Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.

For old times' sake
The bojack bumper sticker -- only $1.50!

To order, click here.

Excellent tunes -- free! And on your browser right now. Just click on Radio Bojack!

E-mail us here.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 4, 2013 8:47 AM. The previous post in this blog was Reese's in pieces. The next post in this blog is In hock signo. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



Law and Taxation
How Appealing
TaxProf Blog
Mauled Again
Tax Appellate Blog
A Taxing Matter
Josh Marquis
Native America, Discovered and Conquered
The Yin Blog
Ernie the Attorney
Above the Law
The Volokh Conspiracy
Going Concern
Bag and Baggage
Wealth Strategies Journal
Jim Hamilton's World of Securities Regulation
World of Work
The Faculty Lounge
Lowering the Bar
OrCon Law

Hap'nin' Guys
Tony Pierce
Parkway Rest Stop
Along the Gradyent
Dwight Jaynes
Bob Borden
Dingleberry Gazette
The Red Electric
Iced Borscht
Jeremy Blachman
Dean's Rhetorical Flourish
Straight White Guy
As Time Goes By
Dave Wagner
Jeff Selis
Alas, a Blog
Scott Hendison
The View Through the Windshield
Appliance Blog
The Bleat

Hap'nin' Gals
My Whim is Law
Lelo in Nopo
Attorney at Large
Linda Kruschke
The Non-Consumer Advocate
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place
A Pig of Success
Attorney at Large
Margaret and Helen
Kimberlee Jaynes
Cornelia Seigneur
And Sew It Goes
Mile 73
Rainy Day Thoughts
That Black Girl
Posie Gets Cozy
Cat Eyes
Rhi in Pink
Ragwaters, Bitters, and Blue Ruin
Rose City Journal
Type Like the Wind

Portland and Oregon
Isaac Laquedem
Rantings of a [Censored] Bus Driver
Jeff Mapes
Vintage Portland
The Portlander
South Waterfront
Amanda Fritz
O City Hall Reporters
Guilty Carnivore
Old Town by Larry Norton
The Alaunt
Bend Blogs
Lost Oregon
Cafe Unknown
Tin Zeroes
David's Oregon Picayune
Mark Nelsen's Weather Blog
Travel Oregon Blog
Portland Daily Photo
Portland Building Ads
Portland Food and
Dave Knows Portland
Idaho's Portugal
Alameda Old House History
MLK in Motion

Retired from Blogging
Various Observations...
The Daily E-Mail
Saving James
Portland Freelancer
Furious Nads (b!X)
Izzle Pfaff
The Grich
Kevin Allman
AboutItAll - Oregon
Lost in the Details
Worldwide Pablo
Tales from the Stump
Whitman Boys
Two Pennies
This Stony Planet
1221 SW 4th
I am a Fish
Here Today
What If...?
Superinky Fixations
The Rural Bus Route
Another Blogger
Mikeyman's Computer Treehouse
Portland Housing Blog

Wonderfully Wacky
Dave Barry
Borowitz Report
Stuff White People Like
Worst of the Web

Valuable Time-Wasters
My Gallery of Jacks
Litterbox, On the Prowl
Litterbox, Bag of Bones
Litterbox, Scratch
Ride That Donkey
Singin' Horses
Rally Monkey
Simon Swears
Strong Bad's E-mail

Oregon News
The Oregonian
Portland Tribune
Willamette Week
The Sentinel
Southeast Examiner
Northwest Examiner
Sellwood Bee
Mid-County Memo
Vancouver Voice
Eugene Register-Guard
OPB - Portland
Salem Statesman-Journal
Oregon Capitol News
Portland Business Journal
Daily Journal of Commerce
Oregon Business
Portland Info Net
McMinnville News Register
Lake Oswego Review
The Daily Astorian
Bend Bulletin
Corvallis Gazette-Times
Roseburg News-Review
Medford Mail-Tribune
Ashland Daily Tidings
Newport News-Times
Albany Democrat-Herald
The Eugene Weekly
Portland IndyMedia
The Columbian

The Beatles
Bruce Springsteen
Joni Mitchell
Ella Fitzgerald
Steve Earle
Joe Ely
Stevie Wonder
Lou Rawls

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Monday, February 4, 2013

Feds nab Reed in "more than minor" nuke safety violation

College kids running a nuclear reactor -- what could go wrong? Well, at Reed College in southeast Portland, they're finding out. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has written the college's toy reactor operators up for three safety violations, including one major one -- allegedly putting more fuel in the reactor than they were allowed to:

[F]rom February 2 to 4, 2011, the licensee made a change to the facility as described in the safety analysis report without conducting an evaluation to determine whether or not the change should have required a license amendment. Specifically, the licensee added 15 more fuel elements to the reactor core in addition to those already installed, for a total of 79 elements, thus changing the core configuration. The licensee did not perform an evaluation of the change against the criteria in 10 CFR 50.59(c)(2) to determine if the change should have required a license amendment.

This has been determined to be a Severity Level IV violation (Section 6.1).

The letter from the NRC elaborates:

The violation is being cited in the Notice because it constitutes the failure to meet a regulatory requirement that has more than minor safety significance and it was identified by the NRC.

Steve Frantz, the head of the reactor operation at Reed, retired on June 30, 2011. We wonder whether this little misadventure had anything to do with it.

