BATAAN NUCLEAR POWER PLANT
Posted on March 23rd By Roberto A. Lozada, MIEAust, NZIME,PME
Roberto A. Lozada a Graduate of Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the Mapua Institue of Technology in !971. a Professional Mechanical Engineer, a Registered Safety Practitioner, Member of The Institution of Engineers, Australia and the New Zealand Institute of Mechanical Engineers. Trained in Japan on Boilers, Heat Exchangers, Steam Turbines , instrumentation , Productive Maintenance and Energy Conservation. Did the Energy Development Project in the Kingdom of Tonga South Pacific.
Designed, Installed, test and commissioned and training of power plant personnel in all the Power Plant in JG Summit Group. Presently, The Engineering Director of Robinsons Land Corporation, member of the Energy Enterprise Management Group of JG Summit and the Corporate Pollution Head also of the JG Summit Group of Companies.,
The Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers was invited by PNRI on their visit to the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant last March 5, 2011 to give our technical opinion on the technical integrity of the plant.
The following engineers from the Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers and myself were present..
a. Engr. Lemicio Roxas Immediate Past national President of PSME.
b. Engr. Edimar Salcedo PSME National President year 2006.
c. Engr. Julius Villanueva – PSME National Secretary 2010
d. Engr. Teddy Arnaiz -PSME National Vice President -Visayas 2011
Based on our Technical visit at the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant , we firmly believed that the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is safe to operate. ( Minor renovations to be done ).
Aside from being safe ( after minor revisions ) , The Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers support the operation for the following reasons:
1. The 620Mw Bataan Nuclear Power Plant if operated can save 3,900,000 liters of Bunker fuel per day. Carbon emission that cause global warming is also greatly reduced..
2. The cost of electricity generated by the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is only about P2.20 per kwhr. This will greatly reduced our energy bills thus inviting more investors to invest in our beloved country.
3. We need additional power by 2014. If this is not operated, our beloved country will be experiencing again series of blackouts..
DDuring the visit, main MAJOR items that we noticed are the following:
a. Main Distribution Transformer- The main 620MW transformer was not there.. Only the transformer pedestal and foundation can be seen. According to NPC this was sold as scrap because it was leaking.
b. Emergency Stand by Generators- The two units 10,000KW emergency stand by generators were also not there. According to NPC, they were sent to the Visayas .
c. Fuel Rods - The Fuel Rods for the Reactor was also not there. According to NPC it was sold by Philippine Government sometime in 1989..
MINOR Items noticed.
a. Control Rods - The control rods were still there.
b. Other auxiliaries and accessories of the power plant. Other auxiliaries and accessories inside the power plant like the Reactor, coolant pump, heat exchanger, condensers and the steam turbines and generators look well maintained. According to NPC they have to manually rotate the rotating equipments (Coolant pump, condenser pumps, generator and turbines and etc.) to prevent shaft deformation.
c. De-mineralizer - The de-mineralizer (Use for make up water for the steam boiler to prevent scale) was still there but the resins inside the de-mineralizer were removed. According to NPC it was already depleted.
d. Electrical Control Panel and electrical wiring- The electrical control panels for the electric motors and the cable racks were properly maintained.
e. Plant Control Room -The control room is properly maintained.. The instruments are obsolete and in case there is rehabilitation… all instruments must be replaced..
f. Cooling Towers - The cooling towers were installed separate from the main building. This is a permanent type of cooling tower it is made of concrete structures and this does not need more maintenance.
The plant is properly maintained by the engineers assigned in the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.
The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is very safe based on our technical assessment.. Here are some safety features in the plant that we noticed.
1. Major plant accessories ( Coolant pumps, condenser pumps and etc) were upgraded. In the usual plant design say the coolant pumps of the reactor, we usually install 2 coolant pumps.. One operational, the other act as spare or stand by unit. Here in Bataan Nuclear Power Plant they have 3 units…Only one will be operating and the 2 are on stand by.. Reliability is high.
2. Power supply for the Major accessory equipment. The power supply is coming from two independent circuit. If one is defective they can easily transfer to another power supply.
3. The main reactor core structure is completely separated from the main building by an 8 inches seismic gap. In case of an earthquake the movement in main power house building will not affect the structure of the main reactor core.
4. The reactor containment or the Biological containment is about 1 meter thick of Class A concrete. Radiation leaks if there is any cannot pass thru to this structure….
Note: Fuel rods for Nuclear power plant has only 3 % of Radioactive Uranium 235 versus 90% Uranium 235 in Nuclear Bombs
5. There is a room Inside the reactor containment for spent fuel rods. In case the fuel rods are used up ( Uranium 235 purity is only 1%. ). Fuel rods are pepaced and the spent fuel rods are stored here to cool it down and decay. Once the radioactivity of the stored spent fuel are gone spent fuels are ship to US or Europe for reprocessing. There is no nuclear waste in Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.
6. The Boiler for Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is designed to operate on Saturated steam. Our present NPC Coal and gas thermal plants are more dangerous since they are subject to leaks and explosion because they are using High pressure Superheated steam.
Questions raised from the visitors about the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.
