Nukes and Nuke Accessories

Nuke adjacent, I guess?


TIL that support beams were installed backwards on the 2nd reactor at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant because the single set of blueprints for the two reactors was not physically flipped when installing the beams in the 2nd reactor.


OL3 soon fully online?

A new round of trials will test Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor’s at full-scale power output this evening, newspaper Ilkka-Pohjalainen reported.

Finland’s newest nuclear reactor, OL3 has become notorious due to the length and number of delays, as the reactor was originally slated for completion in 2009.

Plant operator, Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), announced that the facility was brought back online on Wednesday morning, following months of repair and maintenance work and more delays.

Regular electricity production at the plant is now estimated to begin 17 April, according to TVO, the paper reported.

The 1.6-gigawatt European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR), was granted a construction permit in 2005 and was originally scheduled to be fully operational by 2009.


Not an expert, but some napkin-calcs anyway…

12 kilos of U235 [1].

A couple kiloton-scale bombs worth. About a quarter-bomb’s worth [2].

Of course, refining that stuff is hard: yellowcake to pure uranium to weapons grade uranium involves chemistry and centrifuges and machining that is … really hard. Not something you’d expect from a non-state actor.

So which state would be interested in 10 drums of yellowcake on the black market? North Korea jumps to mind, but I’m not really clear on where they get any of their fissile material. Any others?

[1] the math:
If “natural uranium” means yellowcake, that’s around 80% uranium oxide (U3O8).
2.5 T * 80% = 2.0T U3O8

Uranium percentage by weight in U3O8 is
3 * 238.03 / (3 * 238.03 + 8 * 16.00) = 84.8%

84.5% of 2 T = 1.70 T U

U235 (the isotope you need for reactors and weapons) is around 0.72% of naturally occurring uranium, so that’s

1.7T * 0.72% = 0.0122 T

[2] The critical mass of pure U235 is around 47 kg. I mis-remembered it as around 10 kg. For U239, it’s around 10 kg, but that only exists briefly (a few hours) as a fission by-product. source.


joanna lumley rage GIF


Eletronuclear, the Brazilian company responsible for managing national nuclear power plants, omitted a leak of radioactive water at the Angra 1 unit. The company estimated that 90 liters had flown into the sea in a region visited by a lot of tourists.

These accidents must be immediately reported to CNEN (National Nuclear Energy Commission) and Ibama (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources), but the Company hide the leak for 21 days and was fined.

Government and Eletronuclear say that the volume of contaminated water released was small, had a low level of radioactivity and promises to appeal in court.


Monticello MN. On the headwaters of the Mississippi River.


That politician pushing for it - yikes.

It’s been done before - in Tennessee. Work on Watts Bar Two, as the plant is known, began in 1973, even before Bataan. But then it was mothballed for decades, says Mr Cojuangco, before they decided to finish construction in 2009.
“In 2016, it became America’s newest nuclear plant. If it’s ok there, then why not here?” he asks.

From Wikipedia:

On May 23, 2016, initial criticality was achieved.[11] As of August 31, 2016, a transformer fire had delayed the start of commercial operation past the late summer goal.[12] Commercial operation started in October 2016, once the affected transformer was replaced, operators completed the inspection on the switchyard affected equipment and the final full power testing was completed.[13] On October 19, 2016 the Watts Bar 2 was the first United States reactor to enter commercial operation since 1996.[14] Due to failures in its condenser, TVA took it offline on March 23, 2017. The condenser, which was installed during the original construction phase of the plant in the 1970s, suffered a structural failure in one of its sections. On August 1, 2017 the unit was restarted after four months of repairs to the condenser.[3]

It will likely be the last Generation II reactor to be completed in the US.[15]

In 2022 the four original steam generator units were replaced.[16]

My emphasis.

Mothballed plants age differently to running plants; they get corroded in different places. Stuff breaks in unusual ways.

ETA: My point being, if you want to make the case for commissioning a mothballed plant, I’m not sure that Watts Bar Two is the plant I’d use for a showcase example. Unless it was the best case.


Congressman Cojuangco’s remarks say a lot about the usual standards of construction in the Philippines and nothing at all about the safety of the nuclear plant.

Passing through a semi-lit machinery room, he points to the maze of piping and electrical conduits: “Look at the quality of that wiring. Look how neatly it is laid out.”

X-raying 100 per cent of the welds implies that all welds are presumed to be defective until proven otherwise.

“Please feel the welds,” he says, patting the walls. “I challenge you to find welding as nice as this anywhere in the Philippines. In the US they are required to do X-ray inspection of 20% of the welds [in a nuclear plant]. Here it was 100%, so arguably this building is better quality than in the United States.”


14 years late


Sir, that’s not how welding QA works.