Re: PWR CRACKS!!! Just as I FIRST predicted so long ago!!! (followup)

cc: Rep. Ed Markey
from: a former Brookline constituent
NRC is "in the closet" about this subject...
Dear Dr. Meserve,
I just heard about the South Carolina ("8/01") PWR transition-weld cracking, which sound a lot like the San Onofre cracking problem out here a few years ago!
This is EXACTLY what I tried to leave for you at the Hyatt Islandia in San Diego last November that [a senior official at the American Institute of Physics] "purloined". Maybe you should have known about it a year ago? It would have helped you with this problem greatly!
Attached please find a (not so!) humerous article about nuclear-reactor,... (and LOOK UP ALL REFERENCES!!!)  GENERIC Fe-based "austenitic" (FCC crystal structure) (a.k.a. stainless-steels) and Ni-based "austenitic" (FCC crystal structure) (so called) "super"alloys: Inconel-600 (control-rod sleeve tubes), Hastelloy-X (core internals), and INCO-182/82 (FCC "austenitic"to BCC "ferritic" pressure-vessel steels) transition-welds.
Especially the latter I was THE FIRST to discover and call attention to.
[reference: Jnl. Magnetism & Magnetic Materials 7, 312 (1978);
see also article about my warnings: Ana Mayo, "Geiger Counter Column", The Village Voice, p. 40, 8/21/78]
For INCO-182/82 worldwide transition-weld standard for decades (1950's-1990's), I found that it taksx ~ 17-22 years, which sounds EXACTLY like what is happening in South Carolina ("now") and nearby San Onofre unit here in 1997(?).
Since it happened in ALL E. C. PWRs [see R. Rollnick, The European (weekly), week ending 1/14/93 - front-page and flip-side] and in MANY Japanese PWRs, I ask:
All it takes is (like heating up a pizza in a microwave) time at temperature, and OURS are OLDER!!!
OF COURSE it IS, NOT just "now" and NOT just "only" in South Carolina, but most probably VERY WIDESPREAD and well covered up, or simply ignored and not recognized by: utilities, energy-companies, NRC, DoE!
(yet, since ~1988 a HUGE amount of money has been spend by NRC on studying this phenomenon; just ask NRC public information service to do an NRC/DoE literature search under superalloy embrittlement, Wigner's-disease, Ostwald-ripening, spinodal-decomposition, overageing, ageing, overageing-embrittlement, "sensitization", ... and you'll see the NRC/DoE CRASH program on this for perhaps ~13 years!)
[See Jonathan Pollard's last UCS report (I believe 9/95?) on stainless-steel skirts SUDDEN embrittlement at ~ 17-20 years in G. E. BWRs! There the culprit is 304 stainless steel. They use 304L (L meaning low-carbon, to slow dolwn this overageing-embrittlement) and it failed too!]
[See also Lai's Met. Trans. AIME reference figure 2 on Hastelloy-X for just HOW FAST this can happen: 100 hrs.( = 4 DAYS!)/~2years = < 1% of intended lifetime!
[this is what fails and explodes, combustion-chambers in GE & P&W jet-engines]]
The GENERIC problem is called: Wigner's-disease, Ostwald-ripening, spinodal-decomposition, ageing, overageing, overageing-embrittlement, (euphemistically) "sensitization".
Ask any machinist. When it happens in tool steels (drills or lathe cutting-tools), it's called "streamers"
(NOT the cut metal chips), stringd/chains and sheets of brttle-carbides that grow in a more ductile tool-steel matrix. And the tools delaminate, literally crack apart, JUST LIKE for (so called) "super"alloys in PWRs and BWRs!
I hate to say "I (at least tried in 11/00 to) told you so", but...
(Q: just how did I sneak into the South Carolina PWR and cause this???
 A: It MUST be going on in ALL US PWRs and BWRs for MANY KINDS of DIFFERENT (so called) "super"alloys in many different components!!!)
Have you ever read Robert Lofaro's (BNL) "bean counting" INPO incidents actuarial projections? Based upon past INPO/NRC documents, Lofaro (no metallurgist) predicted ~ 1990-1992 at the ?th Light Water Reactor Safety Conference, and in a sequence of BNL reports probably right there in your NRC library, something like a
~73(!!!)% probability of failure due to (this) (so called) "super"alloy GENERIC
(OVER)-"ageing" [Wigner's-disease, Ostwald-ripening, spinodal-decomposition, overageing, overageing-embrittlement, "sensitization",...]
(decidedly NOT meaning sitting around a campfire and singing "Kumbaya",...  ) leading to EXPONENTIAL(!!!) reactor systems failure probability!
(a. k.a. technically "chaos"!!!)
Please RSVP if you need any consulting help
(from someone who can be HONEST with you about this GENERIC problem you've inherited, and, because he discovered it in INCO-182/82 transition-weld alloy 25 years ago,
Most Respectfully,
Dr. Edward Siegel
Metallurgist & Physicist
[Ph. D., MSU (1970), M. S., U. of Michigan (1969), attended: NYU & U. of Pennsylvania; B. S., CCNY (1965)]
[Fired, Westinghouse APD/NES, Sr. Materials Scientist (1974)
Fired, P. S. E. & G. Chief Matallurgist & Mgr., NDT/E (1976)
Fired, I. A. E. A. (Vienna) (1977)]
c/o or c/o
tel: c/o (858) 270-5111
[PACIFIC-time; often busy if I'm online; NO voicemail!
BEST: Mon, Wed, Fri (after end of October), Sat, Sun: t < ~12:00-1:00 PM
7 nights: t > ~ 5:00 PM
Tue, Thur, (until end of October) Fri: t < ~ 10:00 AM]
Rep. Markey:
                    I can put you in touch with several corroborating metallurgists right there in Washington D. C.:
Dr. Lydon Schwartzendruber, Metallurgy Div., NIST
Dr. Larry Bennet (formerly " "),Materials Science Dept., Georgetown (or GWU) Univ.
Dr. Anthony Arrott, c/o Dr. Bennet, lives on Reno Rd. in D. C.
Prof. Wendell Williams, Physics & Materials Science Depts. U. of Illinois (emeritus)-
in the Urbana, IL. phone book
Now please read (not so) humerous detailed chronology, with detailed references!:

