Monday, August 26, 2013

UHI Upper Head Injection, Nitrogen Blowdown

So far this blog has lots in the arena of UHI and there is more to come.

"Where this couldn't be done or wasn't enough, we proposed an upper head injection system."
John W. Simpson, page 199 of Nuclear power from underseas to outer space, Copyright 1995 American Nuclear society.

Of course, Simpson was an old man (80) by the time his book was published. By then the UHI system had been "engineered", installed and abandoned at several units; Catawba and McGuire at Duke, Sequoyah and Watts bar at TVA, and Ohi in Japan.  AEP did not fall for the Westinghouse sales talk that encouraged installing UHI at ice condenser plants (although AEP was conned into the ice condenser units). 

A fast recap:  On October 3, 1984, I submitted my Memorandum, UHI Ultra High Risk, and my employer, the Nuclear Safety Analysis Center (NSAC) of the Electric Power Research Institute then invited me to get lost.  NSAC was not skilled in the game of Nuclear Safety Analysis and the nuclear power utilities that funded NSAC were perfectly content with that.  NSAC was set up after the TMI-2 meltdown to act as a front for nuclear power utilities that needed to assure the public that all was well.

During October 1972 I was employed by Westinghouse Nuclear Energy Systems in a group called Safeguards Development.  Westinghouse was conceiving assorted schemes to address concerns with the adequacy of emergency core cooling systems.  The use of water accumulators with high pressure nitrogen was under study.  I was assigned to review the proposals and I issued the attachment below:

In the above I posed four questions. The essence of the four is in the fourth question that asked if the effects of nitrogen saturation had been considered.  The response from Gallagher of Systems Development stated that "In general, the effects of nitrogen saturation have not been considered."  Also, "The nitrogen dissolved in the spray injection water should be extremely low because of the short time that the accumulator is pressurized, therefore we do not expect the pressure drop through the control valve to lead to substantial nitrogen outgassing."  Gallagher's response is below:
As has been reported in several earlier entries in this blog, the UHI system that Westinghouse installed in several of its ice condenser plants proved to be unwieldy and the systems were abandoned. It turned out that during operation, the nitrogen pressurized accumulators were exposed to pressurized nitrogen for durations up to several months on several occasions.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Columbia Generating Station: Fukushima on the Columbia

Shut it down.

Below is a recent news release.

See the last sentence of this recent press release.  Experts say radioactivity becomes diluted quickly as it spreads further offshore where global environmental impact is negligible.”

So, when a plant is not on the ocean things will be a lot worse; like the Columbia Generating Station on the Columbia River.

Japan Protests Over French Fukushima Cartoon

Thu, 09/12/2013 - 11:46am

MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Japan lodged a protest Thursday against a French newspaper cartoon depicting sumo wrestlers with extra limbs fighting in front of the country's crippled nuclear power plant and linking it to Tokyo's successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics.

In this Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 file photo, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga speaks at the first Cabinet meeting on decommissioning nuclear reactors and control of radiation-contaminated water leak at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ich nuclear power plant, at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo. Suga said Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 that Tokyo was to formally complain the weekly paper Le Canard Enchaine over a cartoon which he said insulted those affected by the March 2011 disaster. He said the expression misrepresented Fukushima’s plant conditions. The French newspaper cartoon is depicting sumo wrestlers with extra limbs fighting in front of the crippled nuclear power plant and linking it to Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, Pool)

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tokyo planned to formally complain to the weekly paper Le Canard Enchaine via the Japanese Embassy in France. He said the cartoon insulted those affected by the March 2011 disaster and misrepresented conditions at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

The plant's recent leaks of radioactive water into the Pacific have triggered international concerns.

One of the cartoons published Wednesday shows two sumo wrestlers, each with an extra arm and leg, facing off with the nuclear plant in the background, as a pair of spectators in hazmat suits and full-face masks watched the match from outside the ring.

Another cartoon in the same paper showed two people wearing hazmat suits and holding dosimeters standing at the poolside, with a phrase next to it saying Fukushima already has an Olympic-size pool.

Japanese officials have acknowledged that radiation-contaminated ground water has been leaking from the plant from soon after the March 2011 crisis. The recent string of leaks from storage tanks holding radioactive water have added to fears.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assured the International Olympic Committee hours before the Sept. 8 vote that the leaks were "under control."

