The eRumor includes a photo alleged to be from a space satellite on the date of the historic North American blackout of 2003. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, there are 61 active commercial nuclear plants spread across the United States. Probably the best place to start is with a basic discussion of how a nuclear power plant operates.
The nuclear reaction itself is beyond the scope of this brief write up (and my expertise), but the gist is that an energetic neutron is absorbed by a uranium-235 nucleus, briefly turning it into a uranium-236 nucleus.
Trivia bit: A nuclear fuel pellet is about the size of a pencil eraser but equivalent in energy to one ton of coal. Should overheating occur, the fuel rods’ zirconium cladding and nuclear materials could both melt, resulting in a nuclear sludge akin to molten lava. The good news is that nuclear fission can be stopped in under one second through the insertion of control rods. Nuclear plants obviously require electricity to operate their cooling pumps, not to mention their control systems.
There are also a couple of additional emergency systems that can be used specifically to cool the reactor.
And finally, in the worst case, most plants have a method of bringing in river or ocean water to flood the reactor. With backup systems to the backup systems, it would seem that there’s nothing to worry about, right?
Once the reactor was cooled down, a much smaller system, known as the Residual Heat Removal System, would be all that was required to keep the fuel assemblies cool, both in the reactor and the spent fuel rods pool.
Even with the reactor having been successfully cooled, the biggest risk would continue to be overheating of the fuel rod assemblies, both in the reactor and the spent fuel rods pool. The bottom line is that in the event of a long-duration blackout, several things would need to occur for a nuclear meltdown.
First, fission would need to be halted by the insertion of control rods, a process that takes less than one second. The point of this article wasn’t to convince anyone that nuclear power generation is safe or that a nuclear meltdown could never happen.
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The Survival Mom has regular posters, but sometimes people only have one or two really great ideas, so what to do?
In a Carrington Event, what is the likelihood that plant operators will continue to report to work? What percentage of US nuclear power plants have actually spent the money to dry cask their older fuel rods?
I believe I understand your thoughts, but electrical power production can be a difficult task on several levels. Unfortunately, I don’t hear anyone at the NRC or the plants addressing these issues (though I certainly hope they are!). With 61 commercial plants (and more military and experimental plants), where is the manpower, equipment and supplies going to come from when everyone – from farmer to President – has much greater concerns?
Getting a handle on all nuclear reactors and maintaining control would require a massive mobilization effort of the federal government. Family Blackout Survival KitA 4 person survival kit designed to keep a family safe during an emergency blackout situation. While creating a home fortification inventory, both man-made and natural disasters should be taken into consideration. Regardless of the natural disasters prone to your specific region, everyone should strive to secure their home against any civil unrest which could occur after a major disaster. Pingback: Do This One Thing Every Morning to Boost Your Energy, Improve Digestion and Lose Weight. Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem?Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet. Yes, it's just a movie (though portrayed as "reality" rather than Hollywood-ized), but we are all aware of times when the power has been out for an extended period of time.
Traffic lights won't work snarling traffic everywhere (if vehicles work at all if it's an EMP). Whether the power is out because of a cyber attack, an EMP, or a huge winter storm, your way of living will be completely altered.
An unknown group a€“ well coordinated, well armed, and well informed a€“ launched a major attack on the power grid. The attackers then fired more than 100 rounds into the power station, putting 17 transformers out of commission.
An ongoing cyber-espionage campaign against a range of targets, mainly in the energy sector, gave attackers the ability to mount sabotage operations against their victims.
Among the targets of Dragonfly were energy grid operators, major electricity generation firms, petroleum pipeline operators, and energy industry industrial equipment providers. A lightning storm, an earthquake, tornado, hurricane or other natural disaster can put the whole neighborhood or an entire city in the dark. Our government knows that the power grid is dangerously fragile with few transformers (made in China) for replacements. If the power is out for less than two hours, then the food in your refrigerator and freezer will be safe to consume. For the Freezer section: A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours.
For the Refrigerated section: Pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoilable leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of your food right before you cook or eat it. It's always a good idea to have some canned or freeze dried food on hand during a power outage, in case you have spoiled food or to keep from opening the refrigerator or freezer too often.

It's only logical to consider emergency heating in your survival plan as many disasters involve weather that may knock out your electricity and that means, your furnace.