1. Is the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant dangerous to public health?
No. The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is simply a Thermal Plant, the heat is supplied by the nuclear reactor…We have a nuclear reactor installed in PNRI , Diliman, Quezon City. It has been there for about 50 years and no reported accident/death caused by radioactive radiation.
2. What about the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Ukraine in 1986. Will this also happen in the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant?.
The Chernobyl accident was caused by the problematic reactor RBMK design. Design use only by the Soviet Union. For Example lack of Robust containment building. Also inadequate training of plant personnel.
This will never happen in BNPP because the main reactor core is properly designed and BNPP will be operated by well trained PSME P-noy engineers.
The Main Reactor is contained in a Robust 1 meter thick concrete biological containment and is completely separated from the main building by an 8 inches seismic gap. In case of an earthquake the movement in the main power house building will not affect the structure of the main reactor core.
3. The worst American accident was at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant in Pennsylvania in 1979.. Will this happen also to the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.
It was caused by the malfunctioning of the Reactor Coolant Pump. Because of this accident , the Former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos ordered for the review on the safety aspects of the plant. In three mile Island, there were two reactor coolant pumps. One operating and one spare unit. Because of the accident, the designer of BNPP installed additional pumps.. There are now threen coolant pumps two act as spares. units.. For this reason, reliability was greatly increase.
Note: Because of increase in redundancy , the budget was increased. This is the main reason why the BNPP was expensive.. It is expensive because of added safety measures.
4. According to Media the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is near a fault line. What will happen to BNPP in case there is a earthquake of Magnitude 8.
There is already built in BNPP a feature passive safety system, which automatically shut the plant down in case there is a massive earthquake.. In 2007 a Nuclear Power Plant in Japan ( Kasiwasaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant ) was automatically stop following the Niigata-Chuetsu-Oki earthquake.
5. How about the Nuclear waste. What should we do ?
There is no such thing as “ Nuclear waste “ . This is the term used by anti- nuclear ideologues to frighten the public. The spent fuel created in the BNPP is stored inside the reactor containment for spent fuel rods. It is store here to cool down and decay. Once the radioactivity of the spent fuels are gone, the spent fuels are pack and sent for reprocessing. There is no nuclear waste in Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.
6. How about converting the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant to Coal , bunker fuel or Natural Gas.
It can be done but its very impractical solution for the following reasons:
- If it is converted to Bunker fuel.. You need a huge fuel storage and there is a danger of fire and explosion.. The Bataan 620 Mw power plant needs about 4,000,000 liters of bunker fuel per day if converted to fossil fuel.
- If converted to coal.. you need 201 tons of coal per hour or 5,000 tons of coal per day… This requires huge fuel storage area.. Pollution is a problem . Plant surrounding will be polluted with coal ash and dust…
7. Is there a pollution in Bataan Nuclear Power Plant?
No. There is no air and water pollution emitted in Nuclear Power Plant .
8. We heard that it will cost 2 billion Dollars to re-habilitate the BNPP.. Is this true.. ?
No Comment….But If we were to recommend.. This is what we must do to minimize the rehabilitation cost.
a. Items to be ordered…Main 620MVA Oil Immersed Transformer, 2 units 10,000 kva stand by diesel generator sets. Fuel rods to be ordered later. Bidding must be transparent.. Highly recommend that Ms. Hydee Mendoza to head the bidding committee. ”Kung walang corrupt walang mahirap ”
b. Main components of the BNPP are the Reactor, Steam Generator , steam turbines and the Electric generator.
We hire Korean consultants ( Those that are now operating/maintaining the similar 620 Mw Plant in Korea ) for the Reactor only.. For the Boiler Turbines and generator let PSME P Noy engineers handle this.. They are experts better than foreigners.
All Instruments must be upgraded.. Upgrading be done by P Noy engineers.. we have experts on this field.
Start the training of PSME P Noy engineers that will operate the BNPP plant to the similar plant now operating in Korea..
Hire Korean engineers to do the start up and commissioning.. Then the start up must be together with our trained PSME P Noy engineers.
9. The protection for earthquake of a nuclear power plant is only to automatically shut off. How about the structure of the nuclear reactor? Is it design to stand beyond magnitude 8?
The main reactor core structure is completely separated from the main building by a seismic gap. The structure were all design under Zone 4 category. The base area of the core is minimal, therefore the effect of an earthquake to the core is not so great.
10. Who will operate the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant ?
Of course PSME P Noy Engineers. Operating a Nuclear plant is easy for our engineers for the following reasons:
a. Control of Heat.. In BNPP you have to adjust only the control rod.
More heat needed.. pull the control rod down. Less heat needed or to stop the heat, raise control rod up.
In coal fired power plant, the control is more complicated..If you need more heat you have to adjust the amount of coal and the amout of air..P Noy engineers now operating coal thermal power plants are expert on this…
b. The Steam use in BNPP is only Saturated Steam… Our Engineers are operating power plants with High Pressure Superheated steam.
c. There are less equiptments in BNPP. In BNPP you have only the fuel, moderator, control rods, coolant. versus a coal fire thermal power plants which has so many boiler auxilliaries.
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