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Nuclear Power Safety

Dr. N. S. Saxena,
Professor, Power System Engineering, UPES, Dehradun; Former, Director General, National Power Training Institute, Faridabad.

THE SOURCE: FISSION


Fission is the splitting of a nucleus into two or more separate

nuclei of comparable mass One neutron interacts with one fissionable nucleus (Uranium for example) Fission Products are:

Two heavy nuclides


One heavier than the other (Average ratio of ~ 2 : 3 )

Neutrons 2.43 on average emitted / fission


Important that more neutrons are produced than are used to

cause one fission

Gamma rays, beta particles Energy !!

E = mc2
MDI, Gurgaoin 2/22/2013

Dr N S Saxena

The Nuclear Fission Reaction


Mass no., nucleons= protons + neutrons

235U 143

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Neutrons Protons At. No., Z

85 to 104 a.w. Clumping


236U

Gamma Ray
89Kr

235U

Fission Neutron 130 to 149 a.w.

Neutron n = 1.00867 89Kr = 88.91660 144Ba = 143.92000 235U= 235.04394 236U = 236.05261 92 92 56 Neutron Gamma Ray
144Ba

Gamma Ray

n + 235U143 236U144 144Ba88 + 89Kr53 + 3n + 176.9 MeV


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2/22/2013

Dr N S Saxena

MDI, Gurgaoin

Nuclear Power Production Issues


Safety Reduction in average number of accidents Reduction in number of significant events. Cost/Time New Plant Construction Costs. Comparative Costs for Alternative New Electric Generation Construction Time lines Waste disposal On-site storage for waste from current and new plants. Permanent geologic repository is necessary.

Dr N S Saxena

MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Pros & Cons


COAL
cheap and abundant
but source of greenhouse gases

HYDRO
NATURAL GAS SOLAR & WIND
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clean
but seasonal and no new sources

cleaner than coal


but limited supply

renewable but expensive, low energy density, and intermittent


2/22/2013

Why Nuclear?
high energy density
no air pollution

NUCLEAR

small, contained waste


Low Running Costs But what about
safety, security, and waste disposal ?

Dr N S Saxena

MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

High Energy Density


4 tons of coal are

Equivalent to a few ounces of uranium. 1 pellet, is Equivalent to:


150 gallons gasoline 1 ton of coal

16,000 ft3 natural gas


2.5 tons wood

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Dr N S Saxena

MDI, Gurgaoin

Power Plant Emissions


1000 Mwe-yr

COAL

GAS

NUCLEAR

Sulfur-oxide ~ 1000 mt Nitrous-oxide ~ 5000 mt Particulates ~ 1400 mt Ash (solids) ~ 1million mt CO2 > 7million mt Trace elements ~ 1mt** Spent Fuel Fission Products

400 mt

3.5mill. mt ~ 1 kg
20-30 mt ~1 mt

** Volatilized heavy metals: e.g., Mercury, Lead, Cadmium, Arsenic


8 Dr N S Saxena MDI, Gurgaoin Source: EIA - 2004 2/22/2013

Waste Hazard Decreases Over Time

Dr N S Saxena

MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Generation Fuel Cost


100% 90% 80% 12% 35% 80% O&M Fuel Capital

Cost Proportion

70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

Nuclear
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Coal

NGCC
2/22/2013

U.S. Electricity Production Costs


Production Costs = Operations and Maintenance Costs + Fuel Costs

9.0 8.0
Nuclear 1.72 Coal 2.21 Gas 7.51 Oil 8.09

Production Cost

7.0

(2005 cents/kwh)

6.0 5.0 4.0 3.0 2.0 1.0

0.0 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Source: Global Energy Decisions Updated: 6/06

Year
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Dr N S Saxena

MDI, Gurgaoin

Nuclear Fuel Cycle?


Mining of the uranium Processing Uranium to make the fuel

Use it in the reactor


Safely store the radioactive waste Decommissioning the reactor
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Sources, extraction, and preparation


Found in Congo, Canada, US, Africa, Ukraine, and traces

everywhere Uranium mining of ore US carnotite contains 238U, 99.28%; 235U, 0.71%; and 234U, 0.006% Uranium extraction Convert raw ore to uranium oxide (U3O8) or yellowcake Convert that yellowcake to uranium hexafluoride gas Enrich the 235U from 0.7% up to 2% to 5% for power plants; 93% for weapons. Uranium fuel preparation Make uranium dioxide pellets (~0.4 inch diam x 0.4 inch Dr N S Saxena MDI, Gurgaoin 2/22/2013 13 long)
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Fuel Rods
Typical values:

The uranium fuel is made

of solid ceramic pellets.