In order to calm international concerns about the water problem that escalated just before the Olympic vote, Japan's government said it was getting more directly involved in the plant's water management and announced public funding of some costly measures to contain the leaks.

A Foreign Ministry official later Thursday confirmed that Japan has submitted an official complaint to the paper's chief editor Louis Marie Horeau through its embassy in Paris. The ministry official said the paper did not apologize, but acknowledged that Japan was upset over them.

In his final presentation to the Olympic committee hours before Tokyo won the bid, Abe also said that the leak is "completely blocked" within the bay surrounding the plant, raising questions at home about the accuracy of those comments.

TEPCO spokesman Noriyuki Imaizumi acknowledged this week that the leak has not been completely contained by protective fences installed just off the coast.

Experts say radioactivity becomes diluted quickly as it spreads further offshore where global environmental impact is negligible.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Maximum Credible Accident GETR

In 2008, I submitted an FOIA for this documentation. An advantage of this release is that it is in ADAMS, so that I may easily copy portions for display on this blog. The document is at:

Following is excerpted from the above:

FOIA 2008-0249
Reactor Safety Evaluation Volume II APED-5000-A
Dated July 1965 Pages 194-224

7. 3.5 Maximum Credible Accident The probability is extremely small that an accident could reach the magnitude of the maximum credible accident (MCA) described in this section. Such an accident would require at least concurrent failures of the cooling system and scram system. Even with such improbable concurrent failures, the existence of negative temperature and void coefficients,and the availability of some flow through the emergency coolant valves, makes it unlikely that any actual accident would progress to the degree postulated in this accident. However the postulated conditions and consequences of this accident represent the credible upper limits for a generic class of accidents, any one of which will cause significant core destruction and a significant release of fission products to the containment building.

Below is an earlier document, July 3, 1958, that reveals background thinking during the initial licensing of the General Electric Test Reactor.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Safeguards Racket and Licensing of the General Electric Test Reactor

About 55 years ago, a young expert wrote the following

The above was followed 10 days later, July 3, 1958, by another young expert.  Maybe there was a kind of contest.  Or maybe neither knew  the other (Wolfe did not send a copy to Andersen, and Andersen did not send a copy to Wolfe).

As readers will find out in entry below (A Wild Game at the General Electric Test Reactor, January 25, 1963) an intense blast was in the cards. With more luck than sense, the card did not fall.

The game is played somewhat like this.  The racketeers say that the severe accident is not credible.  This is stated several times. Then the severe accident is described with rather absurd assertions and the public is thus to be convinced that such a terrible occurrence could not possibly unfold. 

Following is copied (excerpted) from the GETR analysis in support of its application for relicensing for operation at 50 MW, an increase from 30 MW.  This was placed in ADAMS in response  to Leyse FOIA 2008-0249.

Readers may view the complete document at

Reactor Safety Evaluation For GETR

Volume II APED-5000-A
Pages 194-224

Dated July 1965

7. 3.5 Maximum Credible Accident

With the reactor operating at full power, the loss of coolant would result in a rapid rise in fuel element temperature. The fuel first becomes steam blanketed in the central regions of the core which causes the fuel to rise rapidly above the melting point.

 The entire fuel-bearing portion of the core is assumed to be molten before the ensuing steam explosion disperses the core.

 A chemical reaction is assumed to occur between the hottest molten particles, representing 10% of the aluminum in the fuel bearing portion of the core, and the water vapor present.

The post-accident analysis of SL- I and the SPERT-1 data show, respectively, that only 2. 8 and 0. 4% of the aluminum will react with water. However, for conservatism, a 10% aluminum-water reaction is assumed.

The reactor pressure vessel is assumed to be ruptured by either the steam or hydrogen from the highly exothermic aluminum-water reaction. The hydrogen formed by the reaction of metal with water and the core fission products are thus released to the containment building atmosphere. The steel missile shield prevents the expulsion of any credible reactor parts from pool-pressure vessel area. The hydrogen which issued from beneath the missile shield is assumed to ignite and burn when it mixes with the air in the containment vessel.

The above excerpt follows the typical licensing game of "showing" that even with what are presented as conservative analyses, there is no chance that a dangerous accident could take place.  This is a generic game of deception,
however, even in this sham of "conservatism" the analysts had to assume only 10% aluminum-water reaction and that the steel missile shield was in place.