                                                     The U. S. S. KURSK:
Generic Endemic Navy (SSN, SSBN, CVN) / Utility NUCLEAR ACCIDENTS

                                                 WAITING TO  HAPPEN
(Courtesy: Westinklouse, G.-E., P. & W./U.-T., A.B.B./C.-E., B. & W., Inco, Haynes, Cabot, Prudential...)

Señor Admirálíssimo El Exigente ( OsamaBin ) "von" Siegel/Consultant /ThermAlloy Technology Ltd. (TAT(L))
(Avenger of U.K. Admiral Sir Walter Raleigh s 1492 Vanquishing of the Spanish Armada) 
                                                           (858) 270-5111
. recent (8/01) Oconee PWR (S.C.) and earlier San Onofre PWR (CA)"nozzle" cracking", following on ALL E. C. (Germany, France,...) SAME GENERIC problem [R. Rollnick, The European (1/14/93)-front page], is EXACTLY what
Siegel [among many others] predicted and warned about long long ago!!!
 [J. Mag. Mag. Mtls. 7, 312 (1978); Ana Mayo, "Geiger Counter Column", Village Voice, p. 40 (8/21/78)]
· (5/19/00; Gibraltar/Algericas Bay) H. M. S. Tire less d  SSN nuclear attack-submarine [Reuters News dispatch: (San Diego Union Tribune, p. 2, 10/22/00) but amazingly in no other national U. S. paper: neither: N.Y.T., nor L. A. T., nor W.-P.,...-talk about managed news!!!]; [also: in El Pais (Madrid, Spain major daily (10/31/00) - on WWW) & on B.B.C. News, [N.P.T.V.; KPBS-Ch.15 (10/31/00),  in which Spanish Prime Minister demanded to British Prime Minister that the U.K. tow it our of Iberian waters forthwith! ], now renamed the H. M. S. Aged   & Tired)  and dry-dock/inspections of whole rest (12) of U.K. SSN nuclear attack-sub fleet, necessitating U. S. Navy guarding of their U. K. whole SSBN nuclear fleet ballistic-missile boats & G.-E.-KAPL core-meltdown diagnosis (518) 587-3245 /
· plus older French nuclear attack-submarine SSN Emeraud steam- leak killing Captain and Nine Crew                   
Boston Globe, p.25, 3/31/94 ),
· plus recent dire warning on Internet by John. P. Shannon and Bob Stater, [G.-E. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL) retired Nuclear Engineers, Former Health and Safety Manager, designers of Navy nuclear-reactor cores for some thirty years; @ 262 Jones Rd., Saratoga Springs, N. Y. 12866 / tel: (518) 587-3245 /] that the H.M.S. Tire less d , with no loss-of-coolant (LOC) emergency-core-cooling-system (ECCS) [as do all other nuclear Navy ships of any/all types and any/all countries similarly lack] actually suffered a loss-of-coolant- accident (LOCA; China-Syndrome ) on 5/19/00 and is now stuck powerless and unmovable in Gibraltar/Algereicas Bay, and that ...
·  ALL 57 U.S. SSN attack-submarines nuclear-reactor cores (which they designed for 30 years) should be as susceptible to and hence suffer similar LOCA China-Syndrome problems in the future!!!
·  early unheeded by both nuclear Navy(ies)/commercial nuclear utilities metallurgical warnings of super alloy   generic endemic overageing-embrittlement thermal-instability in-fabrication / in-service problems warnings:
· (the) Dr. Eugene P. Wigner (he who took Einstein s letter to Roosevelt),
Jnl. Applied Physics 17, 857 (1946)
·  Dr. E. Siegel (Metallurgist), Jnl. Magnetism & Magnetic Materials, 7, 312 (1978)@ ICMAO, Technion, Haifa, Israel
Ana Mayo, The Village Voice, If Leaks Could Kill , Geiger Counter Column, p. 40 (8/21/78)
·  Dr. G. Lai, Metallurgical Transactions AIME, 9A, 827 (1978) - especially unbelievable Fig. 2/y-axis!!!)             
·  Dr. J. R. Kattus, Code # 4112, U. S. DoD Aerospace Structural Materials Handbook, Battelle (1983)
·  Dr. E. Siegel (abstract) 1978 - prediction of Monju, Japan Breeder Reactor nuclear accident
             (Japan Times, front page (12/10-12/95) & thereafter - on WWW in English)
·  E. C. (esp. France & Germany) mandatory commercial nuclear-reactor pressure-vessel heads and cooling piping replacements due to embrittlement-cracking
R. Rollnick, The European, (1/14/93) front page headlines)
·  E. Savage and E. Nippies,
Jnl. Welding (1963-67) - many technical papers on super alloy welds generic embrittlement
·  Howard Richards(RIP), metallurgist, PSE&G (largest utility/N. J.) suppressed dire multi-decade warnings
·  Professor W. B. Pearson, renowned Canadian metallurgist, University of Waterloo - multi-decade dire warnings of generic super alloy overageing-embrittlement catastrophic-failures in nuclear power-plants
·  H.M.S.S. Titanic, (
W. Broad, N.Y.T., reprinted in San Diego Union Tribune, p. E2, (2/4/98)) which sank because of (closely related) metallurgical embrittlement of steel bolts and hull plates,...
Warnings, Portents, Continuing / Ongoing Disasters, and Trends are Clear / Undeniable!!!
Do the Governments have the courage to ACT NOW???
----- Original Message -----
From: Russell D. Hoffman
To: tat
Sent: Sunday, October 14, 2001 2:42 PM
Subject: San Onofre to be checked for new kind of crack
San Onofre to be checked for new kind of crack
Phil Diehl
Staff Writer

SAN ONOFRE ­­ Federal regulators have instructed nuclear power plant operators, San Onofre among them, to examine their reactors for a newly discovered type of cracking that could release radioactive steam into the domed containment structures.

