Nuclear New Orleans
Nuclear New Orleans: Another Fukushima?
Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education spells out the dangers.

This Week’s SPECIAL Interviews:

Following the devastation to New Orleans by Hurricane Ida, mainstream media has failed to cover the situation at the Waterford nuclear facility only 25 miles west of the city.  The facility is shut down, without grid power, and currently cooling the reactor with emergency back-up generators.

But is this enough? Will the fuel last long enough? Does this emergency system have enough “juice” to do its job until grid power is restored? And what is the exact nature of the other problems this nuclear reactor is facing in the days, weeks, even months ahead?

We talked with three of our most reliable sources to learn the extent of what we might be facing:

  • Arnie Gundersen is a nuclear engineer and expert witness who serves as the chief engineer for Fairewinds Associates, Inc, a paralegal services and expert testimony firm, as well as a member of Fairewinds Energy Education’s Board of Directors.
  • Maggie Gundersen is a journalist, paralegal, and former atomic power industry spokesperson who founded Fairewinds in 2008. She is the president of Fairewinds Energy Education as well as a member of the Board of Directors.
  • Nancy Foust is Communications Manager & Research Team Member SimplyInfo.org, a not-for-profit research collective that holds and manages the world’s largest public archive of data on the Fukushima disaster. She has been following Hurricane Ida’s progress and damages from the first, and here provides a clear overview of the current situation as of the time of our talk, noon Pacific time on Monday, August 30.
Nancy Foust of Simply Info

Numnutz of the Week (for Outstanding Nuclear Boneheadedness):

Los Alamos National Laboratory threatening to “nuke” any drones that fly into its air space.  I guess they’ve been following how Greenpeace used drones to prove that nuclear facilities in Europe are not secure.

LINKS:


Libbe HaLevy

00:00:01

Nuclear new Orleans in the wake of hurricane Ida, are we at risk of a Fukushima style meltdown? Waterford nuclear is only 25 miles from new Orleans. And along with 1 million residents of the area has lost all grid. Electrical power Waterford is currently cooling its one nuclear reactor with emergency power from diesel generators. But is this enough? Will the fuel last long enough, does this emergency system have enough juice to do its job until grid power is restored? And what is the exact nature of the pro problems? This nuclear reactor is facing. You won’t hear it from owner operator energy or the nuclear regulatory commission. It takes a genuine nuclear expert to understand all the implications and be willing to share them with you. And when he tells you

Arnie Gundersen

00:01:01

When a nuclear chain reaction happens, when nuclear reactor Fiss a uranium atom, 93% of the heat comes when the uranium atom pops apart. And if that’s all that happened, we wouldn’t worry about nuclear power. But the problem is that the pieces left behind the radioactive rubble left behind all also contain heat about 7% of the heat. And 7% is tens of thousands of horsepower worth of heat. That has to be controlled even after the reactor shuts down. So Waterford shut down, but unless it’s kept cool for months, the heat from this radioactive rubble will be so significant that it can lead to a Fukushima style meltdown.

Libbe HaLevy

00:01:53

Well, when licensed nuclear engineer and expert witness a Gunderson tells you that the post hurricane Ida problems at Waterford nuclear near new Orleans have only just begun, you know, deep in your gut that this, this is the manifestation of that terrible, awful seat that we all share.

Announcer

00:02:16

Claire hot seat. What are those people thinking? New Claire hot seat. What have those boys been drinking? New clear, hot seat. The is sinking. Our time to act is shrinking, but the activists are licking new hot seat it’s de bomb.

Libbe HaLevy

00:02:47

Welcome to nuclear hot seat, the weekly international news magazine, keeping you up to date on all things nuclear from a different perspective. My name is libi Hal. I am the producer and host as well as a survivor of the nuclear accident at three mile island from just one mile away. So I know what can happen when those nuclear so-called experts get it wrong. This week, a special report on the post hurricane Ida damage to the Waterford nuclear Powell power plant located only 25 miles west of new Orleans. We’ll talk first with Nancy Faust of simply info, who provides a concise overview of where we stand and what was known as of Monday morning, August 30th, then a Gunderson and Maggie Gerson of far one’s energy education. Expand on the known facts into the history of Waterford energy and the range of possibilities for post Ida problems on site.

Libbe HaLevy

00:03:49

Arnie explains the complex workings of post emergency nuclear safety precautions in plain English and points out flaws in energy’s assumptions while Maggie the COVID implications to energy workers. Are we at risk for a Fukushima style meltdown, keep listening and you’ll find out. We’ll also have a bit of nuclear news from around the world, numb nuts of the week for outstanding nuclear bone headedness and more honest nuclear information than mainstream media has bothered to mention this week, even with the situation at Waterford in play, all of this coming up in just a few moments today is Tuesday, August 31st, 2021. And here is this week’s nuclear news from a different perspective. We are going to hit the ground running on this week’s to hop story. The post hurricane dangers faced by Waterford nuclear power plant only 25 miles from new Orleans with the energy power grid for this city completely destroyed and more than 1 million people without electricity mainstream media has been covering the storms impact without a single mention of water.

