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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

☢ Reactors Venting Steam at North Anna Nuclear Power Plant After 5.9 Earthquake ☢

Related: ☢ 5.9 Earthquake Shuts Down North Anna Nuclear Power Plant 70 miles from Washington D.C Aug 23 2011 ☢

North Anna Nuclear Powe Plant reactor units that shuts down after the facility lost power after the 5.9 earthquake that struck Virginia are now venting steam. The facility went to backup power after the earthquake and 1 of the 4 diesel generators that supply backup power failed.

The North Anna Nuclear plant is built to handle earthquakes and the 5.9 earthquake did not exceed the stated maximum capacity (5.9-6.1) of the construction this time.

The diesels have enough fuel to run continously for 3 days. And with batteries only would give a minimum of 4 hours. And off course there is always the possibility to fill up the diesels and charge the batteries so the treath of meltdown is not that great at this moment.

There are two “loops” of steam/water in a nuke plant. One is “hot” meaning it comes in contact with the core and is radioactive. This is heated by the core and goes to a heat exchanger, usually under pressure so it is not boiling or steam. That heat exchanger connects to the other loop of water that gets its heat from the heat exchanger. This is usually transported to the turbins as steam, turning the turbines and those turn the generators. After the generators it goes to another heat exchanger that condenses it back to water and the second loop continues. There is a third heat exchanger loop usually that extracts the residual heat from the second loop helping to condense the steam.

When the plant shuts down and the generator turbines are “free wheeling” there is still heat in the core or “hot” water system that has to be removed through the heat exchanger and the second loop. The second loop is not pushing the turbines, so the heat removal is not efficient enough to cool the second loop. Steam is looping too fast to let the heat exchangers work efficiently. Therefore the second loop has to vent the system as steam to get enough cooling. The second loop is not radioactive unless there is a leak in the system.

Amanda Reidelbach [an emergency management spokeswoman for Louisa County] said the plant was venting steam but there was no release of radioactive material.

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Geiger Counters - Radiation Detection Meters - Handheld Radiation Detector

When it comes to radiation detection meters you really have a wide field of gadgets to choose from, however radiation detectors are the most common to use. First of all if you need to know what type of radiation you are looking for. There are Alpha, Beta and Gamma radiation detectors. And also there is neutron emission of nuclear radiation. And all these different types of emissions have radiation detectors for a specific type of radiation that you can buy radiation detector for. Some also measure both Alpha and Beta. Others detect Alpha, Beta and Gamma. While others let you measure Beta and Gamma radiation.

What most people have use for though are Dosimeters you can buy a handheld radiation detector pretty cheap that are good addition to a survival kit. There are different kinds that you can use that will detect radiation. There are radiation badges that will tell you when radiation become high. Workers at nuclear power plants use these to inform them of how much radiation they have been exposed to. Now also children in the Fukushima prefecture have each been given a radiation badge so they know if they are exposed to radiation. Some come in the shape of a pen that you can carry in your pocket while other are made more compact so that you can attach them to your keychain. And then you have what is called a personal radiation monitor. These are also called Dosimeters and also normally called Geiger counters. Although not all use the Geiger-Muller Tube for the radiation detection some use a semiconductor instead. These and mostly the older geiger counters seen are pretty big to carry around, so they might not be best suited for a survival situation where you only need to carry the most important things. However if you have land and want to check radiation around the property and drinking water then these are the geiger counters to get because they are very well built units.

These are the once that you normally see people use. They have different units of radiation detection, because when it comes to radiation there are many standards used. some give the measurements in Rads, while other use Sieverts. Some have the maximum radiation value for the measured radioactivity quite low but they will still give you an idea of the amount of radiation in the area. With the units ranging from between background radiation 0.001 mSv/hr all the way up to 10 Sv/h. Normally a dosimeter will measure radiation in micro siverts per hour. If you were to walk into one of the reactor units at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant you probably would get an error reading from your dosimeter because the radiation levels are so high there.

Note that some places outside the exclusion zone in Fukushima that are too radioactive for people to live in have areas where the radiation levels are above 30 Sv/h. So if you are in a area that have high radiation the radiation detectors would also there go off the scale. However Geiger counters or radiation detectors are still favored as general purpose alpha/beta/gamma portable radiation detectors and radiation detection equipment, due to their low cost and robustness. Most come with an LCD Display that show you the radioactivity in the area. Nowdays you will even get alarm sound and the possibility to connect the device to a computer. Either with a Infrared, Bluetooth or USB connection.

So if you look at the radiation detectors for sale that have this, then these radiation detection meters will allow you to make maps of contaminated areas that show where the radiation is high and low. This also will help you to see which areas are becoming more contaminated over time. With several nuclear reactors in the US and around the world located near fault zones that makes it a danger if a big earthquake would hit the area there is always a good choice to have a radiation dosimeter avaliable. I'm sure many in Fukushima would have been grateful to have dosimeters avaliable at the time of the disaster and I am sure you to would be grateful to have a geiger counter handy when you need one.