Associated Press in Atlanta released the news that Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is in favor of allowing Southern Company, (and its partners) to build additions to the nuclear power plant near Augusta.
Governor Deal wrote a letter to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission prior to the meeting planned for September 27th where the commissioners in Atlanta will discuss whether or not to approve and go ahead with the additions to the nuclear plant . If approved, the relative cost would be $14 billion dollars.
Could an earthquake in Georgia affect Plant Vogtle? Could there be a melt down at the Vogtle plant like there was in Chernobyl in 1986?
Is this a good idea when Georgia has the potential for an earthquake? Could even the small earthquakes felt in Georgia damage a nuclear reactor like the one in Japan? While earthquakes are not as frequent (and have not been as dangerous as those on the West Coast), could Georgia have a larger one in the future?
Emergency Manager’s Guide to Earthquakes in Georgia
“When earthquakes are discussed, Georgia is not the first state to be mentioned. Earthquakes in Georgia are rare, particularly when they are compared to the long history of damaging earthquakes which are associated with California’s active San Andrea fault zone and other fault zones bounding the tectonic plates of the Earth’s crust.
Movement of the Earth’s crust along these plate boundaries explains most earthquakes. Georgia, like all the other states east of the Rocky Mountains, does not have active faults, and is not on a tectonic plate boundary. However, damaging earthquakes do occur in the interior of tectonic plates and these intraplate earthquakes can be an important consideration for emergency managers.
Earthquakes are less frequent in the eastern United States than in California. Consequently, fewer small earthquakes occur to remind us of the potential for damage from the less frequent great earthquakes. Never the less the historical record of earthquakes in Georgia makes it clear that earthquakes and their associated seismic hazards exist.” http://quake.eas.gatech.edu/EMguide/EMguide.htm
For a history of earthquakes in Georgia see:
“Southern Company is a public utility holding company of primarily electric utilities in the southern United States. It is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with executive offices also located in Birmingham, Alabama. The company is currently the 16th largest utility company in the world and the fourth largest in the U.S.” Wikipedia
Southern Company wants to move full speed ahead as soon as approval from US Regulatory Commission gives the go ahead. . http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-27/southern-wants-to-speed-reactor-building-after-nrc-approval-2-.html?cmpid=yhoo
President Obama has offered support in the form of loans. Nuclear plants are touted as “green” in that they are supposed to save other energy sources. But… will they endanger lives and property in case of an earthquake or other disaster such as a terrorist attack? These are real concerns of the citizens of Georgia.
Is this a good time for Georgia to take on such debt with our weak economy? What would a disaster cost Georgia in lives and revenue?
If approved, the expansion at Plant Vogtle would represent the first groundbreaking on a nuclear plant in a generation. The Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, also known as Plant Vogtle, is a 2-unit nuclear power plant located in Burke County, near Augusta and Waynesboro, Georgia.
However, there is an old adage, “Not in my back yard,” which applies heavily to such a nuclear plant. With the recent earthquake in Japan damaging their nuclear plants – the people of Georgia are skeptical of building additional plants here in Georgia.
While citizens understand the increased demand for power to run their many appliances, they still fear the health and well-being of their family.
One suggestion or question is, “Why don’t they build these plants in areas where there are less dense populations rather than where millions of people reside?” While radiation has been harnessed for the betterment of mankind, could it also be the worst thing that could happen if there should be a time when the plant would turn into something like Chernobyl.
For information on the Southern Company check: http://www.southerncompany.com/ Wikipedia account:
However, earthquakes are not the only hazard in operating these nuclear plants.
On April 26, 1986, the operating crew planned to test whether the Reactor No. 4 turbines could produce enough energy to keep the coolant pumps running until the emergency diesel generator was activated in case of an external power loss. During the test, power surged unexpectedly, causing an explosion and driving temperatures in the reactor to more than 2,000 degrees Celsius—melting the fuel rods, igniting the reactor’s graphite covering, and releasing a cloud of radiation into the atmosphere.
The precise causes of the accident are still uncertain, but it is generally believed that the series of incidents that led to the explosion, fire and nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl was caused by a combination of reactor design flaws and operator error.
The Belarus National Academy of Sciences estimates 270,000 people in the region around the accident site will develop cancer as a result of Chernobyl radiation and that 93,000 of those cases are likely to be fatal. http://environment.about.com/od/chernobyl/p/chernobyl.htm
How do you feel about having additional nuclear plants in your backyard?