able to tell you how long the power might be off. Indications are that Monday, 1/3 is the most vulnerable date, if large industrial and commercial consumers have powered down and use that date to power back up. If an oil shortage develops, power generation problems could reappear through the spring, into the period of greatest annual demand in mid summer. A source of alternative heat is never a bad idea for those of us in the north.

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), June 01, 1999.

The NRC is ONLY concerned with the safety of the plants. Wether or not they will work, is another question !!!!!!! My opinion? NO.

-- FLAME AWAY (BLehman202@aol.com), June 01, 1999.

There is a interesting discussion going on here about this and also the chernobyl disaster something about it ocurring when they were trying to cool the reactor down . Worth looking at http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=000sze

-- Johnny (JLJTM@BELLSOUTH.NET), June 01, 1999.

Brooks, thanks for a scarey summary. You say "The New England grid believes it will be operating at approximately 50% capacity at the rollover."

That's quite a statement. At what capacity does the grid normally operate at that time of year? IOW, does 50% represent a serious cut, or a relatively minor one? If it's a serious cut, shouldn't people be informed about it in enough time to take some action?

-- put another log (on@the.fire), June 01, 1999.

P.A.L., I apologize, I meant my 50% capacity statement in the reverse of how you appear to have taken it. Winter is a time of low load. With all possible plants standing by, the point is that New England expects to have plenty of reserve capacity available. I would expect that to be true across the country, in varying capacities.

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), June 01, 1999.

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