Libbe HaLevy

00:05:02

Herford that’s why nuclear hot seat reached out to the individuals we trust to give us facts and fact based interpretations of the news so we can understand, should we be afraid? And if so, how afraid first Nancy Faust, she is communications manager and research team for simply info.org, a not for profit research collective that holds and manages the world’s largest public archive of data on the Fukushima disaster. She has been following hurricane Ida’s progress and damages from the first and here she provides a clear overview of the current situation as of the, of our talk noon Pacific time, 3:00 PM Eastern on Monday, August 30th, 2021,

Libbe HaLevy

00:05:51

Nancy Faust of simply info. Thanks for joining us in such short notice here on nuclear hop seat.

Nancy Foust

00:05:57

Yeah, thanks for having me.

Libbe HaLevy

00:05:59

We are looking at the situation with the Waterford nuclear reactor, which is only 25 miles away from new Orleans, which has been experiencing hurricane Ida catastrophic flooding and a loss of the energy grid system. What do we know first about the steps that energy took before hurricane Ida here to protect the nuclear facility?

Nancy Foust

00:06:24

They didn’t really put out any sort of information other than a very vague we’re set. We’re ready. We have a crew sequestered on site, us nuclear plants have kind of a standard procedure. If they’re hurricane zone of things they do for, you know, to protect from water intrusion and that kind of thing. And to make sure they can keep a crew on site for an extended period of time in case they need ’em, but they really didn’t provide any details. They did eventually shut down the plant. They were running at a hundred percent or until the hurricane approached. Then when it became clear that the winds were gonna be over, I think 125 miles an hour per NRC rules, they shut down. So where they’re at right now is they shut down, but the reactor had been running at a hundred percent. So they have to deal with all that residual heat eat and cool the reactor down to get it to what’s called cold shutdown.

Libbe HaLevy

00:07:24

How long does that take? And do we know when they shut down the reactor,

Nancy Foust

00:07:30

They shut it down. As the hurricane approached. If I remember correctly, it was Sunday afternoon around 6:00 PM and it takes about 30 hours under normal conditions to cool a reactor down to what they consider cold shutdown. But at the point of cold shutdown, they still need to maintain cooling to keep that reactor fuel. Cool.

Libbe HaLevy

00:07:54

And the need for cooling is ongoing,

Nancy Foust

00:07:57

Correct.

Libbe HaLevy

00:08:00

What do we know of a, the impact of the storm and the flooding at Waterford?

Nancy Foust

00:08:07

We don’t have exact flood readings yet from the plant site, but we’ve gathered some information from areas nearby. So we have kind of an idea what the area looks like. The plant sits about to 19 feet above sea level. The storm surge predicted for the area around the plant was 10 to 15 feet was the predicted storm surge from the national weather service that doesn’t include flash flooding from rain. You know, the level of water that’s going to rise from the rain or the rise in the level of the river. So those were things we looked at as far as that goes. So we have the storm surge prediction for the plant. Also, we look at the storm surge in the flooding in nearby towns. The closest town to Waterford is called LA plant. And it is currently underwater reports. We read this morning, showed single story homes were flooded up to the robs.

Nancy Foust

00:09:07

They’re doing water rescue. This is on the other side of the Mississippi river from Waterford, but it gives an idea of the nearby area is like there are areas that are low lying that are having some real severe problems. We looked at road closures in the area. The roads to the west of Waterford are still open. So that’s a good sign things that are to the west and north of the plant. Didn’t get the severe side of the hurricane didn have near the storm surge. So there are some roads to the plant so they can get equipment in as long as they can get through the plant site from the, the county highway. And that we don’t know yet. We don’t know if like the access roads are underwater. So there’s some concern there. And in previous hurricanes, there was a plant over in Texas where the ended up as basically an island and they couldn’t get gear in because the roads were all underwater. So, you know, this is something we worry about, even though the roads open, we don’t know if the plant is accessible.

Libbe HaLevy

01:10:09

Trees could be down. There could be other blockage as well from debris.

Nancy Foust

01:10:13

Correct.

Libbe HaLevy

01:10:15

Now we know the entered G electricity grid for the entire city of new Orleans has been destroyed. And the company is warning. There will be no power for a minimum of three weeks. Waterford is in St. Charles parish, which is on the new Orleans energy grid. And there are reports that there are areas of St. Charles parish, where the electric grid is down, is Waterford connected. Do we know to the energy grid? And if so, how might this protracted loss of grid energy impact the facility?

Nancy Foust

01:10:48

Currently the entire region is without power. We looked at some of the grid maps this morning. There are little pockets of a open power lines that are generating electricity, but these seem to be in very isolated areas. There’s one across the river from Waterford that appears to be self-generated electricity from the shell refinery. That’s across the river, that doesn’t have the ability to transmit power through the grid across the river, over to water for. So even if they wanted to somehow make it so they could send power back across the grid, there’s no lines to do it with. And the other part of why all this power is down is most of the power lines are damaged in the region. So to get power restored, to Waterford, they’re going to have, have to rebuild repair the electrical lines all the way from Waterford to the next available working generation source, which is all the way up in Baton Rouge.

Libbe HaLevy

01:11:53

What do we know about the potential vulnerability? Not just at the reactor, but at the spent fuel pool.

Nancy Foust

01:11:59

The reactor at Waterford is a pressurized water reactor. They have a, a spent fuel pool. That is it, it needs cooling. It is sitting in its own building. This is better than the design of the boiling water reactors like Fukushima. Dichi where it’s up on the fourth floor. So maintaining the spent fuel pool at this reactor is a slightly safer operation. It has more margins for things to challenge it without having a problem, but it needs cooling as does the reactor. They have to keep water coming into that plant. And that requires electricity and industrial water pumps.