At this point, readers should move to my earlier entry of August 13, 1013, (A Wild Game at the General Electric Test Reactor, January 25, 1963)

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Actually, GE made attempts to keep GETR in operation. However, GE may have only made "attempts" although it was a great test reactor and outran the Westinghouse Test Reactor. The last paragraph of the following discusses the seismic "threat" that led to the permanent shutdown.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Wild Game at the General Electric Test Reactor, January 25, 1963 E-5

 Here is some experience at the General Electric Test Reactor (GETR) during the 1960s. Our NRC would likely regard all this as purely old stuff that is irrelevant in today's world. Thus, I am telling the NRC that this was during the era when the Fukushima BWRs and other BWRs were placed on the world stage.

I did not identify GETR when I placed the following in another blog on Saturday, February 24, 2007.

Suppose I had false memories Of course, one has to be careful about swearing to the truth of lots of stuff. What if I had an imagination, or far worse, some Orwellian false memories? My first entry in this blog briefly mentions the SL-1 explosion and that is pure documented fact. So let us suppose that near the west coast there was a nuclear test reactor of sorts. And the downtown office sends a front man to Idaho to attend some SL-1 explosion briefings. Upon his return, if he went, he comes out in the country and gives us a sanitized briefing at the reactor of sorts (ROS).

He describes the central control rod at SL-1 and before he gets to his next sentence, a sneering commenter might have bellowed out, "It would take a team from Argonne to put a control rod right in the center of that core." Now we can move ahead a few years. The ROS might have been built with control rods that used boron stainless as structural material as well as poison. The control rod structure could have cracked after moderate use, leading to binding and other bad scenes. So, a cadmium assembly could have been designed that would have superior life and equivalent control strength (with thermal neutrons, black is black).

For a bit of further background, the ROS might have had six control rod assemblies with fuel followers, and if these assemblies existed, they were similar to the assemblies of the Engineering Test Reactor ETR that was in Idaho. The ETR poison sections were about three feet long and they included fuel followers so that fuel was added to the control rod location as control rods were withdrawn.

So, a new cadmium assembly might have been built, but how to test it for worth? The easiest thing would be to place it in the very center position of the ROS, go critical, shut down, remove it, and replace it with an old boron assembly and go critical again. Then a comparison of the positions of criticality would be a great proof test. But there might have been a restriction on such a procedure because the amount of reactivity (plus or minus) that was allowed in the center of ROS might have been limited by its operating license, it it had such. However, under an AEC rule, 50.59, it might have been stipulated that the restriction on reactivity only applied to long term operations and not a simple field test of only several minutes at the most.

 So, such a comparison might have proceeded. And if it did proceed, the sneering commentator of the second paragraph above might have had the task of predicting the amount of withdrawal of the six control rods that would yield criticality. And if such a prediction was made, it might have been that criticality would be reached with about half of full withdrawal, about 18 inches. If the test proceeded, it might have been found that criticality was not reached as predicted. And then a guy in the control room might have telephoned the sneering commentator (who could have been elsewhere). The sneering commentator might have provided assurance that the situation was no big deal, that with such an unusual geometry with such a vast amount of poison in the most reactive location in the core, an accurate prediction was likely out of the question.

So, the test may have proceeded. And if it did, the careful slow withdrawal of the bank of six control rods might have proceeded with several stops along the way to criticality. And criticality might have been reached with the gang withdrawal at 33 inches out of the maximum 36 inches that was possible with the ETR design. And that would have been very interesting since fuel followers would have added to the reactivity worth of the center of the core. And if the test had proceeded it might have been found that the cadmium section also led to 33 inches of gang withdrawal. After all, black is black.

 And so, if in the game of inserting the control rod in location E-5, going critical, shutting down, removing the control rod, placing the new design, going critical, shutting down, removing the new design; if, then it might have been very fortunate that nothing happened that would have made SL-1 look like a ladyfinger.*

*During the mid 1930s, if a kid could get his money onto the counter, he could buy firecrackers. If he saved up, he could buy three ten inchers for a dime. For a nickel he could by a package of zillions of ladyfingers. Ladyfingers were weak little things that would damage nothing even if held held between the kid's fingers. Posted by Leyse at 6:55 PM

In the above I refer to cadmium. That is incorect, the new control rod, Mark II, was boron carbide as described in the following communication to the AEC from GE. This is from page 13 of 16 from NRC Adams ML082420545, SUPPLEMENTARY REPORT ON GETR CONTROL ROD REDESIGN, March 1, 1963.

