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Presented to: The Georgia Triangle Lifelong Learning Institute, January 21, 2011 Lecture 2 – Nuclear Energy and Technology Dan Meneley, PhD, PEng Revised and presented to the Ottawa Branch of CNS, April 21, 2011. Nuclear Safety or Risky Nuclear?. Why should we study nuclear reactor safety?

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Nuclear safety or risky nuclear

Presented to:

The Georgia Triangle Lifelong Learning Institute, January 21, 2011Lecture 2 – Nuclear Energy and Technology

Dan Meneley, PhD, PEng

Revised and presented to the Ottawa Branch of CNS, April 21, 2011

Nuclear SafetyorRisky Nuclear?


Outline of this lecture

  • Some useful definitions

    • WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

  • Risk and safety

    • UP FRONT ISSUES -- from the course outline

  • A bit of techie talk

    • THE NATURE OF THE BEAST

  • Experience and lessons from the past

    • Past performance – Including the Daiichi disaster

  • The Present and Future

    • GUIDING PRINCIPLES

  • Outline of this Lecture


    Energy delivery

  • Today we burn ≈ 1,000 barrels each second.

    • By 2100 CE we must have other energy sources in place

    • If we can wait 100 million years, there will be new oil formed

  • Coal can do the job for several centuries

    • But its environmental effects may be unmanageable

  • Uranium can do the job forever

  • Energy Delivery

    THE NEED FOR ENERGY - 1


    Why the big interest in this topic

  • Typical 4 - person household’s electricity use:

    • 1,000 kilowatt hours per month = 12 megawatt hours per year

    • So, a mere 200 grams of uranium - 6 to 8 pellets - serves one household for an entire year.

  • If the same energy were obtained from fossil fuel

    • The fuel would be 30,000 times heavier

    • For example, about 6,000 kg of coal would be used

    • Carbon dioxide and massive quantities of ash would be produced

  • Yet we use less than 1% of uranium’s potential energy

    • New technology is available that can use the remainder

  • Why the big interest in this Topic?

    ΔE = ΔmC2

    THE NEED FOR ENERGY - 2


    Consequences of energy deficiency

    • Changes in lifestyle

      • First, the poor people get poorer

      • Then, the rich people get poorer

      • Chaos, health degradation, and starvation follow

  • Energy wars?

    • We may already be involved in one of them

  • General collapse of modern civilization

    • Extreme, but possible

  • Consequences of energy deficiency

    THE NEED FOR ENERGY - 3


    What s to talk about

    What’s to Talk About?


    What s to talk about1

  • All energy sources are important

    • But nuclear energy is uniquely capable of “scaling up”

  • What’s to Talk About?


    What s to talk about2

    • Two sides of the story:

      • The technical, “hard science & engineering” side

      • The social, human understanding side

    • All energy sources are important

      • Nuclear energy is uniquely capable of “scaling up”

    • We (all of humanity) are in a fix

      • We are addicted to petroleum – a limited resource

      • There are too many of us to sustain a low energy existence

    What’s to Talk About?


    Safety is a state of mind

  • Risk is my topic today

    • Notionally, it is the inverse of safety

    • Objective risk is easier to discuss because it is usually expressed as the product of probability and consequence

    • Subjective risk is not often recognized, but is vitally important

  • Safety is a State of Mind


    Let s talk like insurance brokers

  • “We” will compensate you for loss, should it occur

    • at a price

  • What price will we charge for this assurance?

    • a price calculated so that we show a profit, on average

  • How will we calculate the price?

    • by the average sum over all policy holders of the probability of loss times the promised compensation

  • Will you decide to pay the price?

    • that depends on what you expect to receive from us as the beneficiary, in both objective and subjective terms

  • Let’s Talk Like Insurance Brokers


    Nuclear risk vs life insurance

  • We (society) promise you electricity for an eon

    • High reliability and reasonable cost, at low risk

    • Is this credible?

  • Your risk of loss is said to be insignificant

    • We also are members of this society

    • We think we know whereof we speak

    • Why should you believe us?

  • Nuclear Risk vs Life Insurance


    What is at stake here

    What is at Stake Here?