Libbe HaLevy

01:12:43

What is the current source of electricity that they would be using?

Nancy Foust

01:12:47

Waterford has two diesel generators, and these are used as backup power. And this is okay. It’s keeping the fish amount of power. They’re able to pump and cool. But if either of those generators go down, they start having a problem. They can run with one, but then if that last one goes down, they’re in a station blackout. And that’s when you start getting into situations where you can have cascading failures and start getting into scenarios, like what they thought, focus, where they lost all power, they were unable to pump water. And then you start looking at fuel damage, potentially a meltdown.

Libbe HaLevy

01:13:23

Do we know how long the fuel on site would be able to last should no additional fuel be able to come across the road to the site, to run the generators.

Nancy Foust

01:13:34

If they were to go into a station blackout, we have seen estimates of loss, of cooling to meltdown as short as an hour and a half. Those are the very extreme examples. The longest we’ve seen I believe was 56 hours, but still when you’re talking about a series of days, you know, that’s what, and three days,

Libbe HaLevy

01:14:01

This silence is just me being stunned With the amount of fuel that they have on site, how long each of the generators is capable of running. If it doesn’t get more fuel,

Nancy Foust

01:14:16

We’re not completely sure how many days worth of fuel they have on site. The standard NRC rule was 72 hours worth of fuel with the assumption that they could bring more diesel fuel in as needed. And if they weren’t a really worth case scenario where they did run out of diesel fuel, they can airlift it in infrastructure to the north and the west is still functioning. So, I mean, there is some potential to do that, but you’re now talking about these big interventions, just to keep this fuel cool,

Libbe HaLevy

01:14:47

Just to prevent further catastrophe and an area that has already experienced catastrophic impact, right? Nancy, we will stay in touch with you. And if there’s anything to report, please get it to us on nuclear hot. We’ll get it to the listeners as soon as possible. We’ll do

Libbe HaLevy

01:15:05

That was Nancy Faust of simply [email protected] We’ll of course, link to that group on our website, nuclear hot seat.com under this episode, number 5 32. This next interview is with two of the stalwarts who provide honest, detailed, vetted information on nuclear reactor issues and work to educate us. So we can understand what is going on. A Gerson is a nuclear engineer and expert witness who serves as the chief engineer for fairy’s associates, Inc. A paralegal services and expert testimony firm, as well as a member of fairy’s energy educations board of directors. Maggie Gunderson is a journalist paralegal and former atomic power industry spokesperson who founded phys in 2008. She is the president of Fairwinds energy education, as well as a member of its board of directors together. This team has helped people around the world gain an understanding of nuclear issues that we would not have had without them. This interview was planned with just AIE, but Maggie decided to step in at one point, and we’re always happy to have her perspective with us. We spoke on Monday, August 30th at 7:00 PM Eastern time. And that’s the reference point for what they share about Waterford nuclear, hurricane Ida a GSON thanks so much for joining us on short notice here on nuclear hot seat.

Arnie Gundersen

01:16:40

Oh, I’m glad I quit. I, I love your show.

Libbe HaLevy

01:16:43

We love having you on it. First of all, I know that you feel it’s important to give listeners a brief rundown on some of the challenges that you and Maggie been facing lately.

Arnie Gundersen

01:16:56

Oh yeah. Well, the, the good news is we’re both looking down on the days. Maggie had a couple of cases of shingles, including in her eye, which is pretty one rare and two pretty awful. And I had cancer surgery and then complications coming out of that. But again, the good news is I am now cancer free and the, the last test they’ve have been ND nondetectable. I like that word. Yeah. We’ve had a rough since February, I guess, a rough half year, but we’re on the opposite side of it now. I hope,

Libbe HaLevy

01:17:32

I hope as well. Now, when I was talking with Maggie earlier, she also mentioned that you have concerns because your daughter is an RN and has been working in the midst of the pandemic. How is she doing

Arnie Gundersen

01:17:45

Well? Our daughter’s in ICU RN, and she had been in the emergency room and occasionally ones up working down there anyway, cuz they’re so short staffed. You know, the pandemic is hitting to all the healthcare professionals. It’s, it’s very tiring and you’ve gotta lose sympathy. When you know, all the people you’re now dealing with have refused to become vaccinated. She, she had a, a father who died of COVID and he was UN vaccinated before he died. He got to say goodbye to his kids and his wife after he died, the wife and kids still refused to get vaccinated. I just can’t figure it out. And you know, by prolonging the, the epidemic are actually creating new variants of making a problem a lot worse in any event, our daughter is COVID free and she’s exposed pretty much every day, but she’s had her shots too. So we count our lucky stars every time we see her.

Libbe HaLevy

01:18:45

And may that stay that way, moving on to the problems in new Orleans, which is the reason and why I called you today, specifically the status of the Waterford nuclear reactor, which is only 25 miles away from new Orleans. What do you currently know about the status?

Arnie Gundersen

01:19:06

I actually had a crew of several dozen engineers working on Waterford back in the eighties. So I know the site pretty well. It’s built on mud, which is kind of an interesting construction technique and they drove pilings into the mud to tighten it up so that it would be firm enough to put a nuclear plant on. It turns out that over the last 40 years, the plant has sunk one foot. So I’m not sure that the piling technique is completely successful, but the NRC is allowing it to continue to operate. I was concerned initially about the storm surge and the fact that the plant is a foot lower than when they built it. The arm surge, as it developed was less than the initial projection showed. And while there was a lot of rain and, and certainly the river’s incredibly high, it did not inundate the plant and the mud held.

