GE has announced plans to build a new version of their BWR reactor at North Anna nuclear plant in Virginia. The North Anna reactors gained public interest in 2011 after an east coast earthquake caused damage at the plant. We outlined previously how the plant was built over a fault line in the 1970’s but the company managed to hide this information from regulators at the time. This plant also depends on an artificial lake held back by a small dam for cooling water. The dam was rated D- by the American Association of Civil Engineers.
GE sees this as a great place to build a new reactor. It didn’t stop them in Fukushima, Japan in the 1960’s. GE bragged to local media in Virginia how this plan will create “dozens of jobs”. Dominion Energy is also promoting the project claiming an unusual dependence on nuclear plants in the area of 40%. The US nuclear industry claims a 20% rate of energy being produced by nuclear power. EIA (the US agency that tracks energy usage) cites US electricity capacity from nuclear at 9% of total capacity.
The new ESBWR design from GE is another rehash of the failed BWR design used at Fukushima Daiichi and has not been built before making the reactor an experimental project. GE touts many changes to the design they think may work better than the older versions but they really don’t know, they intend to find out by building one in Virginians back yards and within contamination distance of Washington DC.
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