    What is at stake here1

    • Energy, delivered reliably for many generations feel terribly threatened

      • The objective value of ample, economical energy

      • Avoided consequences of not having enough energy

      • Available alternatives – Can you get a better deal?

        better deal??

  • Objective and subjective risk

    • The real risk of personal harm – NOT the average, but YOURS

    • The perception of being safe or unsafe, day by day

  • What is at Stake Here?


    What is at stake here2

  • Actual and perceived risk

    • The real risk of personal harm – NOT the average, but YOURS

    • A perception of being safe or unsafe, day by day

  • The key measure –TRUST

    • How can you know? Whom can you trust?

      • Past performance, future expectations

      • Trust but verify – as in international disarmament negotiations

      • Distrust, but value – as we do all of our important institutions

  • What is at Stake Here?


    Trust but who should you trust

    • Past performance feel terribly threatened

      • Trust the trustworthy

      • Engineering is a statutory profession – with personal liability

  • Trust, but verify

    • Watchdogs are useful, even if they’re skilled professionals

    • The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is your watchdog

  • Who else has a deep interest in safety (low risk)?

    • Plant owners want to protect their investment

    • Customers want to avoid any radiation accidents

    • In our case, these are the same people

  • Trust – but Who should you trust?

    especially


    Trust but who should you trust 2

    • Past performance feel terribly threatened

      • People working in many institutions are less than perfect

      • The frequency of institutional failure is seen to be large

  • Distrust, but value – ref. Hugh Heclo ‘On Thinking Institutionally”

    • We cannot live without institutions in many forms

    • We need to watch them carefully, but respect them nonetheless

  • Trust – but Who should you trust (2)


    Alternatives a better deal

    • It’s a matter of scale feel terribly threatened

      • On a small scale, with few people, the job is quite easy

      • On a massive scale, with billions of people, the job is harder

    • We ask for solutions to serve billions of people for hundreds of years

      • A child now in diapers might find a brand new solution

      • Until then, nuclear fission energy is the only feasible answer.

        • Is this a credible statement?

    Alternatives – A better deal?


    Risk of personal harm actual

  • Make conservative assumptions

    • Assume the most sensitive individual

      • For example, an infant

  • Assume maximum consequences

    • Ignore beneficial effects of low dose radiation, for example

  • Assume extreme failure conditions

    • Several unlikely events in sequence, conservative assumptions

  • Risk of Personal Harm - Actual


    But are you still feeling unsafe

    • Remember feel terribly threatened, you live in one of the richest, safest, best protected societies in all of history.

      • Canadian life expectancy at birth today is more than twice as long (>80) as the poorest – in Swaziland (<40)

      • Swaziland’s life expectancy at birth today is about the same as was the US life expectancy at birth in 1850.

    But Are you still Feeling Unsafe?


    But are you still feeling unsafe1

    • Remember, you live in one of the richest, safest, best protected societies in all of history.

      • Canadian life expectancy at birth today is more than twice as long (>80) as the poorest – in Swaziland (<40)

      • Swaziland’s life expectancy at birth today is about the same as was the US life expectancy at birth in 1850.

  • Subjective risk is high for large events

    • Aircraft crash Actual: less than 1 in 9 million per flight

  • Subjective risk is low for small events

    • Fatal car crash Actual: about 1 in 5 thousand per year

  • But Are you still Feeling Unsafe?

    Paul Slovic & Elke U. Weber, “Perception of Risk Posed by Extreme Events”, Proc. Conf. ‘Risk Management Strategies in an Uncertain World’, Apr. 2002


    Is nuclear energy dangerous

    • Of course it is!! protected societies in all of history.

      • A large amount of potential energy wrapped in a small package

      • Potential energy must be extracted at a controlled rate

      • The reaction products (the “ashes” of fission) must be managed

  • Dangerous, but manageable

    • We’ve learned a lot over the past five decades

    • We know how to do this job

    • Are we perfect? No, but the residual risk is small

  • Less risky in the future

    • The technology is mature

    • Operational training and skill needs are clear

    • Worldwide institutional arrangements are in order

  • Is Nuclear energy dangerous?


    What are the risks

  • Radiological risks

    • Digging uranium out of the ground and stimulating it to fission at a very high rate is a hazardous business

      • Under strict control, as we will see

      • Need to protect the plant, operating staff, and public

  • Sabotage risks

    • Hostile attack

  • Diversion of nuclear materials

  • What are the risks?


