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Transformer Explosion Closes Nuclear Plant Unit North of NYC 213

Reuters reports that a transformer failure and related fire have forced the closure of a generating unit of the Indian Point nuclear plant, about 40 miles north of New York City; another generator at the same facility was unaffected. Witnesses reported seeing an explosion, as well as (according to NBC News) a "huge ball of black smoke" when the transformer exploded, which led to the shut-down of the site's Unit 3. The Reuters article says the plant "has long been controversial because of its proximity to the United States' largest city. Indian Point is one of 99 nuclear power plants licensed to operate in the United States and which generate about 20 percent of U.S. electricity use, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission website.
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Transformer Explosion Closes Nuclear Plant Unit North of NYC

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  • by garyisabusyguy ( 732330 ) on Saturday May 09, 2015 @09:36PM (#49655831)

    Normal safety measures effective, loss of transformer handled in professional manner

    Instead we get vague hand waving and reference to controversies generated by people wanting to shut down all nuclear power plants

    Thank you /. for supporting the luddite agenda

    • by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Saturday May 09, 2015 @09:40PM (#49655859) Homepage
      I live in the imediate blast zone of indian point.You are exactly right. no one around here is freaking out. we are all sitting around saying how the system worked as it was supposed to. going on with out days.

      This is a non story simple as that. now lets wait for the anti nuke people to roll in and tell us how wind and solar will save us all
      • This was a transformer that failed. ALL power plants that make AC power use those. Nuclear, coal, hydro, wind, doesn't matter, they all use transformers. So even if nuclear went away, transformers would be all over the place. They are how we change AC voltages from one to another.

      • Isn't it fucked up how "powers that be" will take any news and use it for their agenda, even when the people actually "at risk" are not worried at all?

        You never think about it till they get a hold of your home town and you go, "Wait, that's not at all what we think! We're not all southern slobs / rapists or tech/woman/man/cop-hating hippies / etc."
    • Exactly.
    • Yeah. I was kind of surprised when I saw it wasn't mdsolar as usual.

    • Thank you /. for supporting the luddite agenda

      Quite true.

    • The headline is: noooklear boogity boogity boogity.

      It should be: large steam units have forced outages, and the grid is designed to handle them.

      My point is this: we hear all the time "what good is solar power at night? Wind turbines when it's not windy?" I ask you: what good is a nuclear power station when the transformer blows up and it safely disengages from the grid for hours, days, or weeks? Think of this incident next time folks talk about how some renewable generator is unreliable. No generating unit

  • by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Saturday May 09, 2015 @09:37PM (#49655835)

    Nothing to see here. Generating stations, nuclear or otherwise, trip off line when major changes in load occur.

    Oh, but right.., it's NOOCOOLAR POWAH! It must mean a near-miss meltdown and a cover up! I'll get my potassium iodide pills and my tinfoil hat and make some popcorn.

    • by TheRealHocusLocus ( 2319802 ) on Saturday May 09, 2015 @11:31PM (#49656267)

      Oh, but right.., it's NOOCOOLAR POWAH! It must mean a near-miss meltdown and a cover up! I'll get my potassium iodide pills and my tinfoil hat and make some popcorn.

      Ha ha! It is little use pointing out that a transformer exploded and a power plant shut down quickly and safely because it was unable to push its load into the grid. Reading between the lines, it does look like an item that floated to the top because of the word 'nuclear'. Stations trip all the time.

      There is nothing comfortable and socially appealing about opposing nuclear power, unless you are shrilly terrified about full-fallout nuclear bomby Armageddon as portrayed in countless movies, or honestly believe that barely measurable traces of cesium in fish is an impending extinction event for the fish, or for us. Perhaps you fear to go down to the basement, where you will breathe in molecules of radioactive radon gas. One should be far more concerned about traces of pharmaceuticals, antibiotics, pesticide and fertilizer runoff, or (if you lived in the 60s, problem dealt with) lead from gasoline. Or even land erosion from human development!

      I think people tend to be more pragmatic than that. A lot of it is just noise to be cool, like the muttered remarks heard around the schoolyard. There are folks who find it fun to drop the same nuclear zingers time after time. And I think they are some of the same folks promoting wind and solar. You have to realize that in the end the joke's on you.

      Solar and wind energy solutions are like the throw-pillows of civilization. They are cuddly, come in lots of fun shapes and colors and you can hug them like little trees... but when all is said and done they will be unable to provide a meaningful level of lumbar support. Your time rearranging them is wasted. It's wasted because despite the excitement of the solar bubble, the base load generation challenge will be ultimately solved with coal, natural gas or nuclear energy. And the people who are pushing for coal and natural gas (yes they do exist but seldom post here), or are just afraid of nuclear energy, want you to be afraid of nuclear energy too. Join the club, right?

