Re: Energy and "the Clash of Civilizations" -- a policy thoughtproblem

From: jeff davis (
Date: Sun Sep 30 2001 - 02:06:56 MDT

--- Ken Clements <> wrote:
> jeff davis wrote:
> > 1. The designers say it will. No one is better
> > qualified to know.
> >

> No, they do not say so.

I stand corrected.

Gene Leitl had written:

> Actually, nuke plants with a containment are claimed
> to be engineered to withstand the impact of a
> crashing plane.

I based my statement on that. My mistake.

>Go read the press release
> from the NRC.
> Here is a specific Q and A from the above:
> the NRC did not specifically contemplate attacks by
> aircraft such as Boeing 757s or 767s and nuclear
> power plants were not designed to withstand such
> crashes. Detailed engineering analyses of a large
> airliner crash have not yet been performed.
Note the phrasing above: "...not designed to withstand
such crashes." He is NOT saying "...unable to
withstand such crashes." I interpret this to mean
that they did not consider the destructive forces of
such a crash and design the structure so that it would
survive them. This interpretation is supported by the
comment which follows: "Detailed engineering analyses
of a large airliner crash have not yet been

In other words, the containment building may or may
not survive such a crash, but the guy from the NRC
can't make a definitive statement without a thorough
and pointed engineering analysis.

> Jeff, did you read my post from earlier today?

Yes. I appreciated your comments about older plants
having been designed when planes were smaller, and
about the vulnerability posed by unprotected on-site
storage of high-level waste, but not about engineering
practices and the effect of fire on reinforced
concrete. Also, I find the liklihood of two impacts
on one nuke plant highly improbable after the events
of 9/11. Perhaps you were suggesting what might have
been possible before 9/11.
<snip some stuff>

> I predict the plane
> would go right
> through and give you a nice fuel-air explosion
> inside the containment.
> -Ken

I predict a splash around, a large but inconsequential
fire, and--worse case scenario--a cracked, maybe even
dented, containment building, the concrete held in
place by the reinforcing, with some medium-sized
chunks of concrete spalled off of the inside surface.

Even if I were an expert--which I am not--without that
detailed engineering analysis, this would still be a

Best, Jeff Davis

    "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
                       Ray Charles

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