Arnie Gundersen

02:20:09

So I guess it didn’t sink on us either. So that the good news is that from a storm surge standpoint, which was my first concern of the plant survived well, what’s going on there now though, was also, we anticipated that when you have high winds, you lose the transmission lines and these aren’t the little lines that run down your street. They’re the big, the big steel things that look like giant people standing in a field. Those are transmission lines and there’s eight corridors of transmission lines going into new Orleans. And every single one of them has failed now. So there’s no power going into new Orleans and there’s no power going into the Waterford plant. So, you know, people say, well, it’s a nuclear plant. It sends power out, but a nuclear plant needs power to make power. It has probably 80 megawats out of its whole thousand megawat output of running these huge pumps and, and, and things like that that keep the, the water flowing.

Arnie Gundersen

02:21:18

So you have to maintain power in as well as power out. And while the plant shut down before the, the hurricane hit, what happened was that they were still relying on offsite power to keep it cool and that’s routine also. But then they lost the offsite power because the grid collapsed. And now they’re in a situation where the, the backup to offsite power and, and that’s called the loop loss of offsite power, L O O P. So now they’re in a loop and they turned on the diesels and both diesels are working and they’re not able to run the plant, but they can run the safety related equipment in the plant. The smaller pumps that cool the plant will once it’s shut down. So remember the plant needs about 80 megawats of power to run the, the big pumps. But each of these diesels is about five megawats.

Arnie Gundersen

02:22:19

So it’s much less load. Now a nuclear plant can’t start up unless there’s a lot of other power plants on the grid that are already running. It, it doesn’t have the ability start itself up and that’s called black start a nuclear plant, cannot black start. It needs the grid. So the grid is down and will be down for the foreseeable future perhaps a week, or, or I’ve heard estimates of three weeks, which means that the plant will stay down. What that requires obviously is that the diesels continue to run for three weeks. They have enough diesel fuel on site, usually to last about a week. So they’ll have to get a, a couple truck loads of diesel fuel delivered by this time next week. And perhaps this time, the week afterward, but diesels are extraordinarily reliable once they start up and we’ll get back to that caveat there in, in a minute, the diesels in a power plant are identical to tugboat, diesels or ferry, diesels or something like that.

Arnie Gundersen

02:23:38

And, and they run for for days and days and days and days, and seemingly never fail. But the nuclear diesels are different because the nuclear diesels have to start up and go to full load in 45 seconds and a diesel on a tugboat. Now the captain starts it up. He has a smoke or has a cup of coffee or something like that. When the engine’s warm, he goes out into the Harbor. That’s not true with a nuclear diesel. So the duty cycles on a nuclear diesel are much more severe, you know, think about firing up your car and slamming the accelerator on and, and going full speed down your road on a cold engine. Now these diesels are 40 years old and that’s happened repeatedly, but they started up and now that they started up, likely they’ll keep running fingers crossed here.

Libbe HaLevy

02:24:33

I talked with Nancy Faust earlier today. And one of the things she pointed out is that the roads have been washed out or are flooded. There’s still some infrastructure of roads that are operating to the north and to the west of Waterford. The point being that in places there may be flooding, it may be washed out. And the other danger is if there are down trees or power lines, so that if more diesel is required by Waterford, it’s going to be difficult for it to delivered. How long before we have to be concerned about that aspect of the problem

Arnie Gundersen

02:25:13

About a week. It’s interesting cuz this wraps around and something that fair winds put up on his site years ago about solar flares. If a solar flare knocks out the grid, you’d have perhaps 16 nuclear plants shut it down at the same time. And the military has promised that the highest priority would be to get diesel fuel to the nuclear planes. And that seems to be a public priority anywhere. So it certainly would be difficult, you know, given the conditions of the infrastructure, but by hooker, by crook, they’ll, they’ll get diesel in. Even if they have to bring it in on a helicopter, it’s absolutely necessary to keep those diesels running or else you’ll lose new Orleans. And nobody wants to do that. The, the interesting thing is that the plant is owned by energy and the utility that controls Orleans is a, is also energy, but they’re two separate affiliates. And when Katrina hit Orleans, it was so severe. It, they declared bankruptcy

Libbe HaLevy

02:26:26

Energy or this offshoot of energy

Arnie Gundersen

02:26:29

And energy, new Orleans, the energy division that provides power to the city of new Orleans declared bankruptcy. And until they got it straightened out politically, they refused to fix things. And this seems just as bad. These big transmission lines and stuff are, are energy owned and they’re not cheap. And either they’ll wind up with public funding from the state of Louisiana or they can easily say, Hey, we’re not fixing this on our dime. They’ve done it before. History is 16 years ago, they declared bankruptcy and walked away from a city in, in need. So I hope that more reasonable souls, I was gonna say mines, but this is more about souls are at the control system.

