Thursday, August 13, 2009
Palo Verde, the largest Nuclear Power Plant
We drove to the largest nuclear power facility in the U.S. (located on 4,000 acres in the deep desert).
"Due to its location in the Arizona desert, Palo Verde is the only nuclear generating facility in the world that is not located adjacent to a large body of above-ground water. Instead, it evaporates water from the treated sewage of several nearby municipalities to meet its cooling needs. 20 billion US gallons (76,000,000 m³) of treated water are evaporated each year. Bechtel Power Corporation was the Architect/Engineer/Constructor for the facility initially under the direction of the Arizona Nuclear Power Project.
"Palo Verde was of such strategic importance, due to a variety of its features, that it and Phoenix were documented by the former Soviet Union as target locations in the event of nuclear conflict during the Cold War. The site team and nearby town of Wintersburg remain a key focus of work in regard to homeland security, ranking in importance along with Arizona's major cities, military bases, ports of entry, and tourist sites. Security guards working for the utility are armed with semi-automatic weapons.
"In an Arizona Republic article dated February 22, 2007, it was announced that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had decided to place Palo Verde into Category 4, making it one of the most monitored nuclear power plant in the United States. The decision was made after the NRC discovered that electrical relays in a diesel generator did not function during tests in July and September 2006.
"The finding came as the 'final straw' for the NRC, after Palo Verde had several citations over safety concerns and violations over the preceding years, starting with the finding of a 'dry pipe' in the plant's emergency core-cooling system in 2004.
"The selection of the present site for Palo Verde was controversial. Critics claim that the site was not the first choice because it was in the middle of nowhere, had no water supply, and put the Phoenix-Metro area into jeopardy in the event of even a minor accident, because of the prevailing westerly winds, would endanger the capital. Critics claimed that that site was selected over alternatives because it was owned by a relative of Keith Turley, who received almost $2 million for the land. Keith Turley was the president of APS (Arizona Power Service)."
Ariz. nuclear worker found with pipe bomb; plant locked down
Nov 03, 2007 AP