Sunday, December 25, 2011

Bob Leyse at Hanford Works, August 1950

So, it was my first job as a brand new Chemical Engineer out of the University of Wisconsin. The canyon building is 800 feet long.

Below is the graphite moderated reactor and supporting facilities. It was a great game. I worked at these reactors for most of my almost three years at Hanford Works.

Friday, December 9, 2011

"Xenon got us now." GETR

GETR, the great General Electric Test Reactor.

It was a great test reactor and it operated from about 1959 for over 10 years before it was permanently shut down based on some seismic games.

Anyway, in the course of operating, questions arose on the need for rapid shutdown in the case of loss of secondary water flow. (To keep stuff brief, I'm not going into the plant hydraulics.) Just prior to the planned shutdown for refueling, the staff settled the questions on the need for fast response to loss of secondary flow as follows:
1. Secondary flow was turned off with GETR at full power.
2. The reactor operator observed the game, but otherwise did nothing.
3. With secondary flow off, the primary system temperatures increased and the power level decreased.
4. After a while the reactor operator announced, "Xenon got us now."
5. At that point, the six control rods were inserted and the scheduled shutdown activities began.

Aside from the above, following are two photos of plant engineer, Don Hughes, in action during the construction of GETR during 1958.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Meltdown at Fukushima

Here is my letter to the Wall Street Journal.

Meltdown in Japan

The reactor core meltdown in Japan, WORLD NEWS, WSJ, December 1, is covered very well. However, the U. S. Nuclear Reactor Commission (NRC) gets into the act with its deceptive remarks. NRC is quoted, “This was not all unexpected. It really does nothing to change our assumptions – because we based our decisions on very pessimistic scenarios.” The NRC does not license our nuclear power plants on the basis of very pessimistic scenarios. The NRC believes that hydrogen production begins when reactor core temperatures exceed 2200 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, hydrogen production begins well below 2200, and the rate of hydrogen production speeds up rapidly as the core temperatures soar to meltdown.

Maybe the NRC could open up and tell us what they have really produced prior to the WSJ disclosures. Tell us Mr. Chairman of the NRC, at what temperature of the Fukushima reactor core did hydrogen production begin? And how fast was hydrogen produced? And what was the time-pressure history in the Fukushima reactor pressure vessel? And what was the pressure in the Fukushima reactor pressure vessel when the pressure vessel was breached? And when the molten reactor core breached the reactor pressure vessel, how fast was the molten core squirted out?

Robert H. Leyse
Sun Valley, Idaho