      When the best ways to propagate myths are with dumb jokes, it's not funny.

      To all the folks out there who rail on about nuclear: If you must fear something, fear the use of coal. Because that is what we in North America will be drawn completely into when (not if) natural gas declines. Even as she builds out coal plants China is becoming concerned about sulfuric aerosols from coal burning []. We are not as much concerned because our emission controls are better and continental air circulation is better., which seems to keep the problem at a more comfortable distance.

      Learn more! Read about the grid! [Gardner, dissertation] A Wide Area Perspective on Power System Operation and Dynamics [] is a good read on the challenges of operating a resonant grid.

      Perfecting wind and solar is worthy on small scale to serve individuals and small communities. But it cannot clothe and feed them like an industrial society does. In the background the pursuit of BIG solutions (so called base load) that can power factories and water treatment plants is essential.
      See Thorium Remix [] and my letters on energy,
        To The Honorable James M. Inhofe, United States Senate []
        To whom it may concern, Halliburton Corporate []

      • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Sunday May 10, 2015 @04:54AM (#49656961)
        You may want to start a letter with something other than "I was raised on the philosophy of Ayn Rand" when discussing an engineering issue. The "Reardon Metal" thing where businessmen know so much more than engineers and scientists about materials still has us laughing, so your letters may be disposed of for baggage unrelated to your philosophy or the worth of their contents. A Russian with little understanding of the west telling us all we should run things like under the Tsar is a bit hard to swallow even if some of her points are valid.
        Also I suggest you consider the current Thorium work in India and other places to get an idea that the state of the art has moved on a bit from a 1950s experiment. While civilian nuclear energy research in the USA effectively halted well over a decade ago it still continues in other places with promising results.
      • by dbIII ( 701233 )
        With reference to your link to Gardner's thesis, although it is interesting a long document on parameters to monitor on large grids outside of the main interconnections is unlikely to make any sense to anyone who has not been involved with electricity transmission (as I was for part of the 1990s). What was your motivation to link the item? Is it some attempt to add some weight to your criticism of other alternative energy sources by showing off your level of understanding?
        IMHO alternative energies should
    • by NoKaOi ( 1415755 )

      Oh, but right.., it's NOOCOOLAR POWAH! It must mean a near-miss meltdown and a cover up! I'll get my potassium iodide pills and my tinfoil hat and make some popcorn.

      I sure hope it's not microwave popcorn since microwaves create radiation! Also popcorn is made from GMOs aka Monsanto Death Kernels!

  • if it leaks, it leads.
  • by thisisauniqueid ( 825395 ) on Saturday May 09, 2015 @09:45PM (#49655891)
    Hopefully not Optimus Prime. The world needs him.
    • just bumblebee. he forgot to change the oil after the breakin period
      • Now that you made me think of Transformers... Do you think Sound Wave ever gets made fun of by Decepticons for not keeping up with the times. A Lamborghini, Mac truck or F16 is still cool, but a guy who transforms into a cassette player is basically obsolete unless you still have mix tapes laying around.
        • Hopefully all is well with the nuclear power plant. I wish we'd make some new plants every 10-20 years to keep our technology up to date, have sufficient employment for STEM grads and have additional safety.
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Saturday May 09, 2015 @10:13PM (#49656019) Homepage Journal

    You need to build a better grid.

    Then again If you want to replace nukes with renewables, you need to build a better grid.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Saturday May 09, 2015 @11:18PM (#49656219)

    The guy in 7G F* up again if only I can remember his name.

    • by GloomE ( 695185 )
      Smithers: That's Homer Simpson.
      Joe Dragon: Simpson, eh? New man?
      Smithers: He thwarted your campaign for governor, you ran over his son, he saved the plant from meltdown, his wife painted you in the nude...
      Joe Dragon: Doesn't ring a bell.
  • by Fallen Kell ( 165468 ) on Saturday May 09, 2015 @11:54PM (#49656323)
    This is just crazy. Yet more anti-nuclear spin on a non-event. The unit is turned off because of loss or risk of loss of off site power. Pure and simply, nothing to see here, move along, kind of stuff. You see coal fired plants shutdown when they create too much heat, or the steam powered turbines spin too fast (which by the way can happen to just about every power plant type out there since almost all designs use them, nuclear, gas, coal, oil, high temp thermo, molten salt solar, etc). These things happen all the time. Yet, somehow everyone goes crazy when it happens at a nuclear plant.

    What gets me even more is that the slant that is put on these stories (sometimes even by /. itself). This isn't a safety problem. It is safety protocol. This is like screaming that metal detectors don't help at security checkpoints because you now see an increase in people with weapons compared to when you didn't have metal detectors, so obviously the addition of metal detectors caused that increase in people with weapons at that location...

Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell