Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Planta Nuclear BONUS Rincon

Los surfers le llaman Domes, los indocumentados la entrada a la libertad, los ambientalistas desastre inminente, los conspiradores diran que tiene una historia oculta.  Los domos de Rincon son en realidad un prototipo de planta nuclear creado a mediados de los 60 en Rincon.  Ahora es un gift shop y museo.

foto planta BONUS 06/21 1962 de el mundo.  link al final.
 Segun wikipedia:
BONUS was a prototype to investigate economic and technical feasibility of the integral boiling superheating concept.
Construction started in 1960 and had its first controlled nuclear chain reaction on April 13, 1964. In September 1965 was archived 50MW thermic (full power) and highest steam temperature (900°F/482°C). The reactor ended operations in June 1968 because of high cost modifications and technical problems. The reactor was decommissioned by Puerto Rico Water Resources Authority between 1969 and 1970.
The fuel and control rods were returned to the United States for disposal. The remainder of the radioactive material was either decontaminated on site or placed into the core which was then entombed in concrete. Additional cleanup and shielding was completed in the 1990s and 2000s. A museum is planned for the main floor of the facility.

Con todo esto de tsunamis, terremotos y el negro porvenir que siempre vemos en las cosas esta ganando credibilidad de algo oculto en este site.  Buscando un poco mas encontre este forista Carlos Velez que aparenta conocer algo de la historia del BONUS.  Lo encontre refutando un articulo de lonely planet que discute de 'incidentes de cancer que obligaron su cierre'.

Siguio su discusion, en mucho mas detalle en este thread:

Crei prudente presentar estos detalles de lo mas interesantes de la historia del sistema.

Highlights debajo por si desaparece el thread:

Carlos Velez Says:
10/21/09 743am
After working for PREPA for more than 30 years, the last 22 surveying the Dr. Modesto Iriarte Technological Museum (former BONUS Nuclear Station; name changed by virtue of law in 2001) I would like to clarify some of the issues you mention in your article. First, thanks for taking the time to really search into it’s history. The Atomic Energy Commission (now Department of Energy; DOE) made only two plants with the superheater concept; BONUS and Pathfinder (which was also decomissioned and demolished), but were not the only ones under DOE ( you can search for Halley, Piqua and others, as well). DOE used the entombment process as a safe and economical mean to ensure safe radiation levels exposure so that it could be open to the public. As a matter of fact, if you look at the newspapers of 1970, it was inagurated as a museum. Due to the new environmental regulations (EPA and EQB were created in 1970) which required more cleanup and the fact that there was no organizational structure within PREPA to take care of the museum, it closed and went under radiological surveillance. In 1993, the former Mayor of Rincon requested the lighthouse to the US Coast Guard and asked PREPA to grant him access (the Coast Guard had to go thru the beach to access it; the facility is surrounded by 135 acres that belong to PREPA; from Calipso Bar to the mountain). He also asked PREPA to develop an historical museum, along with the technological museum, as well. PREPA agreed and asked DOE”s permission to grant access to the public (DOE is the owner of the radioactivity, PREPA is only the custodiant and owner of all the structures and land within the site). Cleanups, public meetings and environmental statements were done, residual radiation levels were taken to natural background levels (same levels you would find at your home or surroundings) and finally access to the public was granted; still no organizational structure to open. But, you can visit by appointment calling Eng. Francisco Lopez, Division Head of Enviromental and Quality Assurance of PREPA at (787) 521-4060. Numerous groups and students have already visited the site. Hope this clarify more.

Carlos Velez 10/21/09 752am

Also, the Department of Health of PR made an study in 1975, due to the issue of cancer in Rincon, which concluded that the rate of cancer was normal for towns with the same population and exposures as Rincon and not due to the plant. Remember it was a prototype, the eight plant constructed by the US and was closely monitored by local agencies and scientists from around the world that visited it.

Carlos Velez 10/21/09 805am
Two corrections: it was Law 307 of September 2, 2000 (not 2001) that changed the name To the plant and it was Hallam not Halley the plant under DOE.

Glenn 03/13/10 1508
I was wondering if Carlos had any thoughts on why the reactor was put in Rincon. The area has the potential for large earthquakes because of the Puerto Trench. The earthquake in 1918 in the Mona Rift, just 40 miles off the nw coast,created a tsunami inundating the coastline from Aguadilla to Mayaquez. I don’t know if there are any good places to put a nuclear reactor, but this place certainly doesn’t seem to be one.