Libbe HaLevy

02:27:18

The big question in people’s minds, you may have had an implied answer to this, but I’d like to get it to, could we potentially be facing a Fukushima style meltdown at Waterford

Arnie Gundersen

02:27:31

When a nuclear chain reaction happens when a nuclear reactor Fiss a uranium atom, 93% of the heat comes when the uranium atom pops apart. A if that’s all that happened, we wouldn’t worry about nuclear power. But the problem is that the pieces left behind the radioactive rubble left behind also contain heat about 7% of the heat. And 7% is tens of thousands of horsepower worth of heat. That has to be controlled even after the reactor shuts down. So Waterford shut down, but unless it’s kept cool for months, the heat from this radioactive rubble will be so significant that it can lead to a, a Fukushima style meltdown. The longer it stays cool, the better it is. So, you know, obviously the first week is more critical than the second month. So as long as the diesels keep working and the pumps that feed the cool water into the nuclear core, keep working, they’ll be cooling that radio active rubble.

Arnie Gundersen

02:28:45

If the electricity fails, if the diesels fail it’s game over, even after a month, you can still have a Fukushima style meltdown years ago in the seventies, probably before 90% of your audience was born. I was working for a power plant in Connecticut and we had a hurricane hit. You know, it was the same scenario. The, the plant had shut down and anticipating the hurricane, but was relying on the grid. And then the grid collapsed. And then we had two sources of electricity and they hit the button and one of ’em didn’t work. So we were down to our last DS old generator and it made for a long stressful night. I’ll tell you to be down to the last of the last line of defense and it ran all day and then the grid was reestablished and things were fine again, but it was a harrowing time to have the last line of defense was, was, was all you had.

Libbe HaLevy

02:29:48

And if that line of defense goes down completely, how long before we start getting into mission critical situation?

Arnie Gundersen

02:29:59

Well, hooks DII for was shut down for four months and it almost had a fuel pool fire cuz it had no, no power Fukushima DII unit two blew up in about four days. So if you lose the ability to cool plant and the plant has been shut down for a week or so, you’ve probably got several days to rectify it before you get a meltdown. If it happens, you know, this week you’ve got, you know, less, you’ve probably got 12 hours to fix it before you get the, the beginnings of a meltdown.

Libbe HaLevy

03:30:44

And you mentioned the spent fuel pool. What additional danger, if any, is there to the spent fuel pool?

Arnie Gundersen

03:30:52

Well, the NRC has in its infinite wisdom said that the fuel pool cooling system is not safety related. So it’s not on an emergence C generator. And so what’s happening now is that the fuel pool is warming up at Waterford. Now, you know, perhaps they’ve brought in extra generators to run the fuel pool, but it’s not powered on an emergency circuit. The theory being, and I’ve actually heard the NRC say that right. Well, well, as it boils, you could get a couple garden hoses and keep pumping water in to make up for the water. That’s boiling off Dave Al and I have all prob sorts of problems with that because of course it introduces humidity into the building and all the circuits starts a short circuit. It, it becomes a real mess. So within a matter of days, the fuel pool can begin to boil unless they get the cooling system on some sort of a generator, not an emergency generator, but maybe they’ll go down to a local rental store and, and buy a few. I’m not sure

Libbe HaLevy

03:32:02

Home Depot gets more business And G did shut down Waterford as the hurricane was approaching. Did they do that in a timely manner? Is that what triggered their notification of an unusual event? And is it normal between shutdown and the filing of an unusual event for, to take two hours

Arnie Gundersen

03:32:29

Chatting the no didn’t fire off the Noe? The, the notice of unusual event, it was when they lost the power into the plant. That was the criteria that fired off the unusual event. You can shut down a plant whenever you want, and you don’t have to declare, you know, some, an emergency classification, but you have to notify the NRC. If one, the plant shut down and two, you have no offsite power, which you means the only thing left are the diesels. And when that happens, you file a notice of UN unusual event.

Libbe HaLevy

03:33:07

What has energy been saying and how transparent have they been with their communications?

Arnie Gundersen

03:33:15

Well, energy’s position is everything’s under control. And of course, you know, Maggie and I were instrumental in catching energy executive line in Vermont. So it’s not unheard of that. They have not been transparent in the past, but their position is that the plants under control and everything is evolving as could be expected. You know, they also own the next two new nuclear plants up the Mississippi. They own the Riverbend plant and that’s another separate limited liability corporation. And then up in Mississippi, they own the grand Gulf plant commonly called grand goof plant as well. So energy in that part of Louisiana, Mississippi is the major provider of electricity.

Libbe HaLevy

03:34:08

Maggie, I’d like to call on your expertise here with the pandemic, still raging, what problems might be facing the operating crew at Waterford? Can they get offsite if they need to, can replacements come in for them? What are they facing inside that facility?

Maggie Gundersen

03:34:27

First off with COVID it’s, it’s a nightmare down in the south. The vaccination rates are very low and Louisiana has the lowest vaccination rates in the country. People are not vaccinated. They also tend to create variants. COVID will have variants. The big variant right now in the south is the Delta variant and it’s surging in every Southern state. On top of that tonight medical university of South Carolina announced on its social media site that they’ve discovered a new variant in South Carolina. So it’s horrible to think that all these people are in this reactor are at the Waterford plant, trying to control a really difficult situation from the hurricane and they don’t have to mask. They don’t have to be vaccinated. And there are two really bad variants of COVID these states down in the south. So what does that mean? That’s a lot of danger. I think

Libbe HaLevy

03:35:33

This sounds similar to the problems in 2020 with the refueling of nuclear reactors being done by traveling part-time or contract workers coming into the reactor community, into the reactors, doing their work, and then leaving and traveling after four to six weeks of work, meaning that they became potentially a, this Z vector that carried COVID from one location to another. I believe that you and Fairwinds had quite a bit to say about that.