    What is being done to reduce risk

    • Who is actually at risk? protected societies in all of history.

      • The plant owner, in financial terms

      • Senior management, in terms of their careers

      • The plant operating staff, in physical terms

      • The local population, in lesser physical terms

      • The rest of us, almost entirely in financial terms

  • Who is doing what, to reduce risk?

    • The plant owners are training, testing, and retraining staff

    • The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is auditing operations

    • Atomic Energy of Canada is evolving new plant designs

    • Everyone is studying past operations for improvement ideas

  • What is being done to Reduce Risk?


    Can terrorists make nuclear bombs

  • Terrorists – who are they?

    • They are actually saboteurs -- why are we so afraid?

    • Are they working for a foreign government, or on their own?

  • Can they do it on their own?

    • Not unless we let them

  • Can they make a bomb from nuclear waste?

    • They can make an ordinary bomb a little more dangerous, but this is very difficult and dangerous – mostly to themselves

  • Can terrorists make nuclear bombs?


    Terrorists continued

    • Diversion of nuclear material to hostile uses protected societies in all of history.

      • This starts, most likely, as a financial transaction and may then become a tool for sabotage

      • This is a problem to be solved by cooperation between nations, not by nuclear plant designers

  • Attack on a nuclear facility by an armed group

    • To be a real threat, the group must have the active support of a national government – and a powerful arsenal

    • Detection/detention is a job for the national police force

  • Crash of an aircraft into a nuclear station

    • Almost surely, the crash will cause shutdown of the reactor

      • A shut-down reactor is a pussy cat, not a tiger (Daiichi??)

      • Most of the people killed will have been passengers on the plane

  • Terrorists, continued


    Some specifics of nuclear risk

    • The nature of the beast: protected societies in all of history.

      • Compare a coal plant and a nuclear plant . . .

    • Old reactor accidents

      • Louis Slotin, NRX, NRU, SL1, Windscale

    • World’s largest power plant accident . . .

      • Chernobyl unit 4

    • World’s 2nd largest power plant accident . . .

      • Three Mile Island unit 2

    • An accident that that didn’t happen

      • Davis Besse pressurized water reactor

    Some Specifics of nuclear risk

    THE NATURE OF THE BEAST - 1


    Is nuclear safety different yes
    Is Nuclear safety different? -- protected societies in all of history.Yes

    HEAT ENERGY

    FLY ASH

    CARBON DIOXIDE

    HEAT ENERGY

    NEUTRONS

    AIR

    CONTROL

    CONTROL

    COAL

    BOTTOM ASH

    USED FUEL

    URANIUM

    THE NATURE OF THE BEAST - 2


    The neutron chain reaction
    The Neutron Chain Reaction protected societies in all of history.

    • When the number of slow neutrons is

    constant, the system is critical.

    Leaked Neutrons

    • Delayed Neutrons appear after

    Neutrons Slowing

    ~ 10 seconds.

    Down

    • Fast Neutrons slow down in about

    one thousandth of a second

    Delayed Neutrons

    from Fission

    Prompt

    Neutrons

    Neutrons

    Diffusing

    Leaked Neutrons

    from

    Fission

    CONTROL THIS TO

    "ASHES”

    (Fission

    Products)

    CONTROL HEAT

    PRODUCTION

    U235

    FISSION

    Captured

    Slow Neutrons

    Neutrons

    HEAT

    • Some neutrons are captured in U238

    • and produce a useful fuel – Pu239

    THE NATURE OF THE BEAST - 3


    Heat balance the key to control

    • A power reactor produces a lot of heat energy protected societies in all of history.

    • A steam turbine uses almost all of this heat

    • The amount of heat added must equal the amount removed, at all times

    • If too much heat is added (or not enough heat is taken away), material temperatures rise & water pressures increase

      • This is a dangerous combination

    Heat Balance – the Key to control

    THE NATURE OF THE BEAST - 4


    How fast can heat be released
    How fast can heat be released? protected societies in all of history.