2. Experimental Verification In order to confirm the results of the physics calculations, a special poison section was fabricated and tested such that reactivity measurements could be made comparing the effect of the Mark I and II rods. The test poison piece-, which contained 0.87 w/o enriched boron in 304 SS, was 2.320” sq. x .105" wall, 1/8" thick SS on inner surface of poison with 0.030" thick SS on outer surface.

Prior to Cycle 41 startup measurements were made comparing the reactivity worth of the new and old poison sections in the E-5 core position. Results indicate that, for this position, the Mark II rod was worth approximately 0. 4% 4k/k less than the Mark I design poison section. Taking this result and correcting for the position in which the measurement was made to the positions at which the control rods operate,, the reactivity worth of the new control rods is expected to be 16.8 + 0.4% dk/k.

It is revealing that in the above paragraphs, Gneral Electric disclosed to the AEC that, "Prior to Cycle 41 startup measurements were made comparing the reactivity worth of the new and old poison sections in the E-5 core position." AEC apparently never figured out that this was a very wild ride. On the other hand, maybe AEC did not want to reveal this very wild game. Readers may view the complete GE documents at    and

Below is the plan view of the GETR core. E-5, in the center, is in red.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Upper Head Injection and Sinister Stuff

I've covered a lot the territory regarding Upper Head Injection in prior entries. NSAC management was directed by EPRI management to "investigate" my assertions.  I cooperated.  After the "investigation" was completed, NSAC produced the following two pages.  Of course, I was not expected to ever see these, but somehow I acquired these.

What is so revealing is the NSAC collaboration with the NRC; I was never aware of that game.  In the following memorandum NSAC apologizes to NRC for Leyse's communication with the NRC following a complaint by NRC.  There is a lot more to the situation under which Leyse communicated with the NRC.  More later on this, but in a nutshell, NSAC had given Leyse his walking papers and Leyse was looking for work.

NSAC was nuts to issue this memorandum.  There are several adjectives that describe the games; sinister covers the ground.

Click on the page to see the entire page, and then use the back arrow to get back.




Monday, August 12, 2013

Hardened Vent at BWRs, Request to Senator Risch

Here is a letter that I have sent to Senator Risch.

Robert H. Leyse
P. O. Box 2850
222 Elkhorn Road
Sun Valley, ID 83353

 August 11, 2013

The Honorable James E. Risch United States Senator
1411 Falls Avenue E Suite 2
Twin Falls, ID 83301

Dear Senator Risch:

Without success, I have been trying to get documents from the NRC in the arena of hardened venting systems such as would apply to Idaho’s neighboring Columbia Generating Station and other boiling water nuclear power reactors.

Here is what I need:

On page 33 of 36 of reference ML13143A321, I read:
1.2 The HCVS shall include the following design features:
1.2.1 The HCVS shall have the capacity to vent the steam/energy equivalent of 1 percent of iicensed/rated thermal power (unless a lower value is justified by analyses), and be able to maintain containment pressure below the primary containment design pressure.

I need the list of references that document the basis for 1.2.1. This request is specific, concise and vital. Please tell NRC to respond promptly with the list of references.

Robert H. Leyse

Saturday, August 10, 2013

HiTBiT Assembly

here is a related publication.


Phase change heat transfer phenomena have been discovered with a micron-sized heat transfer element operating in subcooled (20oC) degassed, de-ionized water over a wide pressure range (200 – 6000 Psia) at ultra-high heat fluxes up to 4000 W/cm2. The platinum heat transfer element (diameter 7.5 microns, length 1.14 mm) is mounted horizontally within a 0.6 cm internal diameter stainless steel tube. The platinum element is simultaneously a resistance thermometer. Sealed electrical terminals effect direct current heating of the platinum element. Pressure is applied pneumatically. The adiabatic heating rate of the element is 6 oC per microsecond at 3700 W/cm2; therefore, response is essentially instantaneous for the procedures described herein. Two distinct procedures have been employed. In the first procedure, power (heat flux) is maintained substantially constant as pressure is reduced. In the second procedure, pressure is held constant while the heat flux is increased smoothly,

The first procedure: 1) Pressurize the water-filled stainless steel chamber to 6000 Psia 2) Apply substantially constant power (fixed heat flux). 3) Maintain constant heat flux as pressure is reduced smoothly from 6000 Psia to 200 Psia over a period of about 20 seconds. Record voltage, amperage, and pressure at 0.1 second intervals.