It could be a real challenge to stay warm when the furnace hasn't worked for days due to winter storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, etc.
One night in the dark can be kind of fun - an adventure, but several nights, or longer, can be very difficult unless you are prepared.
How have you prepared for survival cooking so that your family will have a hot meal if there is no electricity?
During World War II, the army discovered that men fighting in the bitter cold would do well if they had one hot meal a day.
At Family Survival Planning our mission is to provide the knowledge and skills to help our families prepare to survive for whatever may come.
Posts may contain affiliate links, which allow me to earn a commission to support this site at no extra cost to you. A 20 person, 72 hour survival kit designed for a medium sized office by emergency preparedness experts to contain the most effective and reliable survival food, water, lighting, radio, communication, first aid, sanitation, and shelter supplies to prepare for all disasters. A question on the minds of many is, what would happen to those plants if the nation experienced a widespread, long-term blackout? Those control rods are automatically inserted near the fuel rods either by a hydraulic system or through the use of an electromagnetic dead man switch that activates when power is removed.
Even without fission, the fuel rod assemblies remain incredibly hot, perhaps a thousand degrees C. Nuclear fuel rod assemblies have a usable life on the order of 54-72 months (depending on reactor type).
Instead, they are carefully stored in giant pools of water laced with boric acid—imagine a swimming pool at your local YMCA that is 75-feet deep.
These include the turbine-driven-auxiliary-feedwater pump, which uses steam generated by the reactor to power a cooling turbine.
This typically damages the cooling system, but again, it helps to cool and cover the reactor core should all else fail. It depends on the plant, but at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, for example, there is enough fuel to run the emergency diesel generators for at least 42 days.
The generators and onsite fuel supply could power that smaller cooling system for significantly longer than if they were powering the larger reactor cooling system. Without circulation, the heat from the fuel rod assemblies could boil the surrounding water, resulting in steam.
The steam might well carry radioactive contaminants into the air, but there would be no release of hydrogen and, thus, no subsequent explosions. Next, the reactor would need to be cooled for at least three days using the large diesel engines to provide electrical power. If it was not maintained, radioactive contamination could be released into the air, but the temperatures of the fuel rods would not be high enough to cause a complete meltdown or the dangerous release of hydrogen.
Our writers and contributors have families, homes, and jobs they want to protect, just like everyone else. Unfortunately, all of these backup systems, and more, were available at Fukushima and it still melted at least three cores. No matter how much power you have available, it has to get to the necessary systems to operate. Even on home generation power, solar as an example, once you generate DC power and convert it to AC power, the AC power must have someplace to go. However, as pointed out by other commenters, there are still questions regarding operations when there is no electricity.
Malfunctions happen on equipment in normal times, and will be exacerbated in extreme situations. When their reaction times are measured in days to weeks in normal times for an event limited to a relatively small region, I think it borders on the miraculous to think they’ll be able to react to and manage the multiple crises that will be at all nuclear reactors in the country, in addition to everything else requiring management and resources. Without long-term electricity providing power to keep the rods cool, the *best-case* scenario we’re looking at is a release of radioactive particles into the environment. The gear in this kit are designed and chosen by experts in the field of emergency preparedness. If you have very deep pockets, building a fortress is feasible, but for most of us, budget-minded tasks will have to do.
Where you live will play a significant role in what types of improvements need to be made to the home, barn and storage buildings present on the property.
Panicked and desperate individuals seeking food, water, shelter and weapons could likely see your home as a safe haven. The attackers, known to Symantec as Dragonfly, managed to compromise a number of strategically important organizations for spying purposes and, if they had used the sabotage capabilities open to them, could have caused damage or disruption to energy supplies in affected countries. The majority of the victims were located in the United States, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, and Poland.
Preparing for a long-term grid down scenario is the most difficult challenge we can undertake. Our goal is to be a meeting place for anyone that has an interest in or questions regarding survival and preparation. Includes a Solar Hand Crank Powered Flashlight, Weather Band Radio, and USB Device Charger that never needs batteries.
To find answers, I consulted Jim Hopson, the Manager of Public Relations at the Tennessee Valley Authority. For purposes of our discussion, the differences in their operation aren’t terribly important. The physical system inside the reactor consists of tens of thousands of nuclear fuel rods placed into a water bath. That would only occur if the fission process became uncontrolled or if the cooling system failed.
