A Federal Simulation Found That A Category 4 Hurricane Could Damage A Nuclear Power Plant, And Now That Exact Scenario Could Happen For Real
A Federal Simulation Found That A Category 4 Hurricane Could Damage A Nuclear Power Plant, And Now That Exact Scenario Could Happen For Real by
Would it surprise you to learn that there was a “national level exercise” in late April and early May that simulated what would happen if a Category 4 hurricane hit the Mid-Atlantic region? As you will see below, this actually happened, and now it looks like we will be facing that precise scenario for real. Authorities are warning that Hurricane Florence could produce a storm surge of somewhere around 20 feet when it makes landfall and dump up to 45 inches of rain on some areas of North Carolina. But of even greater concern is the fact that there are 12 nuclear power reactors directly in the path of this storm. The federal simulation that was held earlier this year concluded that a Category 4 storm could damage a nuclear power plant, and if that happens with this storm we could potentially be facing America’s version of the Fukushima disaster.
Let’s break this down one step at a time.
A few months ago, officials from 91 different federal departments and agencies participated in the “national level exercise” that I mentioned above. The following comes from MSN…
Senior leaders from the White House, along with more than 91 federal departments and agencies, participated in the “national level exercise” in late April and early May, FEMA said.
Now here we are just a few months later, and this extremely rare event is actually happening.
A category 4 hurricane is headed directly for us, and the federal exercise determined that a storm of this magnitude could damage a nuclear power plant…
The simulated hurricane knocked out power for most gas stations in the Mid-Atlantic region, damaged a nuclear power plant and sent debris into major shipping channels, among other problems, according to a Department of Energy simulation manual.
“What they were trying to do was create a worst-case scenario, but it’s a very realistic scenario,” said Joshua Behr, a research professor at Virginia’s Old Dominion University who is involved in disaster modeling and simulations.
There are 12 nuclear reactors in the Carolinas, and each one of them is near a body of water because water is required for cooling purposes…
According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), there are twelve operating nuclear power plants in the Carolinas that make electricity by the continuous splitting of uranium atoms (i.e., a nuclear reaction). These plants generally reside near a body of water—a river, lake, estuary or ocean—because they require a constant source of water for cooling purposes. Without cooling water, a nuclear reactor will overheat, leading to core damage, containment failure, and release of harmful radiation into the environment.
But being near a body of water makes them very vulnerable to flooding.
And flooding is what caused the Fukushima disaster…
Flooding from the storm could be catastrophic for the nuclear power plants. Excessive amounts of water can damage equipment or knock out the plants’ electrical systems, disabling its cooling mechanisms. This is what happened at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in Japan as a result of the March 2011 tsunami, causing severe damage to the plant’s reactors.
Of particular concern are the two nuclear reactors at the Brunswick nuclear power facility that are located right along the coast.
The Brunswick nuclear power facility is more than 40 years old, and it is less than 2 miles away from the Atlantic Ocean.
And it is only about 20 feet above sea level and it is surrounded by wetlands.
So if Hurricane Florence produces a storm surge of somewhere around 20 feet, both reactors at the Brunswick nuclear power facility could easily be flooded.