Massive Cover-Up of Risks from Flooding to Numerous U.S. Nuclear Facilities
Numerous American nuclear reactors are built within flood zones:
As one example, on the following map (showing U.S. nuclear power plants built within earthquake zones), the red lines indicate the Mississippi and Missouri rivers:
Numerous dam failures have occurred within the U.S.:
The Huntsville Times wrote in an editorial last year:
A tornado or a ravaging flood could just as easily be like the tsunami that unleashed the final blow [at Fukushima as an earthquake].
An engineer with the NRC says that a reactor meltdown is an u201Cabsolute certaintyu201D if a dam upstream of a nuclear plant fails … and that such a scenario is hundreds of times more likely than the tsunami that hit Fukushima :
An engineer with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) … Richard Perkins, an NRC reliability and risk engineer, was the lead author on a July 2011 NRC report detailing flood preparedness. He said the NRC blocked information from the public regarding the potential for upstream dam failures to damage nuclear sites.
Perkins, in a letter submitted Friday with the NRC Office of Inspector General, said that the NRC u201Cintentionally mischaracterized relevant and noteworthy safety information as sensitive, security information in an effort to conceal the information from the public.u201D The Huffington Post first obtained the letter.
The report in question was completed four months after … Fukushima.
The report concluded that, u201CFailure of one or more dams upstream from a nuclear power plant may result in flood levels at a site that render essential safety systems inoperable.u201D
Huffington Post reported last month:
These charges were echoed in separate conversations with another risk engineer inside the agencywho suggested that the vulnerability at one plant in particular – the three-reactor Oconee Nuclear Station near Seneca, S.C. – put it at risk of a flood and subsequent systems failure, should an upstream dam completely fail, that would be similar to the tsunami that hobbled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in Japan last year.***
The engineer is among several nuclear experts who remain particularly concerned about the Oconee plant in South Carolina, which sits on Lake Keowee, 11 miles downstream from the Jocassee Reservoir. Among the redacted findings in the July 2011 report – and what has been known at the NRC for years, the engineer said – is that the Oconee facility, which is operated by Duke Energy, would suffer almost certain core damage if the Jocassee dam were to fail. And the odds of it failing sometime over the next 20 years, the engineer said, are far greater than the odds of a freak tsunami taking out the defenses of a nuclear plant in Japan.
u201CThe probability of Jocassee Dam catastrophically failing is hundreds of times greater than a 51 foot wall of water hitting Fukushima Daiichi,u201D the engineer said. u201CAnd, like the tsunami in Japan, the man-made u2018tsunami' resulting from the failure of the Jocassee Dam will — with absolute certainty — result in the failure of three reactor plants along with their containment structures.
u201CAlthough it is not a given that Jocassee Dam will fail in the next 20 years,u201D the engineer added, u201Cit is a given that if it does fail, the three reactor plants will melt down and release their radionuclides into the environment.u201D
In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Huffington Post, Richard H. Perkins, a reliability and risk engineer with the agency's division of risk analysis, alleged that NRC officials falsely invoked security concerns in redacting large portions of a report detailing the agency's preliminary investigation into the potential for dangerous and damaging flooding at U.S. nuclear power plants due to upstream dam failure.
Perkins, along with at least one other employee inside NRC, also an engineer, suggested that the real motive for redacting certain information was to prevent the public from learning the full extent of these vulnerabilities, and to obscure just how much the NRC has known about the problem, and for how long.
George Washington blogs at Washington’s Blog.