    .07

    Prompt

    Critical

    .007

    Reactivity (Dimensionless)

    Prompt Neutron Lifetime

    = 1 millisecond

    .0007

    Prompt Neutron Lifetime

    = 0.01 millisecond

    Normal

    Control

    Range

    .00007

    10000

    1000

    100

    10

    1

    0.1

    0.01

    0.001

    Time (T) Taken to Double the Reactor Power (Seconds)

    Power (t) ≈ Power (0) exp [t/(T x 1.36)]

    THE NATURE OF THE BEAST - 5


    Safe operating domain
    Safe operating domain protected societies in all of history.

    Operating Trajectory

    Design Center

    Operating Limit

    Operating Domain

    Trip Limit

    Operating Margin

    Safety Limit

    Safety Margin

    THE NATURE OF THE BEAST - 6


    Old accidents

    • Louis protected societies in all of history.Slotin (1945)

      • Re-Enactment of Slotin Experiment

    Old Accidents


    National research experimental nrx
    National Research Experimental -- NRX protected societies in all of history.

    First Startup July 22, 1947 Accident 12 Dec 1952 Last Shutdown April 8, 1993


    Nrx human errors 1
    NRX Human Errors (1) protected societies in all of history.


    Nrx human errors 2
    NRX Human Errors (2) protected societies in all of history.


    Windscale production reactors uk
    Windscale protected societies in all of history. Production Reactors - UK

    Built in the 1940s for Pu production. Loss of control & fire on Oct 11, 1957


    National research universal nru
    National Research Universal - NRU protected societies in all of history.

    First startup Nov 11, 1957. Failure in experimental channel May 24, 1958


    Sl 1 stationary low power reactor 1
    SL-1: Stationary low power reactor #1 protected societies in all of history.

    Major accident on Jan 3, 1961. Three operators killed

    US Army developed this concept

    for electricity and heating

    at remote sites.

    Operator


    Sl 1 lessons learned prof t j thompson

    • (1) As far as possible, design, construction and operation should be the responsibility of a single organization.

    • (2) Responsibility for safety and all facets of reactor operation should be unequivocally defined -- ("a line organization should be used, not a committee").

    • (3) Safety review should be carried out by a single competent group external to the operating organization - reviews repeated by competing safety groups can "unduly harass the operating group and thereby reduce safety."

    • (4) The ultimate responsibility for operational safety must ultimately rest on the immediate operating team at the reactor - "in the final analysis the reactor shift supervisor and, in turn, the operator at the control console should have the authority to shut down the reactor if either believes it to be unsafe."

    SL-1 Lessons Learned Prof. T.J. Thompson


    Three mile island 2 final reactor configuration
    Three Mile Island-2 Final Reactor Configuration should be the responsibility of a single organization.

    March 28, 1979

    Good design

    No overpower pulse

    Poor operation

    Bad procedures

    Effective containment


    Chernobyl unit 4
    Chernobyl Unit 4 should be the responsibility of a single organization.

    April 26, 1986


    Chernobyl some contributing factors

    • The plant designer won a Lenin prize should be the responsibility of a single organization.

    • Safety cautions from Kurchatov Inst. were ignored

    • Test procedure was mandated from Moscow

    • Effective command of the plant operation was turned over to the test team – they were ignorant

    • Safety protective systems were disabled

    • Operation at low power continued in spite of ban

    • Test was continued in spite of serious operator errors

    Chernobyl – Some Contributing Factors


    Davis besse vessel head corrosion
    Davis- should be the responsibility of a single organization. Besse Vessel Head Corrosion

    Circa March 2002

    An accident that did not happen


    Another accident that didn t happen

    • During the 1990s: should be the responsibility of a single organization.

      • Ontario “fell out of love” with nuclear energy

      • An open “retirement package” was offered to staff

        • More than 10,000 employees took the package and retired

        • About 4,000 skilled nuclear operations staff left the company

      • Nuclear Operations was placed under extreme stress

  • In 1997:

    • Seven large nuclear units were shut down, voluntarily

    • Morale in the nuclear fleet hit rock bottom

    • Due to strong leadership within middle management

      • No serious consequences ensued

  • Another Accident that Didn’t Happen


    And one that did happen tsunami

    • Design basis – 5.2 to 5.7 should be the responsibility of a single organization. metres

    • Measured wave – 14 metres (TEPCO update)

    • Consequent multi-unit station blackout

    • Human errors

      • Insufficient grid protection from earthquake (地震) jishin

        • Fossil units shut down, so the offsite grid collapsed

      • Insufficient protection of emergency power supply

        • Diesels in basement, fuel tanks at grade

        • Inter- unit electrical connections?

