Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Susquehanna Spent Fuel Pool Concerns, and How I Ended Up at UCS- April 21, 2011

From All Things Nuclear:
In November 1992, Don Prevatte and I submitted a report to the NRC regarding our concerns with spent fuel pools at boiling water reactors (BWRs), of which 35 are operating in the US. We had been consultants working on a team to evaluate the proposed increase in the maximum power level of the two BWRs at the Susquehanna nuclear plant in Pennsylvania. My assignments included the spent fuel pool cooling and cleanup system while Don’s assignments included the reactor building ventilation system. While reviewing each other’s work, we uncovered a problem. The spent fuel pool for nearly all US BWRs is located inside the reactor building, which also fully encloses the reactor containment building. The reactor building ventilation system was designed to cool rooms and areas in event of an accident to protect emergency equipment from damage caused by high air temperatures. The design calculation for the reactor building ventilation system considered heat emitted by operating motors, heat emanating from piping filled with hot water, and heat given off by incandescent light bulbs. Collectively, these heat sources amounted to 5.2 million BTUs per hour (a British Thermal Unit, or BTU, is defined as the amount of heat needed to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit).
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