Maggie Gundersen

03:36:07

We did have a lot to say about that. And it’s that type of scenario is still quite a concern several weeks ago in Texas, just when school’s opened one teacher, sun vaccinated contaminated 26 kids in her classroom. So when you’re looking in a nuclear reactor, for example, in the control room, you have five operators and they’re all in close proximity and, and here they don’t need to mask. And now they’re going to be in, in their longer. If the other operators can’t get in other personnel that are working at the site, all the engineers and the operators of the heavy equipment and the operators of the regular equipment, they’ve all gotta be there. They’re in close proximity. They’re, they’re eating in the cafeteria. They’re sharing places that they can bunk there. It’s made for spreading COVID for spreading of pandemic. They are going to watch the virus explode there. I know our daughter every night is treating incredible amounts. The entire ER, and the entire ICU are filled with more than 98% patients with COVID who have not been vaccinated. So I think a plant can face a lot of problems if it doesn’t have adequate backup staff who are healthy

Libbe HaLevy

03:37:30

Arnie, let’s turn this over to you. We need to know what is it that we should be watching for in connection with Waterford. And what further thoughts do you have about it?

Arnie Gundersen

03:37:46

Well, there’s a couple things. There was a hurricane two years ago here on the east coast and it flooded the city of Wilmington, North Carolina, so that no one could leave. And Wilmington is about 10 miles from a nuclear play plant that was also flooded so that no one could leave what the nuclear plant did in that case was they had no food. It’s not like a nuclear plant. They keep diesel fuel, but they don’t keep food for the people who work there. So they had to bring the food in on helicopters. And, you know, as Maggie was saying, you you’ve got the load on the cafeteria is higher. The people are sleeping there, there’s no bedrooms. There’s, you know, cots in the middle of some sort of a common area. So the, the possibility of contamination from COVID is a lot more significant when the plant is isolated like this, I suspect they’ll bring in helicopter deliveries of food for the staff, assuming that the infrastructure so, so destroyed that people can’t get in and out it’s happened before, you know, as long as a helicopter doesn’t crash or something like that into the power plant, things will be fine.

Arnie Gundersen

03:39:00

My fear of course, is diesels. I I’ve worked on diesels for 45 years and I can remember gross failures of diesels. And, and you know, when something, the size of a they’re probably twice as long as a car, you know, and when something like that goes wrong, it really goes wrong in a, in a big fashion. So the key is to keep the diesels running and keep the juice from the diesels, powering the safety systems, as long as they continue to work. They’ll be fine. That the other thing though, is that when company, even as big as energy, new Orleans has a major failure. They draw on line crews from all over the country. You know, you’ll get people coming down from Vermont or new York’s, you know, Iowa, Illinois in line trucks to do major repairs. So you’ve got people coming down from high, high vaccination rate states to work with people in low vaccination areas.

Arnie Gundersen

04:40:03

That’s not a good mix. These guys will be working 16 hours a day. They make incredible money triple time. And, and they work 16 hours. It’s very lucrative, but it’s not safe. You working with electricity, but it’s not safe because they’re all bundled up together in, in line trucks and, and things like that in an environment. So I’m also concerned, not about just the workers in a plant, but about the workers who are trying to restore these transmission lines and their personal safety, cuz they’re working with credible electricity while voltages, but also their physical safety because they’re in a COVID environment,

Libbe HaLevy

04:40:44

R GNON Maggie goon. You are two people who are on the front lines of understanding what’s going on and helping interpret it for the rest of us. I thank you for what you’ve shared today. We’ll stay in touch. And if anything changes at Waterford, we’ll wanna hear it for, of you and for now be well, be safe. And thank you for being my guests this week on nuclear hotseat.

Maggie Gundersen

04:41:07

And thank you for having us.

Arnie Gundersen

04:41:09

Thanks li

Libbe HaLevy

04:41:11

Always a pleasure, a Gerson and Maggie Gunderson of fair winds, energy education we’ll link to fair winds as well as simply info on our website, nuclear hots seat.com. Under this episode, number 5 32, we’ll continue with this week’s news and activist shoutouts in just a moment, but first let’s face it. You are never going to get information like this from mainstream media, they either freak out or more commonly give you a blank stare. When you bring up the various nuclear issues, lots of excuses, excuse me, reasons. It’s too complex. A problem too hard to plane. Radiation is invisible, which makes for bad graphics damage from radiation can take years to show up and who has got the patience, blah, blah, blah. In our fast-paced world of click bait media impersonating journalism where ratings, demographics and advertising money count more than the desperately needed truth. Getting our issues noticed and accurately reported upon can be an exercise in heartbreaking futility.

Libbe HaLevy

04:42:22

And that is exactly why you, we, all of us need nuclear hot seat. Every week. This show looks at nuclear issues around the world to give you information on what’s going on, presented with context continuity and accuracy. And we do what mainstream media doesn’t think, not take a look at all those post hurricane Ida stories that are printed and online and broadcast. See what, if anything you read, see or hear about Waterford and compare it to what this show has just provided. No comparison is there. That’s why we do what we do here. And if you’ve come to value, nuclear, hot seats work, the time to support us with a donation would be right now. We make it so easy for you to do. Just go to nuclear hotseat.com and click on the big red donate button to help us with a donation of any size.

