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Nuclear Reactor Withstands Tornado
Posted By Nicolas Loris On June 13, 2008 @ 1:29 pm In Energy | Comments Disabled
The tornadoes that blew through the Midwest yesterday damaged homes and buildings including a research nuclear reactor facility  at Kansas State University. The reactor, a TRIGA Mark II model, has been operating since 1962 , making it one of the oldest operating models of its design in America. One might think a hazardous explosion or a reactor core meltdown would occur if a tornado slammed into a 46 year old nuclear reactor, right? Wrong.
Shutting down a nuclear reaction is a relatively simple process, and K-State’s research reactor was deactivated before the storm. By simply inserting control rods that absorb the neutrons which fissure uranium fuel, the nuclear core becomes inert.
This “non-incident” at Kansas State’s reactor is another demonstration of nuclear power’s safety. If a tornado can damage the housing of a nuclear reactor and not trigger a hazardous situation, is there any reason to fear the normal operations of a nuclear power plant?
And what about other natural disasters like earthquakes? Opponents of nuclear often claim that building new plants anywhere near an earthquake fault line could be a huge risk. However, it is estimated that approximately 20% of the world’s nuclear reactors are built in areas of ‘significant seismic activity .’ Countries that have more significant seismic activity than the United States, such as Japan , have built their reactors to shut down automatically and can have them up running again in days.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2008/06/13/nuclear-reactor-withstands-tornado/
URLs in this post:
 research nuclear reactor facility: http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN1228437320080612
 has been operating since 1962: http://triga.ga.com/install_usa.pdf
 significant seismic activity: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf18.html
 Japan: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf79.html
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