      • Failure to review promptly following Kobe event (1995)

    ---- and One That Did Happen (津波)tsunami


    Lessons learned

  • Humans also perform spectacular “saves”

    • Pickering pressure tube failure

    • Dislocation of OH nuclear operations in 1997 and beyond

    • Hudson River airline pilot landing in Hudson River

    • Chilean coal mine rescue

  • Studying others’ accidents is educational

    • It helps to avoid having to study one’s own accidents

    • The practice builds care, caution – and humility

  • Lessons Learned?


    What is risk
    What is Risk? should be the responsibility of a single organization.

    A thing of the Future

    FUTURE

    RISK LEVEL

    PAST

    UNCERTAINTY

    0


    Systems design for risk reduction

    Prevention should be the responsibility of a single organization.

    Detection &

    Quality

    Automatic

    Disciplined

    Automatic

    Correction

    Design and

    Response

    Radio-

    Operation

    Control

    of Faults

    Construction

    to Faults

    active

    Material

    Disciplined

    Management

    Regulating

    Maintenance,

    Setback,

    Engineering

    Procedures

    Systems

    UER Procedures

    Stepback

    Process Systems

    Mitigation

    Fuel

    Exclusion

    Emergency

    Shutdown

    Containment

    Cooling

    Zone

    Response

    Environ-

    ment &

    SDS1 &

    ECCS &

    Building &

    Sheltering,

    Public

    Dilution

    SDS2

    Moderator

    Spray Dousing

    Evacuation

    Safety Systems

    Systems Design for Risk Reduction

    Also known as Defence in Depth

    Review

    Maintain

    Upgrade

    Defence in Time


    Risk and people to err is human

    Uniquely should be the responsibility of a single organization.

    Risk and People -- To Err is Human

    Complaisance

    The human cycle of

    Performance

    Neglect

    Confidence

    Institutional

    Factors?

    Decreasing risk

    Decay

    Safety

    Increasing risk

    Caution

    Danger

    Doubt

    Failure


    A risk management system
    A risk Management system should be the responsibility of a single organization.

    PEOPLE

    AND

    GOVERNMENT

    SAFETY

    SCIENTIFIC-

    STANDARDS

    TECHNICAL

    AUTHORITY

    COMMUNITY

    OPERATING

    ORGANIZATION

    DESIGNER-

    SAFETY

    MANUFACTURER-

    PERFORMANCE

    CONSTRUCTOR

    REGULATOR

    INDUSTRY

    REGULATORY

    PUBLIC

    RESPONSIBILITY

    RESPONSIBILITY

    RESPONSIBILITY


    But what if everything goes wrong

    Reactivity rises should be the responsibility of a single organization.

    Loss of control?

    Safety shutdown fails?

    Big energy release

    High temperature

    Steam Explosion

    No Fuel Cooling?

    Containment Rupture? Fuel Ejection Out of Reactor?

    Widespread Distribution of Radioactive Fission Products?

    But What if Everything Goes Wrong?

    .07

    .007

    Prompt Neutron Lifetime

    = 1 millisecond

    .0007

    Prompt Neutron Lifetime

    = 0.01 millisecond

    .00007

    10000

    1000

    100

    10

    1

    0.1

    0.01

    0.001


    Conclusion pickering a worst accident

    • The important overall conclusions are as follows: should be the responsibility of a single organization.

    • The discharge of steam from a failed calandria vessel must consider the available physical heat transfer mechanisms and compartment volumes. This becomes the dominant discharge into containment volumes over and above the discharge from the initiating LOCA pipe rupture and determines the extent of over-pressurization of the containment envelope. Thus, containment integrity margins can be expected to be larger than in Pickering A for designs which have water filled reactor (calandria) vaults (Pickering B, CANDU-6) or shield tanks (Bruce A & B, Darlington) which will further condense steam discharged from a failed calandria vessel, or for plants which have large multi-unit shared containment volumes (Bruce A & B, Darlington). Since Pickering A has an acceptable margin it may be inferred that the margins for other CANDU plant will also be acceptable.

