Samstag, 8. Juni 2013

Cattenom or how I learned to live with the one of the most defectuous Nuclear Plants in the Western Hemisphere and stopped worrying?


Transformer Explosion Cattenom Unit1 7th June 2013

Yes, you can say that my focus has always been towards Chernobyl, Mayak and to Fukushima, I researched there, attended seminars, held trainings, blew whistles... But all theses disasters made me blind to see the one just outside my window. As for several years now, I traveled to different hot spots, helped different anti-nuclear movements across Europe, but really failing sometimes to take  a glance outside my bedroom window, from where I can always see the cooling clouds of Cattenom,  Luxembourg's capital city is just 25km outside this mega nuclear power plant.

Cattenom is the 8th biggest Nuclear power plant in the world, one of the biggest in Europe. The flagship of the French nuclear parc. Also it has another very scary record. It is the commercial plant with the most known incidents in the last year. In 2012, 47 incidents were reported to the French Government Atomic Security Agency (ASN). In February 2013, 2 workers died in a horrific work accident while renovating the ceiling of the containment. The sheer number of incidents made the ASN perform a new survey and special visit to Cattenom from June 4th to June 6th to review the plant. Next to lack of basic radio-protective material such as A-suits and that defects are fixed or identified too late out of economic reasons, the ASN report concludes: "An in-depth analysis shows that major incidents - even if they are not relevant for the functioning of the system - go back to an insufficient accuracy in the preparation or an inadequate coordination. Such inaccuracies, some with technical incidents that were not predictable in 2012 have led to the regular examinations had to be extended considerably. " The 2006 founded "independent" state body ASN is not known for uttering such clear messages and in the case of Cattenom it seems that they were very preoccupied about the general situation.

Only published days later but on June 5, traces of boron were found in the cooling system of the reactor which left engineers baffled as they are still trying to figure out where these traces come from. Normally boron is not used during the reaction but is mostly used to break up a dangerous chain reaction. Are the exploiting EDF (Electricitiy of France) again covering up something?


One day (!) after their special survey on 7th of June, around 13:30, the transformer of unit 1 caught fire and exploded quickly after that. The shock wave and bang was heard in a radius of approximately 15km. Scared local residents called the emergency services as black smoke came pouring out unit 1. It is believed that 50 vehicles and a 100 firefighters rushed to the scene, to deal with the dangerous and difficult task to extinct a transformer-fire. Shortly after the moment of the explosion, Unit-1 went into automatic shut down. As far as I was told from the State radio-protection, emergency-power units did not have to be started as the reactor was still being alimented by another transformer. Nevertheless this shows that one of the main lifelines, the main transformer and generator were comprehended. Generally it is the failure of several of those systems or circumstances that lead to a disaster as f.i. construction design, human error in Chernobyl or poor use, human error and multiple electric failure in Fukushima. The fire was thought to be extinct by 16:30. Unit 1 will be down until further notice, the reactor is in shut down and is being cooled at the moment. 

On June 11th, the Cattenom power station simply uttered a small press release to the National Homefront and Radioprotection to announce that yet another auxiliary transformer, the emergency generator of Unit 3 was broken and not operational until further notice. Experts could not yet determine the source of the failure.

This incident from friday has revealed once more, that even after extensive stress test, national safety reviews, and numerous warning, and whistle blowers, a power plant can grow out of control within a very short time. Cattenom, which was built as the most modern, safest and powerful of all French plants, is the best example of it. And to tell you the truth, you kind of expect it to happen. The safety record is Cattenom is so so poor that you just wait for the worst. A higher dose of tritium in the cooling river, soil contamination, technical failures, you are used to hear only those kind of news from Cattenom. And at one point you live with it. Still you protest, you work against it, but somewhat also accept the faith that there is a high chance that things will go very wrong at a moment. Nevertheless, when I saw the black smoke, at the time of Friday's explosion I was about 12clicks outside of Cattenom, I got scared, and suddenly all the people you ever talked to in the exclusion zone, all the moved people from contaminated areas, everything comes together and makes sense, and as sometimes rather reluctant and sane person you start to accept and live with it.

Sign a petition against Cattenom on Avaaz:
http://www.avaaz.org/de/petition/AKW_Cattenom_abschalten_Kein_Fukushima_2_im_Herzen_Europas/?pv=12

Further Reading: (Selection of Press Releases from the Station, press articles, etc):
http://www.cattenom-non-merci.de/


Video of the fire:

Kommentare:

  1. thanks Phil, touchy and informative! don't stop fighting !!!

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  2. muy bien! besos de Espana!
    -Lu

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  3. Thats just how I feel, living in Luxemburg with this permanent thread, And all the the voices of protest are still unheard, especially by the french Government. It makes me feel so angry.

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    1. http://www.avaaz.org/de/petition/AKW_Cattenom_abschalten_Kein_Fukushima_2_im_Herzen_Europas/?fUTAobb&pv=12

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  4. That's true dear anonymous,
    and we'll never stop fighting count on that! Next stop, French Embassy and Elysée will report back soon!
    Stay tuned, keep up the good fight!
    Phil.