Libbe HaLevy

04:43:24

You can also set up a monthly donation of any size as little as $5 a month. That’s the same as a cup of coffee at a nice tip here in the us. So if you value the nuclear information, you get every week from nuclear hot seat and wanna help us continue. Please do what you can. Now don’t delay now hit the pause button. You can come back, we’ll be here and know that however much you can help. I am deeply grateful that you’re listening and that you care. Now, here is the rest of this week’s news, starting in the us where federal authorities say a fourth executive has been charged for his role in a failed multi-billion dollar project to build two nuclear reactors at the VC summer site in South Carolina, former Western house executive Jeffrey, a Benjamin faces felony counts of fraud. According to an indictment filed on Wednesday, August 18th, 2021 under an agreement Westinghouse electric company will contribute 5 million to a program intended to assist low income rate payers affected by the project’s failure.

Libbe HaLevy

04:44:36

And another payment of 16 point 25 million will be due before July 1st, 2022. So according to Paul Gunter of beyond nuclear Westinghouse will pay back more than 21 million in restitutions for its kind contracting role in the boondoggle at canceled new construction in South Carolina and still pocket change for the $9 billion heist from electric rate payers, we’re going to link to an article about cleaning up nuclear waste at Hanford and Washington state secrecy delays and budget debates. This is about a plan to turn radioactive waste into glass logs. And it has raised a lot of questions, many of which don’t appear to have public answers, Hanford site of plutonium manufacturer for the bomb at Nagasaki. And so many of the bombs since that point is generally acknowledged to be the most PO Lood spot in the nation. Another link will be up to an extensive article from the UK publication.

Libbe HaLevy

04:45:40

The guardian on Santa Noray in Southern California. The headline is a combination of failures is why 3.6 million pounds of nuclear waste is buried on a popular California beach. Leave it to a publication, not in the United States to give one of the most comprehensive reports on San Nore. That will be on the website as well, along with a related article, dealing with whole tech. That’s the corporation that has been in charge of decommissioning at San Nore, the end point in New York, Pilgrim and Massachusetts, and so many others. It comes from public watchdogs.org, which has been focusing closely on the legal aspects of the San Noray case. What public watchdogs has researched and uncovered is a list of 30 shell corporations that at whole tech uses to protect itself along with a video, which is an explanation of how shell companies work. As you heard in today’s interview with a Gerson energy used shell companies to protect itself after hurricane Katrina. And we can probably look forward to more of that in the future. In the wake of hurricane Ida here, public watchdogs lays it all out and ends with the advisory. Feeling confused. Don’t feel bad. Confusion is the objective. When you are playing the corporate shell game, we’ll have a link to this and the other articles up on our website, nuclear hot seat.com under this episode, number 5 32. And now in case you haven’t had enough nuclear bone headedness to satisfy yourself, heres

Announcer

04:47:25

Nuclear, hot seat, nuclear, hot seat, nuclear hot seed.

Libbe HaLevy

04:47:34

The Los Alamos nuclear laboratory in New Mexico has warned that it might shoot down drones that fly into their airspace. This was in response to a recent unauthorized drone flight, detected it in restricted airspace in the area. This is a typical move by green piece in Europe, over nuclear reactors. Be that as it may, the senior director of lab security said we can detect and track a UAS unmanned aircraft system. And if it poses a threat, we have the ability to who disrupt control of the system, seize or exercise control confiscate, or use reasonable force to disable damage or destroy the UAS. So how many millions of dollars is that costing the United States, taxpayer, you know, birds can do the exact same thing. Eagles Hawks, you could train some Falcons. We’ve all seen the YouTube videos of birds taking down drones. So instead of having space lasers and mini atomic bombs set to take down these hobbyist pieces, why don’t you just hire a bunch of falconers, they’d call it sport and enjoy it. But low tech is never the way to go when there’s a possibility of defense contractors earning another dozen million dollars. And that’s why over amped, testosterone driven senior director of lab security at Los Alamos national laboratory, you and anybody else behind this policy are this week’s

Announcer

04:49:18

Nuclear hot seed, none sound week

Libbe HaLevy

04:49:23

Over to Japan, where we got a tweet from Dr. Paul Dorfman, who is honorary senior research associate at the university college London energy Institute. He wrote Japan’s economics ministry has formally acknowledged for the first time that renewable power sources such as solar and wind are cheaper than nuclear. The full article is behind the pay wall, but we will keep searching to get you more detail on this very, very interesting and potentially important admission. And we receive word that radio AF give snakes may monitor Fukushima fallout. And no, this is not a Nunu story. It’s for real, it comes from the bulletin of atomic scientists who report that scientists have enlisted the help of snakes in the Fukushima exclusion zone to make sense of the disaster’s impact on the environment. Ha Gerke a lead author on this study said because snakes don’t move around that much and they spend their time in one particular local area.

Libbe HaLevy

05:50:26

The level of radiation and contaminants in the environment is reflected by the level of contamination in the snake itself. The scientists findings reinforced their 2020 study that found a high correlation between levels of radio cesium. I radioactive isotope cesium in the snakes and levels of radio in their environment in the decade, since the nuclear reactor at Fukushima, most of the contaminants have settled in the soil snakes whose long bodies slither in and bur under the soil can help determine the degree of contamination. Also snakes live a long time, which means that the data gather provides information about environmental contaminations over time, or at least they did live long until Fukushima DII and will find out how long they survive in the coming years in Russia. This story from August 24th, authorities have declared an interregional state of as tough to contain forest fires, threaten the country’s top secret nuclear weapons research center wildfires have raged in the ni no region, roughly 500 kilometers or 310 miles east of Moscow.