In addition, based on the results of this inspection, the NRC has determined that two other Severity Level IV violations of NRC requirements occurred. These violations are being treated as non-cited violations (NCVs), consistent with Section 2.3.2.b of the Enforcement Policy.

We wrote about one of these other two incidents here -- the reactor was run with one of its power measuring channels malfunctioning. In the other, one of the young folks running the reactor walked off and left his or her key in the ignition:

At approximately 12:20 p.m., on February 6, 2012, the RO [reactor operator] at the console was finishing the core excess calculations. When that task was finished, the RO informed the SRO [senior reactor operator] then he would be shutting down the reactor. The RO then proceeded to drive in the rods until they were fully inserted. The RO informed the SRO that the reactor was shut down and left the control room and reactor bay area. When the RO left the control room, he neglected to remove the key from the console.

At approximately 1:35 p.m., the Facility Director and the Associate Director came to the facility and noticed that the blue light in the hallway of the facility was illuminated, indicating that the reactor was “on” and the key was in the console and set in the "operate" position. When they entered the Control Room they found that no one was in the room and that, indeed, the reactor key was still in the console. The Associate Director immediately removed the key from the console and secured it.

The licensee investigated the event and determined that the key had apparently been left in the console for 75 minutes before the condition was discovered due to an oversight by the RO.

The Reed reactor is 44 years old. It was built for another time and world. Obviously, it's become quite a handful to keep tabs on. Even if Il Presidente of the college succeeds in getting the bongs out of sight, he ought to think about phasing the nuke operation out before something really bad happens.

Comments (9)

You don't get it. Anything to do with Reed is cool. Anything to do with fossil fuels is uncool and despicable (unless part of Reed College). You need a new scorecard as double standards, even multiple standards, are in; as accounting and mathematics are not the new math, babe. Old folks. Geez, they need reprogramming, or to be shacked up in retirement condos. Cool kids are driving the bus now.

Reed would be even cooler if they packed up and moved to the Pearl District. Just think, you could live in a condo just upstairs from a real working nuclear reactor for research purposes, but it's good nuclear because it doesn't generate electricity.

But since they're in SE, they aren't cool. At least not as cool as PSU.

I've never been someone to be afraid of nuclear physics as long as safety regulations are being observed at all times.

That being said, these violations should be enough to suspend Reed's operating license; and if their license is not suspended, then the NRC is just as much of a laughing stock as a lot of people around here think it is. Leaving the reactor in an operational state (even if the control rods are fully inserted) and then leaving the control room is about as stupid as cleaning a loaded gun. Adding extra fuel elements outside of your license is similarly stupid, and should have the whole damn program shut down.

Leave the operations of a research reactor to institutions that can actually exercise some kind of oversight and control, like the nuclear engineering program at OSU. This is not something that can tolerate half-assed control.

Homer Simpson would be SOOO very proud! And really I never go to SE PDX
if it were irradiated for a few thousand years, I won't mind. Good Lord, Shut It Down. They have proven themselves incompetent and utterly dangerous to the students and the people of Portland.

"The Reed reactor is 44 years old. It was built for another time and world. Obviously, it's become quite a handful to keep tabs on. Even if Il Presidente of the college succeeds in getting the bongs out of sight, he ought to think about phasing the nuke operation out before something really bad happens."

The problem is, who then pays for the cleanup? Reason enough for Reed to kick the can down the road...

I have heard that before Hatfield retired, he offered Reed enough Federal money to pay for the cleanup. Of course, Reed would have to shut the reactor down, so the cleanup would start while Hatfield was still in office.

Reed turned Hatfield down.

It's not accidental that (at least commercial, at least those my uncle worked for) nuclear power plants use Homer Simpson on their safety posters.

If someone really wants to go for broke, they could plunk it down in SoWa, right by the OHSU "health and wellness" building -- where the old TCI/ATT/Comcast building was. It was known in the company for the incredibly high number of cancer deaths among long time employees. Why not go for broke?

> Leave the operations of a research reactor to institutions that can actually exercise some kind of oversight and control

I'm not sure that any university can do this. In 2003, the operator at MIT's reactor -- which has a serious nuclear engineering program -- fell asleep for half an hour at the console -- while the reactor was operating at nearly 5 megawatts!

More significantly, the fact that they did not shut themselves down for a significant period of retraining and operator requalification means that the program self-monitoring capacity is broken.

Evidence for which is given further by the fact that they do not use procedures to avoid the brain-dead errors (leaving the keys in, not completing the shutdown checklist) that humans are prone to make.

Worse, changing the core physics without an approved experimental plan that had been thoroughly analyzed to ensure that they remained well within the safety envelope, is appalling. Just adds fuel to the fire, so to speak.

Time to pull their ticket and defuel them. Period. There is no benefit to science or engineering to allowing this.

The world is now on notice that nuclear safety at Reed is a matter of chance and luck (which always runs out), rather than the outcome of a program that is capable of conducting safe evolutions with positive control.

Time for Reed to be a nuclear free zone. Now.

. . . . . Reed turned Hatfield down.

There must have been serious problems way back then, and it hasn't been cleaned up
or shut down yet?

What is wrong with people here?
The city of denial?
In so many ways!


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

Clicky Web Analytics