    • The original 1987 analysis was considered at the time by some, and to this date by others, to be speculative. This reassessment has demonstrated that the analysis was in fact robust and the conclusions remain significantly conservative and essentially unchanged by knowledge gained and discoveries made in the intervening years.

    • CANDU plants are capable of withstanding extremely unlikely events causing early core disruption without significant risk to the public.

      • Long term fuel cooling is required by all power reactors – they must have an ultimate heat sink

      • Continuing electrical power supply is required by most water reactors

    Conclusion - Pickering “A” worst Accident

    Prof. J.C. Luxat


    Result another example

    • This reactor was vulnerable should be the responsibility of a single organization.

      • Weak design

      • Poor operation

      • Bad management

    • After this accident:

      • Design improved

      • Operating procedures changed

      • Better control systems installed

      • Management was changed

      • IAEA and WANO plant inspections were initiated

    Result – another example


    Yet another example
    Yet Another example should be the responsibility of a single organization.

    Core Uncovered

    Fuel Overheating

    Fuel melting - Core Damaged

    Info. From Duane Arnold

    (BWR Mark 1)

    Core Damaged but retained in vessel

    Containment pressurizes. Leakage possible at drywell head

    Releases of hydrogen into secondary containment

    Some portions of core melt into lower RPV head

    54


    Hiroshima then and now
    Hiroshima, Then and Now should be the responsibility of a single organization.

    Daiichi did not produce such large health consequences


    Meltdown in a pwr

    Meltdown in a PWR


    The solution westinghouse ap 1000
    THE SOLUTION – Westinghouse AP 1000 water around fuel

    Similar to BWR Mark I Primary Containment Concept

    Depressurize

    • Water is added when Tcoreexit> 650 C

    • Steam is vented to containment

    • Ultimate heat sink --- conduction + convection to atmosphere


    Another solution cooling in candu
    ANOTHER SOLUTION - COOLING IN CANDU water around fuel

    Much more cool, low pressure water than either PWR or BWR

    Filtered containment vent, passive hydrogen-oxygen recombiners

    ShieldTank

    Can remove 0.4% decay power. Takes >20 hours to heat up and boil off with no heat removal

    Calandria

    Vessel

    Moderator

    Can remove 4.4% decay power

    Takes >5 hours to

    heat up and boil off

    with no heat removal

    Fuel

    Channels

    Debris spreading &

    cooling area

    CANDU 6 Dousing system


    Candu power supply reliability

    • Power setback and water around fuelstepback capability

      • Unit continues to run on its own power supply

  • Duplicate service transformers – unit & station

    • Auto-transfer on loss of UST

  • Emergency supplies on site

  • Multi-unit sites – (China, Korea, Romania, Ontario)

    • Inter-unit transfer bus

  • Grid feed-in logic – (Ontario)

    • System recognizes station as potential power customer

  • Future modifications?

    • Ultimate heat sink?

  • CANDU Power Supply reliability


    Notional risk curves and trends
    Notional Risk Curves, and Trends water around fuel

    Direct

    Experience

    Range

    Risk

    Assessment

    Range

    Disaster

    Range

    Utility economics & performance requirements

    “Smart” components and systems

    Log Frequency

    Regulatory Risk

    Acceptance Curve

    Trends with increasing

    experience, knowledge, and

    realistic consequence assessment

    Log Consequence

    Realistic accident modeling

    and consequence assessment


    Today s conclusions

    • What will tomorrow bring? water around fuel

      • We don’t know – just wait, and the future will come

      • Oil and gas supplies will wane

      • The population of the earth will rise

      • Climate will change, in one way or the other

  • Nuclear fission energy will be available for all

    • Yes, someone might invent a better way, someday

      • But just in case they do not:

    • There is plenty of uranium for many thousands of years

    • There is enough uranium available to supply ALL human energy needs for as long as we live on this earth

    • This technology can be safely managed, in the past

  • Will people reject the nuclear energy solution?

    • Doubtful– but buildup might be delayed until time runs out

  • Today’s conclusions


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