Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant Is Kind of Leaking

Categories: News
radioactive-man.jpg
sylvar via Flickr


If you made a list of places you'd like to not have a leak, the largest nuclear power plant in the United States is probably at the top of the list.

Well, that plant, the Palo Verde Nuclear Generation Station west of Phoenix, kind of has a leak.

Radioactive water is leaking inside one of the reactors, but the good news is that the space it leaked into is still contained, so we don't have to pack up and leave town to avoid getting burned to a crisp in a nuclear holocaust.

According to the Associated Press, officials say there's no public health threat at all. Even more, the Arizona Republic says that none of the plant's workers are threatened by the leak, either.

The leak sounds as though it's extremely small. From the Republic:
Officials were unsure how much water leaked out, because it would have immediately flashed to steam upon leaking. But they said that instruments constantly measure the humidity in the area, and those monitors did not detect an uptick in moisture in the air during the unit's most recent run, nor did their monitors detect a drop in the amount of water in the vessel. They suspect the leak was less than 1/100th of a gallon per minute.
This apparently minuscule leak could cost up to $15 million to repair, according to the report.

Coincidentally, the Associated Press got a hold of an unreleased Government Accountability Office report, listing the number of safety violations at the nuclear-power facilities across the country.

It reported that Palo Verde had the second-most total violations, with 299 "lower-level" violations, and five "higher-level" violations.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.



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11 comments
Jukes
Jukes

I would be the first to agree that small problems should be addressed before they become big problems.  But all problems at nuclear plants are not created equal.  Those of you who want to use this as an excuse to shut down Palo Verde need to think about this.  As long as the voters of this state continue to pack the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) with people who have disdain for green energy, we are going to have a real problem on our hands if a major electricity provider is taken off the grid with nothing to replace it.  

The elected member of the ACC are doing their damnedest to run down solar power production.  Their recent regs designed to make the use of solar panels less profitable for those who would put them on their property is a prime example.  The obscene profits collected by Arizona's electricity providers took a small dip, so the ACC's answer is to squelch the popularity of solar.  I prefer solar and wind power to nuclear power, but we aren't going to be able to take Palo Verde off line until we have something viable to replace it with.  Start with new members of the ACC.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

Palo Verde Intervention Fund phones were tapped by SRP and APS during the Invervention in the lisencing of that plant.  APS is screwing over the security personnel at the plant which is leading to MASSIVE employee dissatisfaction and a major flaw in the security.  The entire history of that plant's construction was marred by scandal, mismanagement and fraud (e.g., 100s of nuclear engineering phd's were hired at huge salaries to do nothing more than sweep floors and do manual labor).  The citizen initiative was sabotaged by the political power elite here in Arizona.  Read Atom's Eve by ASU Professor Mark Reader to get a clue Matthew:

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/mark-ronald-a-hardert-gerald-l-moulton-eds-read/atoms-eve-ending-the-nuclear-age/

saltywench
saltywench

Mr. Hendley, you are not a comic, you are not funny or quirky or whatever the fuck you're trying to be.  Report the fucking news.  A leak of any kind at a nuclear power plant is serious.  You, sir, are just a dick.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

You think the NSA collecting metadata on our phone calls is bad - when I was a volunteer at the Palo Verde Intervention (the effort by Patricia Hourihan to stop the licensing of Palo Verde), our phones were tapped by SRP and APS - one day I picked up the phone to make a call and some assholes at SRP were talking in the background and making jokes about how they're pulling a fast one on the people in Arizona. They didn't know we were able to hear them.  After that we watched what we said on the phone and in our offices with the phone plugged in (we only plugged it in when we needed to make a phone call). 

When I worked at the Plant (temp worker in night shift in the procedures dept), during the initial construction phase, the corruption was enormous - they had nuclear engineers sweeping floors and paying them over $100.00 an hour in order to pad their construction costs!  The employees also had huge parties in the void under each containment vessel, complete with DJs, kegs and hookers. 

The reason we will NEVER have an actual country as envisioned by our Founders is because the nuclear materials need to be kept safe and a republic controlled by democracy is not a stable enough form of government. 

When I worked for the legal department of APS I saw things that would make your skin crawl.

Right now, APS is screwing over the security personnel at the Plant, the very people we need to keep the nuclear materials safe.  They are cheating their employees and being lax on their hiring practices - the Feds need to step in and do a full audit on their hiring practices.  I would not doubt that we have a number of American Taliban on the staff of the security department at Palo Verde. 

APS is not a fair dealer and needs to be removed as the operator at that plant and have their status as a monopoly in Arizona revoked - APS sucks!

If ANY environmental group takes money from their grant program, I will personally slap each and every board member silly.

YahooSerious
YahooSerious

Government Accountability Office...Yeah..This makes sense..We need to make a big deal out of this. They are only accountable to their buyoffs and always resign before sentencing after an incident.

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

Memo to APS: Fix the leak. No doubt the suits at Fukushima were equally as complacent regarding "minor" problems as you are. Do you need to be reminded that little problems tend to become big problems if they're ignored long enough?

MaidenCrow
MaidenCrow

@Jukes Humanity is absolutely not ready to take on such a responsibilty such as nuclear power plants. There is no reason to! We can have infinite energy using geothermal energy! But we will never use it because there is no profit. It is sickening that the leaders of the world know cheaper, more natural, safer energy to use, but instead they ignore it because it won't make them money. We could have avoided Fukushima killing us all slowly had we been using the right kind of energy. Fuck money. There were ages that we never doted on cash this much, and it's disgusting how humanity turned out.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@eric.nelson745  

There's absolutely no valid comparison with Fukushima.   They built in a really bad location.  This isn't the sort of problem than could lead to a complete failure.  The worst-case scenario would be that they would have to shut down one reactor.

Reasonwithme
Reasonwithme

@MaidenCrow @Jukes

How much do you know about geothermal energy? It is not, I repeat NOT ubiquitous. You only find pockets of usable geothermal energy close to fault lines. While a fine source of energy, it is often remote when compared to existing cities and infrastructure, and there may be a local risk of earthquakes. Not that we can't and don't build foundations these days with the capability of resisting quite powerful earthquakes, but all that takes a sizable amount of money. If you are willing to foot the bill, go for it. Then there is the problem of getting the electricity to the places that need it. The infrastructure must be built, and we're talking power lines capable of handling mega to giga watts of power, plus the ability to sync with the existing infrastructure (grid). That takes money, too, not to mention the environmental costs of cutting a swath through forests and mountains to be able to place power lines and access roads along the way. Finally, what of the places that do have constant geothermal emissions; do you really want to capture the majesty of Old Faithful by placing a power plant there?

So before you start supporting these big expenditures, most likely by the government, take into consideration everything that must be in place and then ask yourself whether it is the best course for us to take.

BTW, this whole argument is moot when compared to the first one... geothermal energy is NOT ubiquitous. If the country's power grid was dependent solely on geothermal power, the entire Midwestern US would be dark at night.

maidencrow1
maidencrow1

@Reasonwithme @MaidenCrow@Jukes Be that as it may, there are numerous other sources to use than something as dangerous and destructive as nuclear. The government are the ones who said they wouldn't do geothermal energy, so I would only expect the best steps to take is opposite of what they argue.

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