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  5. Merci fir déi interessant Opaarbëcht! weider sou

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  6. http://www.theage.com.au/comment/japans-radiation-disaster-toll-none-dead-none-sick-20130604-2nomz.html

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    1. Well with 1/3 of the kids in Fukushima prefecture at risk of cancer, over 2 dozens already developped it, 400 liquidators that are unaccounted for (Tepco is just claiming they dissappeared) pictures of chemical burns on Firefighters, media blackout and omerta by the Japanese Health ministry, yes I think we're fine! we can just forget about Fukushima...

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  7. sad, isn't it?

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    1. absolut. Ech sin frou dass och Juso'en en strammen Communiqué geschriwwen hun, leider ass na emmer Business as usual, mee en traffobrand ass wieklech d achillesfers vun engem Atommeiler... weider kämpfen, mobiliséieren, drock man!

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  8. I hope that they will think clearly and chose the right descision . We people living in luxembourg will lose our home , where to go? all of us ..

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  9. That's true. an accident of the scale of Chernobyl or little less would be the end of Luxembourg as we know it. The Lux. Government also spoke during their bilateral talks on Cattenom a first time in April with the French Government about the exodus problem in case of.
    To be noted: If the cooling basins in Fukushima burst it would also mean the end of Japan as we know it today. I guess that 500 000 people could be evacuated, chaotically, dramatically, but not a megapolis like Tokyo-Bay with over 30million people living there,

    regards,

    Phil.

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  10. Kennen Sie schon mein Buch "Cattenom - Das Ende einer Laufzeit"?
    http://www.musenblaetter.de/artikel.php?aid=11466&neu=1
    Grüne Grüße
    Werner Geismar

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    1. Es ist mittlerweile bei Amazon bestellt :) danke für den Tip Werner :) alles Gute!

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  11. What is wrong with Cattenom ? Nothing worth the mention. It works since a long time with no major problem.
    In every human plan there is a risk. Nuclear plans are build with extrem accuracy and the technology is giving
    low cost energy to millions of us without major impact on earth. The people of your kind are living in a continious
    fight against manhood. You are born loosers. Our earth has been living with less than 1 billion at the beggining
    of 19th century and welcomes now 6 billions of human beings. This is the challenge. Luckily, there are people
    on this world that are working hard to make this possible, like engineers, planners, architects, and others who
    are complaining and prophetise the end of the earth and manhood because man is bad. You guys are completely wrong.
    Sometimes you make me sick because of your green irresponsible lobby that brainwashes and lies continiously...

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    1. Dear anonymous,

      You're using a very famous sentence by french President Mittérand when he visited Luxembourg "Is there a problem in Cattenom" - And the answer is yes there is!

      I'm not sure who's brainwashed: Let me help you out,
      Before using your offensive prejudice-based speeches about greens being anti-science and anti-progress for which I would like to remind you that Greens have most electoral success within the social classes of high eduction alumnis and academics, precisely because they cherish and finance science and reaseach and (higher education) much more than other parties, It's a a priortiy for Greens.
      so yes let me debunk some of your arguments:

      Nuclear Energy is not cheap. For approximately 8% of the World's power taxpayers are spending billions of Euros to get there.
      http://www.ps.boell.org/downloads/h.b_book_a4_schneider_e.pdf
      http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/nuclear-reaction/nuclear-talk-is-cheap-nuclear-power-is-not/blog/44362/

      No Impact on Earth? I'm sorry but have you ever heard about Chernobyl? If you'd use a real name I'd love to invite you to my next trip at my expenses to visit the exclusion zone and visit children orphanages.. I propose for you to read New York Academy's of science "Chernobyl Consequences" by Yablokov and Nesterenko. You can see I'm absolutely anti-science... not!

      We can talk also about population but do you have any idea how many Nuclear Energy is actually produced in the world and what are the monetary, social, and ecological costs of that... ?

      I don't mind your offensive language I just demand a little academical honesty to get your facts rights,

      Yours sincerely,

      Phil.

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  12. Its been about 2 years since Ive been on the last demonstration at Cattonom and 2 things really shocked me, the first thing was that there were barley any french people there, the large majority was germans or luxemburgish, the french really seem not to care, the rethinking process hasent even started, to me it seems like the germans are lightyears ahead of the french when it comes to energy policy, its about time for some serious change, I mean it is in there own interest and I m not even talking about environmental issues. The second thing that struck me was that this place looks like an old soviet power plant, it looks poorly maintaned and completly run down, I suggest everybody living in this area should take a closer look at this monster to get an idea what we are up against.
    All the best to everybody and keep up the good work.

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    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Visiting Cattenom for the first time is indeed scary. You imagine a high security tract, a bit of Hollywood flair but instead you have a poorly maintained area, looking worn down, tired, old and not safe at all. This is how I felt ever since going there.

      There are a lot of French activists, just not so visible than in Germany and Luxembourg where nuclear energy is clearly seen by politics and media as a civilisatory obstacle that needs to be overcome.

      I'm happy that you are standing on the right side of history! I wish you all the best and hope to see you in front of Cattenom soon at a demonstration!

      Keep it up!
      Cheers,

      Phil.

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  13. Very interesting discussions here! Thanks a lot. For slightly different but complementary views please take a look here: http://wp.me/p3yx1u-6f.

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