The second (Nukiyama) procedure: 1) Pressurize the water-filled stainless steel chamber to a fixed pressure. 2) Apply smoothly increasing power. 3) Maintain constant pressure while the heat flux is increased from very low values to several thousand W/cm2. Record voltage, amperage, and pressure at 0.1 second intervals.

The test results reveal a very high level of consistency among sets of runs conducted by INZ and more recent runs conducted by the Boiling Heat Transfer Laboratory at UCLA.


Carbon-14, General Electric Test Reactor - Criminal Activity - Aluminum Nitride

Be careful what you say,

Don't give yourself away. 

On September 12, 1966, I documented my insight on a stupid move that the great GE staff was setting up for the production of Carbon 14. Somebody figured out that Carbon 14 could be produced for very little money by loading some unused space in the General Electric Test Reactor with aluminum nitride, and after several cycles of exposure somebody could get a nice bonus as the Carbon 14 would yield $$$.

 I wrote the following to my Manager, Kent Stratton:

Today I found out that four hollow filler pieces to be filled with aluminum nitride powder are being constructed for the GETR core. These are the four moon-shaped pieces for the periphery of the core. What if a leak develops in one of these pieces (intended for a 24 cycle life)? The aluminum nitride reacts with water to produce ammonia. Small amounts of water can leak in, ammonia gas can be produced and the filler piece can be filled with gas at about 150 psig (core operating pressure). Now, if there is an emergency cooling trip, the filler piece will deform substantially with the sudden decrease of surrounding pressure. Somebody should be looking into the consequences of such rapid deformation. One possibility is substantial release of a large C-14 inventory into the reactor water. Offhand, it doesn't appear likely that the control rods would bind, but is anyone certain of this? In summary,the plans need additional review. My guess is that further study will result in a finding of inadequate safety.

I discussed this with a member of the Nuclear Safety Group.  He then wrote a memorandum to the head of the Nuclear Safety group with distribution to six others plus me.  Here is his opening paragraph.

 September 23, 1966

 SUBJECT:  Irradiation of Aluminum Nitride in GETR Reactor Peripheral Filler Pieces

 Nuclear Safety has approved these assemblies for irradiation in GETR.  However, there is one hazard that still concerns us.  This is not expected to create any immediate problems, but might after any months.  For this reason we do not require an immediate answer but want your evaluation in the next four to six weeks. 

 There is lot more to reveal. The task proceeded without delay. Very fortunately, the capsules failed shortly after startup and the project was abandoned. It would have been hell if the capsules failed after a substantial C-14 inventory built up. I'm quite certain that the set of events was never reported to the AEC.

Here is a paragraph from my monthly report to Kent Stratton on September 30, 1966:

Aluminum Nitride Filler Pieces - On September 12 I wrote you a letter describing hazards associated with possible water in-leakage followed by an emergency cooling trip. My understanding is that this irradiation is being delayed indefinitely. The available safeguards analysis is not adequate for the depth of our hazards. This, of course is a problem that has been with us for several years.

I do not have the dates or the photographs or copies from the log at the General Electric Test Reactor. The aluminum nitride capsules were placed in the core and failed shortly after startup of the reactor. I saw the capsules in the hot lab at Vallecitos Nuclear Center and there were extensive splits along edge welds. I do not have facts on the amount of powder that was lost from the capsules, but it was substantial based on the extensive damage to the capsules; this was no mere pin hole leak.

Sometime after September 30, 1966, my Manager, Kent Stratton was relieved of his duties. One of my co-workers, G. L. Davis, was appointed as my Acting Manager. On November 2, 1966, I wrote the following in my October monthly report to G, L, Davis, Acting Manager.

Safety Attitude Within IPO: The attitude of management within IPO is that safety is to be merely a spectator sport. For example: My recommendations on the aluminum nitride irradiations were not only ignored, they were arrogantly ignored, and after the whole show was over (and $100,000 was down the drain), there was an attitude of resentment when I dragged out my correspondence which showed that I predicted the occurrence before it happened. As you know, Management always accused us of Monday morning quarterbacking when we were in Nuclear Safety when in reality predictions like the one I just cited often held true at that time even though they weren't as well documented. I think Management should take another look at the need for having common sense in the safety program, especially with regard to experiments in the GETR.

Below is an illustration of a moon shaped piece.

Following shows the four filler pieces in the core of the General Elecric Test reactor.