Eventually, it would cool enough to harden, but not before it had spewed nuclear contaminants into the air.

That means that when the electrical grid goes down or an emergency shutdown is initiated, fission would automatically stop one second later. If they were not actively cooled, pressure and temperatures would build in the reactor until something breaks—not good. Those spent fuel rod assemblies are still incredibly radioactive, and they continue to generate heat. Unlike in other countries, permission from the federal government is not required to flood the reactor. However, one could imagine a scenario in which the grid was lost and the diesel generators ran out of fuel. Even if we assumed a worst case of 42 days, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which that would not be enough time to bring in additional fuel either by land, water, or air. The situation would certainly be dangerous to surrounding communities, but it wouldn’t be the nuclear Armageddon that many people worry about. After that, the fuel rods would be cool enough that the reactor could be opened, and the plant’s Residual Heat Removal System could be used to provide cooling. Sometimes they want to write a post that contains information that could endanger one of those three, or upset someone they know in real life, so they post as Anonymous. At Fukushima, some busses were damaged, and the control system, which operated off of a different power service, failed. And, as we have seen from TMI and Fukushima, among others, failures happen, backups don’t work, and people die. Those living downwind wouldn’t even know they were being contaminated (remember, there is no communication after EMP). The Guardian Family Blackout Kit follows the guidelines recommended by government agencies and non-profit organizations.
Evaluating a home’s strengths and weaknesses is the first and most important step to creating the most secure structure your bank account allows.
But we don't really know when or if they will be strong enough to cause disruptions in our communications. It could, if it was an EMP, take us back to almost the stone age, or at least back to the time before electricity. If the frozen food has completely thawed but is cold, it must be cooked within a 24-hour period; or foods may be refrozen within 24 hours after thawing. We strive to maintain truthful and unbiased knowledge, both in original content, product reviews and survival tips, as well as curated articles from other top survival websites.
Charges smartphones and other USB devices so you can stay in touch with family in the event of a disaster. Let me start by saying that there is a quite a bit of misinformation on the web about this subject, so my advice is to be careful about what you choose to believe. The rods are essentially long metal tubes filled with ceramic nuclear pellets that are bundled together into larger assemblies.
Melting zirconium also releases hydrogen, which could lead to an explosion that might actually expel the nuclear material into the surrounding area—think Fukushima. After three days of active cooling, however, the reactor would be thermally cool enough to open, should it be deemed necessary to remove the fuel rod assemblies. After that, the rods are cool enough to be removed and stored in reinforced concrete casks.
This system, however, is meant only for emergency cooling of the reactor during those critical first few days when the fuel rod assemblies are being brought down in temperature, not for long-term cooling. Once exposed to air, their temperatures would rise but not to the levels that would melt the zirconium cladding.
That smaller system would need operate for 5-7 years to ensure that the fuel rod assemblies, both in the reactor and in the spent fuel rods pool, didn’t overheat. Specifically, it focused on the safeguards that are currently in place, and more importantly, discussed the magnitude of the catastrophe that might result if we allowed those safeguards to fail.
I still have some problems understanding this, but my wind generator can not produce power unless the inverters detect a path for the electric power to travel. Yet, in a long-term scenario, such as would exist in an EMP situation, or even a CME event, what then? Hopson’s interest to assure me that nuclear plants are safe, but to be fair, I found him to be forthright about the industry’s safeguards and vulnerabilities. Even then, the rods continue to be radioactive, but their heat output can be passively managed. The short answer is that large on-site diesel generators automatically activate to provide electricity. Only then could the fuel rod assemblies be moved to concrete casks for dry storage and final dispositioning. For example, how many operators would choose to stay at the facility, instead of go home and take care of their family? The steam is later condensed and returned in a closed-loop process within the reactor system. And if those should fail, portable diesel generators, which are also on-site, can be connected.
And the US nuclear industry has a horrible maintenance record, especially for backup and emergency systems. How would plant operators communicate their dire need for equipment and supplies when the entire communication infrastructure is off-line?
Recent standardization has also ensured that generators can be swapped between plants without the need to retrofit connectors.

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