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission bulletin issued Aug. 3 asks nuclear power plant operators to look for circular cracks like those discovered recently for the first time in the heads of two reactors at the Oconee nuclear power plant in South Carolina, said Sue Gagner, a spokeswoman at the commission's headquarters in Rockville, Md.

San Onofre nuclear plant will be inspected for cracks that could lead to radioactive steam leaks.
"What made (the new cracking) unusual ... was that it was circumferential rather than up and down," Gagner said. Only linear, or "axial," cracks had been discovered previously in the nozzles that penetrate reactor vessels.

The new cracks were discovered in the welds around nozzles holding the control rods that slide in and out of the reactors. That makes the cracks more dangerous than other types because the nozzles are more likely to break loose from the vessel, she said.

None of the new circular cracks has been found at the San Onofre plant, a spokesman there said this week.

Nuclear reactors such as the two at the San Onofre nuclear plant along Interstate 5 between Oceanside and San Clemente have pressurized vessels about 40 feet tall made of thick steel that hold radioactive fuel rods submerged in water. Each pressurized vessel is penetrated by about 100 nozzles that hold control rods and other instrumentation.

The reactor's pressure vessel and its nozzles are within the concrete-and-steel dome built to withhold any radioactive release from the plant's primary coolant system.

The failure of a nozzle in an operating reactor would release large amounts of hot water that would flash to steam within the containment structure. Water from the primary system usually contains radioactive contamination. Federal regulators require nuclear plant operators to rehearse several times annually ways to handle any break in the reactor cooling system, though they say the chances of a large radioactive release are remote.

None of the circular cracks found so far at Oconee has allowed the penetration nozzles to break away, regulators said, though some water has leaked through the cracks.

"The problem is probably age-related," Gagner said. The Oconee plant began commercial operation in 1974.

Age-related degradation is one of the leading problems of the nuclear industry, according to critics such as the Nuclear Information Resource Service. Cracks are routinely repaired in reactor steam generators, and degradation has been found in other key components subject to extreme heat and pressure.

"The industry is plagued with age-related deterioration mechanisms unique to nuclear power operations," according to Paul Gunter, a researcher with Nuclear Information Resource Service, which regularly posts information at its Website at
"Chronic exposure to extreme radiation, heat, pressure, fatigue and corrosive chemistry are combining to cause embrittlement of metal, cracking, and erosion of components integral to the protection of the public's health and safety."

Nuclear industry officials have said problems such as cracking arise with age, but that those problems can be monitored and corrected with no significant risk to workers or the public.

San Onofre's operator, Southern California Edison Co., found and repaired linear cracks in reactor vessel nozzles in the Unit 3 reactor during routine refueling and maintenance work in 1997.

That reactor began commercial operation in 1984. The other operating San Onofre reactor, Unit 2, first went online in 1983.

The Unit 1 reactor, which operated from 1968 to 1992, is being demolished.

The reactor was retired to avoid the expense of costly additional safety upgrades required by federal regulators after the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 near Harrisburg, Pa.

Edison officials have not found cracks of any type in recent inspections of the reactor vessel, said plant spokesman Ray Golden.

"As a result of this (bulletin) we will do a more detailed inspection in the upcoming outages," Golden said, noting that Unit 2 is scheduled for refueling and maintenance next May, and Unit 3 is to start in January, 2003.

"Meanwhile, we normally monitor the entire system."

Detection systems within the plant allow operators to see a leak as low as two or three gallons per day in the 90,000-gallon primary cooling system, Golden said. That allows cracks to be identified before a leak becomes catastrophic.

The commission's bulletin went to the operators of all 69 commercial pressurized-water reactors in the United States. The pressurized-water reactors are designed to keep water in the primary coolant system pressurized so that it will not boil.

The primary coolant heats a secondary loop that turns to steam and spins the plant's electricity-generating turbines.

The country also has about 35 commercial boiling-water reactors, in which the primary coolant is allowed to turn to steam.

San Diego Gas & Electric Co. owns 20 percent of the two San Onofre reactors and distributes about 20 percent of the electricity produced there.

Contact staff writer Phil Diehl at (760) 901-4087 or

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First posted October 15th, 2001.

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