IF THE Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) had been in operation, and an earthquake followed by a tsunami similar to what happened in Japan last week had occurred, would it have gone the way of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP)? The answer is an unambiguous no, according to former Rep. Mark Cojuangco of Pangasinan, who is leading the move to study the feasibility of reactivating the BNPP. And he is credible, because he has no financial interest in any activity related to the issue, his main concern being how to make the country more competitive by lowering its energy costs, not to mention reduce its pollution. Moreover, he has done a lot of homework on the subject. Why the no? Well, says Cojuangco, for one thing, the BNPP is built on a hilltop, 18 meters above sea level, so no tsunami could have touched it. Is this a big deal? Yes, because the FNPP problems were caused by the tsunami that followed the earthquake. For another, if the FNPP did not crumble because of the earthquake, much less would the BNPP. Why? Because the BNPP was designed to withstand a seismic load (definition: the force on a structure caused by acceleration induced on its mass by an earthquake) of 0.4g, while the FNPP was designed to a seismic load of only 0.18g. Cojuangco also points out that the FNPP did not crumble despite the fact that the earthquake was stronger than its design basis, because apparently nuclear plants are built conservatively with “overkill ‘safety factors’.” For kickers, Cojuangco mentions that while the FNPP is a BWR (Boiling Water Reactor) with only one cooling circuit, the BNPP is a PWR with two separate and distinct cooling circuits. The additional isolation apparently makes for “more forgiving of extreme situations” although the tradeoff is a reduction in efficiency (4 percent). Cojuangco’s views are a welcome relief from the rush to judgment that has apparently gripped any number of people, led and fed of course by the so-called “anti-nukes.” But that does not excuse the inaccuracies being bruited about to bolster the anti-nuke position. Thankfully, Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo and Sen. Miriam Santiago refuse to be stampeded. 

Winnie Monsod: BNPP sturdier than Fukushima plant


~ by Es on 21 March, 2011.

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