Libbe HaLevy

05:51:46

This since early August, the fires have reached the closed city of Sarov, which has been a center for nuclear research since the Soviet era and was the site of the first Soviet atomic bombs development today, the research center makes nuclear warheads and is believed to be developing Russia’s strategic missiles, including its highly talented hypersonic arsenal, a whole slew of stories out of Canada. There have been more stunning revelations about the safety of Ontario’s nuclear reactor this according to a story in the globe and mail, which is Canada’s most widely read newspaper. So the word is getting out there. The newspaper reports that inspections of pressure tubes from two shutdown, Bruce nuclear reactors show damaging hydrogen equivalent levels that are twice the allowed level under Canadian nuclear regulations. These levels are a flashing red light about the conditions of these critical safety components. The measured numbers far exceed what experts at Bruce nuclear that the levels would be based on their computer modeling and are violating their reactor operating license.

Libbe HaLevy

05:52:58

Canadian nuclear operators are running reactors without a correct understanding of what’s happening inside the aging reactor course. The Pickering nuclear station has already had a past history of two splitting and cracking leading to dangerous loss of cooling situations. Thanks to Angela Boff of the Ontario clean air Alliance for the following stories. First billionaires are leading the push for nuclear reactors in Canadian mining. And of course that includes bill gates. This billionaire nuclear boys club has been working closely for years with natural resources, Canada in the push for small modular nuclear reactors, especially for use in off grid mining. The a Canadian budget may reveal the extent of federal support for risky new nuclear reactors, more than 100 indigenous and civil society groups across Canada are now opposed to the new nuclear reactors, which are being pushed by the federal government and for provinces, Saskatchewan, Ontario, new new Brunswick and Alberta in 1978, prime minister, Pierre Elliot Trudeau banned the extraction of plutonium from used nuclear fuel in Canada.

Libbe HaLevy

05:54:17

But last month, just in Trudeau, also prime minister lifted that ban handing over 50 million taxpayer funds to a private company from the UK to develop a technology that proposes to again, extract plutonium from used nuclear fuel. From the point lepro reactor on the bay of fundee in new Brunswick. Meanwhile, first nations people are strongly opposing nuclear and energy, including the wall stock grand council resolution. It opposes nuclear energy and nuclear waste and traditional wall stock territory. And to show how much they understand wall stock. We elders were asked to describe the word nuclear they deliberated, and then came up with the word ask, come with qua, which means forever dangerous to life. And in the UK labor leader, ki Starmer vows to help nuclear test veterans win justice. After a 70 year scandal, veterans have a legacy of cancers, blood disorders and rare disease while their wives report three times the usual rate of miscarriage and studies have found that their children have 10 times the normal amount of birth defects and are five times more likely to die as infants starter’s historic meeting marks.

Libbe HaLevy

05:55:42

The first time any party leader has met with those affected by the UK’s nuclear testing program, which ran on from 1952 to 1991 in America, Australia, and the south Pacific. This has been nuclear hot seat for Tuesday, August 31st, 2021 material for this week show has been researched and compiled from nuclear-news.net to ard.wordpress.com. Be on nuclear.com the international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons, Yakima herald.com, ed Lyman of union of concerned scientists. Paul Dorfman, the Moscow times.com the guardian.com public watchdogs.org and the captured and compromised by the industry. They’re supposed to be regulating nuclear regulatory commission. My gratitude to Ernie Gerson and Maggie Gerson of fair winds, energy education, and Nancy Faust of simply info.org, all of whom made them so available to the show on the shortest possible notice. Thanks to all of you for listening, a big shout out to nuclear hot seat listeners and followers around the world.

Libbe HaLevy

05:56:53

And here’s some messages for you to pass along to others. Anyone who wants to get nuclear hot seat delivered via email every week, just go to nuclear hot seat.com, scroll down for the yellow box and sign up to receive a link to the latest show, along with a brief rundown of some of the material that’s in it. And you guys who are listening, you are my eyes and ears on the ground. So if you run across a story, lead a hot tip or a suggestion of someone to interview, send an email to [email protected] And of course, if you appreciate weekly verifiable news updates about nuclear issues around the world, take a moment to go to nuclear hotseat.com. Look for that big red button, click on it, follow the prompts. Anything will help, and we will really appreciate your support. This episode of nuclear hotseat is copyright 2021 libi Halabi and artistry communications, all rights reserved, but fair use allowed. As long as proper attribution is provided. This is libi Hal of heart history, communications, the heart of the art of communicating, reminding you that we can all come up with the date that a nuclear emergency begins, but we can never come up with a date when it’s over, because once it starts, it is never over. There you go. That’s it. That is your nuclear wake up call. So don’t go back to sleep as we are all in the nuclear hot seat,

Announcer

05:58:31

Nuclear hot seat. What are those people thinking? Nuclear hot seat. What have those boys been drinking? Nuclear hot seat. The car is sinking. Our time to act is shrinking, but the activists are licking nuclear, hot seat. It’s de.