The Nukes in Rita’s Path
South Texas Project 1 and STP 2 are two nuclear power plants located just 90 miles SW of Houston. That’s not very far if an accident occurs and radiation is released during 100+ MPH winds. There is no guarantee the plants can survive the conditions they are about to face.
STP’s two reactors, and all the spent radioactive fuel stored outside the reactor domes in pools at the site, could be subjected to a category 5 (strongest possible) hurricane (ie, bigger than Katrina). Swarms of tornados are also not unheard of during hurricanes. A fuel tank or truck could, for example, be picked up and lofted into the spent fuel pools. The plants will be off the grid (if they aren’t already) and operating on emergency generators, but these could be knocked out as well. The intakes or outlets for the cooling systems could be damaged or plugged. All of these are possible, but none of them are considered credible by the authorities.
Perhaps the most dangerous thing is the arrogance of the plant’s operators. Local residents should simply not trust their lame assurances.
And they want to build more nuclear power plants in these poor, hurricane-stricken areas!
Who knows if the workers at the plants will stay to try to prevent problems? After all, they didn’t swear an oath to faithfully do their job, as the cops in New Orleans did — many of whom walked off the job during Katrina. But even if the nuclear power plant workers DO stay and try to keep things working, there may be nothing they can do, and they will just be committing suicide. Who knows what might crash into these power plants when Rita hurls its fury at them? Who knows what problems might occur, leading to a meltdown and massive radiation release?
Details of the two plants are shown below.
Ronald D. Hoffman, a computer programmer in Carlsbad, California, has written extensively about nuclear power. His essays have been translated into several different languages and published in more than a dozen countries. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
* * *
South Texas Project
LOCATION: Matagorda County (nearest major city: Galveston, TX; 90 miles SW of Houston, TX; 8 miles west of Wadsworth, TX, 12 miles SSW of Bay City, TX)
South Texas Project Electric Generating Sta.: Unit 1
PWR/Westinghouse "pressurized to 2,300 pounds per square inch to keep water liquid at 600º F" (Source: STP web site.)
Spent fuel on site: 320 tons as of 1995.
Commercial start-up date: Aug., 1988
Current Status: Making waste
1982 CRAC-2 est. "Worst Case" Casualties: 39,000; Property Damage: $112 Billion
South Texas Project Electric Generating Sta.: Unit 2
PWR/W (See Unit 1 for information.)
Commercial start-up date: June, 1989
Current Status: Making waste
1982 CRAC-2 est. "Worst Case" Casualties: 39,000; Property Damage: $104 Billion
The Reactor Containment Buildings are 200-foot domes. The plant site is an official wildlife area providing habitat for several threatened species, including bald eagles, peregrine falcons, white-tailed hawks and alligators. (Source: STP web site.)
April 19th, 2003: "[A radioactive] powdery material was found April 12 on the outside of two instrument guide tubes where the tubes enter the bottom of the reactor". (Source: New York Times; Unit unknown.)
May 8th, 1990: Pipe crack in reactor at South Texas (Source: Greenpeace; Unit unknown.)
ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH
We published an article entitled "A Saudiless Arabia" by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the "Article"), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the "Website").
Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.
We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.
As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.
We are pleased to clarify the position.
August 17, 2005