Carlos Velez 04/07/10 1326

Sorry for the delay Glenn. With regards to your concern over sismic activities and the decision to build on that area, I always like to put references on my answers and not assume them, so I checked in the FINAL HAZARDS SUMMARY REPORT (February 1, 1962; copy of which are located on Rincón´s Public Library and its Municipal Assembly, PREPA´s Environmental Division and the DOE). And from page 822-1 we quote:

“The seismographical classification of the station site is Zone II. This means that as far as probability of seismic damage is concerned it falls in the same category as the States of’ Utah, Nevada, Montana, and the most stable parts of California. Most of California falls in the Zone III category for which the seismic force factors are twice as large as those for Zone II. The containment building shell, along with its anchor footing, floor s Lab , and the internal foundations for the reactor and turbine equipment, are designed for moderate to severe earthquake activity under the requirements of the Uniform’ Building Code for Zone II Seismic Disturbances. These criteria were also the basis for the design of external structures, the stack, the underground waste disposal tanks, the entrance building, and the power distribution towers.

If a tremor is sensed, the reactor will be automatically scrammed by a special switch that has been provided in the scram circuit, and reactor steam will be bypassed to the condenser. The reactor will be depressurized gradually by continuous bypassing of the steam to the condenser.”

With regard the decision to build on that area, on pages 100-1 to 100-4, we quote:“On February 4, 1960, the United States Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) contracted separately with General Nuclear Engineering Corporation (GNEC) and the Puerto Rico Water Resources Authority (PRWRA) for the detailed design of the BOiling NUclear Superheater (BONUS) Power Station. Contracts AT(40-l)-2674 and AT(40-l)-2672 were awarded, respectively, to GNEC and PRWRA for the nuclear and the electric power generating portions of the power station. These awards followed completion by GNEC and PRWRA of studies and a preliminary design of the BONUS Power Station under Contract AT(40-l)-2484. The results of this study established the technical feasibility and safety of a small (17.5 Mw(e)) nuclear power plant using a boiling water reactor with integral nuclear superheating. The design study was published in December 1959 and January 1960.

The Preliminary Hazards Summary Report for the BONUS Power Station (PRWRA-GNEC 2) was reviewed by the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) at its twenty-fourth meeting, March 10-12, 1960, following a meeting of the ACRS BONUS Subcommittee on February 16, 1960. Subsequent to these meetings, Mr. L. Silverman, Chairman of the ACRS (March 1960) advised the Chairman of the AEC on March 14, 1960, that except for certain reservations the ACRS “concludes that the proposed reactor may be constructed with reasonable assurance that it can be operated at the site selected without undue risk to the health and safety of the public.” The reservations attached to the above approval are quoted below:

“Presupposing the continuation of present generally favorable experience with the boiling water reactors the nuclear superheater represents the main experimental item of the proposed reactor. Prior to operation, pertinent information developed for gas-cooled reactors as well as information from the VBWR superheater experiment will have to be reviewed. It is recognized that this information will leave some questions unanswered, such as long-term integrity of the superheater fuel elements and radioactive contamination of the turbine. It will be necessary to show that these open questions do not cause a hazard to the health and safety of the public.”

After the review by the ACRS, a public hearing was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico on April 27, 1960. As a result of this hearing, an intermediate decision was issued on June 28, 1960, by the Presiding Officer, Mr. Samuel W. Jensch, in the matter of Puerto Rico Water Resources Authority, Power Demonstration Reactor Project, Docket No. PP-4. The conclusions of this decision are repeated below:

“1. Construction is authorized for the erection to completion of the proposed nuclear reactor utilization facility described in the contracts and proposals executed between and among the United States Atomic Energy Commission, Puerto Rico Water Resources Authority, General Nuclear Engineering Corporation, and Maxon Construction Company and in accordance with the Hazards Summary Report, which are a part of the record herein.

“2. This construction authorization is provisional to the extent that an authorization to operate the facility will not be issued by the Commission unless there be submitted at a further public hearing which shall be convened to consider the operating authorization, The Final Hazards Summary Report (portions of which may be submitted and evaluated from time to time) and the commission shall find that the final design, includlng the nuclear superheater, and data developed from the specified preconstruction experimental programs, including the integrity of the containment structure, provide reasonable assurance that the health and safety of the public will not be endangered and that the operation of the facility will not be inimical to the common defense and security as required by the Atomic Energy Act, as amended.

“3. No allocation shall be made of nuclear fuel for the proposed nuclear reactor utilization facility until further hearing and determination by the Commission, which shall be held respecting operating authorization after the completion of the construction of this facility.

“4. Exceptions, if any, and brief in support thereof must be filed by July 18, 1960; briefs in opposition thereto shall be filed by July 20, 1960, and if the Commission does not initiate a review on its own motion, and no exceptions are filed, this decision shall, in accordance with the Commission’s Rules of Practice, become final on July 19, 1960.”

“5. There being no exceptions filed, the above decision became final on July 19, 1960.

