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What promises do nuclear energy hold in an extreme geomagnetic disturbance (GMD) event like a Carrington Event or a Quebec March 1989 event?

Nuclear energy may be most risky to us in an extreme geomagnetic disturbance (GMD) like a Carrington Event, Quebec March 1989 event, Sweden October 2003 event which induced degradation in the Eskom network of South Africa. Disturbances happened in 1957, 1958, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1990, 2000, and 2003 . The 1859 and 1921 geomagnetic storms might have been 50-300% stronger than the March 1989 event which did much HydroQuebec damage.

An article of News Analysis By Matthew Stein that seems to be well documented appears and is entitled "400 Chernobyls: Solar Flares, Electromagnetic Pulses and Nuclear Armageddon", published 03-24-12 by Truthout http://truth-out.org/news/item/7301-400-chernobyls-solar-flares-electromagnetic-pulses-and-nuclear-armageddon and see: The Full Length Version with numerous footnotes and hyperlinks to sources http://www.whentechfails.com/node/1545 Stein has made available a Professional Memo "Talk Points on EMP, Solar Flares, and Grid Collapse/Nuclear Armageddon" posing questions answered in the above articles http://www.matstein.com/wp-content/uploads/Talk-Points-EMP-Solar-Nuclear-Armageddon.doc

Stein is video interviewed in The AlexJones Channel 02-06-12 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUrCVhPdQWE
"Explanation of Geomagnetic Disturbance Watches, Warnings and Alerts" and other information and hyperlinks to instructive sources appears in "Reliability Guideline: Geomagnetic Disturbances" by North American Electric Reliability Corporation http://www.nerc.com/files/GMD_Guideline_v2_clean.pdf

Also see: “Geomagnetic Storms” by CENTRA Technology, Inc., on behalf of Office of Risk Management and Analysis, United States Department of Homeland Security 01-14-11 http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/57/25/46891645.pdf

"For the cost of a single B-2 bomber or a tiny fraction of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bank bailout, we could invest in preventative measures..." said Stein.

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  • Apr 14 2012: Nuclear energy based on the use of uranium-plutonium is basically unsafe and dangerous and should not be used at all.
    There are two types of reactors,
    1) the ones using fast neutrons, which are called fast reactors. They use graphite as moderator (= means to slow down the speed of the neutrons to a suitable velocity) and inert gas as medium for transfer of the heat from the fuel rods to the steam generator. This type of reactor is basically unsafe. Remember Chernobyl.
    2) the ones using slow neutrons, which are called thermic reactors. They use water as moderator and also as medium for heat transfer. They are basically safe, as formation of steam in the reactor will immediately stop the reactor process completely.
    The uranium isotope U-235 is fuel but the isotope U-238 is not a fuel. However if a U-238 atom is hit by a neutron, it becomes a plutonium Pu-239 atom which behaves like an U-235 atom, that is almost! You can use plutonium in a fast reactor, but that type is basically unsafe. But you can´t use it stand alone in a thermic reactor, which is basically safe, because plutonium has some quirk which makes it unsafe as fuel in combination which slow neutrons.
    So you have to use it in combination with uranium and then you produce also more plutonium than you consume.
    This surplus of plutonium has to be stored somewhere safely. Russia did it once not safe enough and some 1,000 km2 became unlivable area. The present stored surplus is enough for a few hundred thousands A-bombs.
    Terrorists will love to get some of it. Experts say that terrorists are unable to build efficient A-bombs. But if they use enough plutonium for a 100 kiloton bomb, put it in a car and explode it with only one percent efficiency in front of the Capitol, then the Capitol will still be flattened and the whole city will be unlivable forever.
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    Mar 26 2012: you should select your sources better. geomag storms don't affect power plants. they affect grids, and thus can damage the generators of a power plant, but not the reactor itself.
    • Mar 26 2012: Krisztián, thanks for your response. The electrical power grids supply electricity upon which pumps rely for power to circulate coolants to critical systems and locations such as reactor cores and spent fuel rod cooling ponds which some who know more than I do say are routinely filled with too many rods. When pumps do not work and systems overheat, core meltdowns and fires become more possible. In 1979 at Three Mile Island, PA, the short-term loss of core cooling was problematic; the Fukushima Daiichi disaster was exacerbated by long-term coolant circulation failure when backup batteries and diesel generators stopped powering coolant pumps for some (any) reason. Do regulatory agencies in all the many different countries that have nuclear power plants require more than enough onsite batteries and fuel to power the emergency back-up generators for a time long enough (certainly more than a week or two) to repair the regional-hemispheric-global grids? I don't know the correct/true answer to that question Krisztián, do you? "Nuclear Power Plants and the Electric Power Grid" section of Matthew Stein's work http://www.whentechfails.com/node/1545 seems like a fine source to me.
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        Mar 26 2012: emergency generators run on diesel, and requires diesel oil only. since cars and trucks are not affected, and oil reserves are also functional without the grid, it is very much possible to indefinitely control the reactors.

        fukushima is a good example. 1 out of the 6 generators were functional, and they actually ran out of fuel for long periods (hours). not only the grid was destroyed permanently, but also the roads. severe damage resulted in multiple reactor cores. and still, the contamination outside the plant is minimal. this is pretty much the worst case scenario. compared to this, in a GMD event, neither roads nor diesel generators are damaged.