Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant and Joplin Tornadoes Raises Nuclear Safety Concerns

Written by Holly Robin. Posted in National

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Published on May 28, 2011 with No Comments

Has anyone seen anything in the news about the Nuclear Power Plant that was singled out just weeks before the tornadoes ravaged Joplin, Missouri?

Well guess what, the Wolf Creek nuclear plant in southeastern Kansas was singled out because inspections triggered by Japan’s Fukushima crisis showed that the nuclear power plant may not survive a tornado

How could the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) conclude that the plant met the requirements to keep nuclear fuel cool and containment structures intact when Wolf Creek did not even secure equipment needed to fight fires, retrieve fuel for the emergency generators or resupply water to keep the nuclear fuel cool.  Sound familiar?  Funny all these things are what led to the Fukushima, Japan nuclear power plant crisis.

David Lochbaum, a former nuclear plant engineer now finds himself working among the advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists.  Lochbaum has the best of both worlds in the nuclear power plant business and says that Wolf Creek if hit by a tornado could have the backup of its backups disabled, and this should raise concern for the NRC.

It is not something to be taken lightly, unfortunately the NRC sent Scott Burnell, one of their spokesman out “The issues affected only one of several (emergency) procedures, so we continue to conclude Wolf Creek meets requirements, the same conclusion we’ve reached for every U.S. plant.”

Nuclear power plants in Virginia and Alabama have already had their power knocked out by tornadoes, exposing vulnerabilities; moreover the tornadoes hit this year!

Instances such as the nuclear power plants in Virginia and Alabama, along with Wolf Creek in southeastern Kansas bring us back to the original article Holly Robin wrote, addressing the 104 reactor’s within the United States in ‘Nuclear Nation’.

Although Wolf Creek and other ‘vulnerable’ nuclear power plants were designed to hold their ground based on the natural disasters they could possibly encounter, it does not mean that all the emergency equipment or buildings that house the nuclear equipment are designed to.

One reassuring comment came from Russel Stukey, the Emergency Management Coordinator for Coffey County.  Even though Stukey expressed concerns about the NRC’s findings, however he would not go as far as to say that Wolf Creek was not prepared for a tornado.

To me, the danger lies in the NRC claiming that a tornado has never hit close to the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant.  But who would have thought an earthquake and a tsunami would hit Japan in the time frame or force that it did back in February.

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