This report, PRWRA-GNEC 5, has been prepared to comply with Item 2 of the conclusions of the intermediate decision and to conform with the laws and regulations outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations, AEC Licenses: Materials, Facilities, Operators, AEC Regulation, 10 CFR Part 115, “Procedure for Review of Certain Nuclear Reactors Exempted from Licensing Requirements.” In addition, AEC Regulation 10 CFR Part 100, “Reactor Site Criteria,” has also been used in the preparation of the report.

This report summarizes and evaluates the important design and operational features of the BONUS Power Station which have an effect on the safety aspects of the station. Detailed data on the reactor design are given in a separate report, PRWRA-GNEC 6. The design and fabrication of the reactor pressure vessel is reported in GNEC 210.

The detailed design of the BONUS reactor has taken consideration of data obtained from the VBWR superheater experiments, of the pertinent information contained in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Status and Progress reports on the gas-cooled reactor experiment, the operational and materials aspects of the boiling water reactors in general, and the data obtained from the pre-construction BONUS R&D Program. Terminal reports were issued in connection with the pre-construction BONUS R&D program to provide detailed information regarding the various experimental tasks. The results of the R&D tasks have been taken into account in the evaluation of the BONUS hazards.

This report constitutes the final evaluation of the BONUS Power Station hazards. A separate technical specification will include significant design and operating limitations which shall become part of the authorization to operate the BONUS Power Station.” (end of quote)

Hope this clarifies any doubt you had.

Frank Bevilacqua 04/21/10 1404
By accident I came across the discussion on the BONUS nuclear power plant. I was one off the lead project engineers that developed, designed, and supervised the initial operation of the BONUS reactor plant in Rincon. Dr. Modesto Iriarte and Julio Fragoso of the PRWRA were part of the team that were assigned to the BONUS project during the design, construction and operation of the plant.

The plant was a demonstration plant to determine the feasibility of generating superheated steam within a nuclear reactor.This was successfully demonstrated. However, the fuel cost for the superheater fuel proved to be such that the overall cost for the power generation was too high in spite of the higher efficiency obtained by the superheat. The discussion presented by the USAEC covered the plant very accurately.

I would just like to add that I lived on the resort on the beach at Rincon. My fellow engineer used to go lobster spearing just outside our cabins and had fresh lobster every week.

I spent a year in Rincon during the constuction of the plant. The operation of the plant did not contaminate the area and I am sure the lobsters and the whales that were in the waters outside our cabins are very healthy

Dorn Green 10/06/10 1400
The project engineer on the Rincon Nuclear Power Plant, Ed Thompson, now deceased, hired me to repair and build numerous electronic cards that were amplifiers for signals from the numerous sensors to the main control panel room, This was in 1963. The control rods had arrived but were not yet installed. The boiler was completed

El Guanche Boricua 10/24/10
My father was a phisycs proffessor at uprm and I remember when I was about 8 years old (Im 45 Now) goingto the centro nuclear next to phisycs dept. and watched the bright light down the deep pool of the reactor and pops said to me that the energy of the uranium was producing it. Childhood Memories

Carlos Velez 10/25/10 1319
Dorn I’ve been searching for photos of people working at BONUS and have not been able to find them. I know that on special occasions, like the Secretary’s Day, they used to tour them around. If you have or know of someone that has, please let me know.

Carlos Velez 01/06/11 2004
Miguel that campaign you mention started in the ’50 with the designed of the BONUS Plant. PREPA was aware from that time that an oil crisis would eventually affect us and that is why it tried to change the way it generated for more diverse forms. The problem has been, even today: 1)that they did not get much support since oil was very very cheap and all other technologies were experimental in the early days, 2) environmental groups have concerns over the way we are going to move to diversify, be it natural gas, wind or any technology.
There is an Executive Law prohibiting the use of nuclear electrical generation. You are right, I have suggested several times to base a nuclear ship in Ramey or Ceiba to generate electricity and prove it is a safe technology. US uses mainly coal not oil. Oil is mostly for transportation. The outstages are mostly from excessive urban development not from lack of generation capacity.

Rocio Says 03/14/11 1932
Carlos Vélez: Puedes obtener fotografías del interior del reactor y personal trabajando en este enlace:

Raul 03/15/11 1233
Wow!!!I was just looking for some interesting facts on the Domes plant in Rincon,P.R. I visit there two or three times a year. It is a GREAT place. What need is there for all the extra discussion on the politics of the Island. Why can we not keep our comments limited to the topic ( Domes )???

Carlos Velez 03/17/11 0028
Thanks for the comments. Rocío I already had them. Thanks for the tip. The thing is I know special events took place there (weddings, Secretaries Week tours, etc) and was wondering if anyone had photos to share.

Fotos aqui:
Posters con cutouts de plantas nucleares.

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