The fuel pellets are sealed

inside 13 long zirconium alloy rods.

236 rods in each

assembly
217 assemblies in the

reactor core 2/22/2013

Dr N S Saxena

MDI, Gurgaoin

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Fuel assemblies
Enrichment Fuel fabrication Reactor

Decommissioning of reactor

Mining Milling

Temporary storage of spent fuel assemblies underwater or in dry casks

Spent fuel reprocessing

Low-level radiation with long half-life

Open fuel cycle today Recycling of nuclear fuel

Geologic disposal of moderate- and highlevel radioactive wastes

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Dr N S Saxena

MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

How Does a Nuclear Fission Reactor Work? (1)


Controlled nuclear fission reaction in a reactor
Light-water reactors

Fueled by uranium ore and packed as pellets in

fuel rods and fuel assemblies


Control rods absorb neutrons Coolant circulates through the assemblies,

removing the heat, keeping the rods from melting


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How Does a Nuclear Fission Reactor Work? (2)


Water is the usual coolant
Containment shell around the core for

protection
Water-filled pools or dry casks for storage of

radioactive spent fuel rod assemblies

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Dr N S Saxena

MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Fission controlled in a Nuclear Reactor


STEAM Control Rods

Steam Generator (Heat Exchanger)

Connect to Rankine Cycle

Water

Fuel Rods
Coolant and Moderator Pump

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MDI, Gurgaoin

Pressure Vessel and Shield

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Reactor Cooling System of PWR

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MDI, Gurgaoin

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Reactor Vessel
Typical values:

Weight: 400 tons Thickness: 8 inches

Fuel Assemblies (Core)


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PWR Containment
Initial Construction

Completed Concrete Dome

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MDI, Gurgaoin

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Layers of Protection Against 9/11

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MDI, Gurgaoin

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Redundant Safety Systems


Reactivity Control Core Heat Removal RCS Inventory Control RCS Heat Removal Containment Isolation
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What Can Get Released?


Noble gas fission products
Chemically inert (xenon)

Volatile fission products


Chemically reactive (iodine)

All other fission products


Remain in solid form

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MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Nuclear Safety Record


440 civil nuclear reactors in 30 countries sharing

operating experiences
Impressive safety record covering 12,000 reactor-

years of operating experience


Three nuclear accidents:
o TMI (1979) o Chernobyl (1986) o Fukushima (2012)
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Types of Reactors
Light Water Reactors (LWR) use H2O Boiling water reactors produce steam at top of the core area Pressurized water reactors keep water from boiling Heavy Water Reactors (HWR) use D2O or deuterium oxide Canadian CANDU (Canadian deuterium oxide) reactor Mixed oxide (MOX) reactors contain both plutonium and

uranium oxides (make from old warheads) Breeder reactors produce additional radioactive fuel that may be used in conventional reactors (recyclable?) Fusion Reactors: Based on Fusion of two hydrogen (2H2) atoms into one helium (1He4) atom. Cold Fusion: Achieved in Univ. of Utah by mistake (or worse?) could not be replicated by anyone!
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Light Water Reactors


Ordinary, but pure, deionized (noncorrosive) water is

used as a fuel core coolant


Some reactors have used liquid sodium metal as a

coolant with a heat exchanger


The coolant flows around the fuel elements and

carries off the heat


Heat exchangers prevent leakage of the radioactive

water into the steam turbines The primary side water remains in liquid state due to high pressure If the water area vents and goes dry, the core can melt if the reaction isnt stopped in time (the China Syndrome)
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BOILING WATER REACTOR (BWR)

Boiling water reactors have part of the water as steam around the fuel The water acts as a moderator to slow the neutrons to fission the uranium, while the steam is less dense and doesnt moderate well If overheating occurs, the steam pushes the water level lower, slows the reaction and is Dr N S the reactor MDI, Gurgaoin 2/22/2013 protects Saxena
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PWR Containment

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MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR)


Water is under high pressure

so it cant flash into steam The reaction is modified entirely by the control rods

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MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Small amounts of radioactive gases

Control rods Containment shell Heat exchanger Steam Turbine

Waste heat Generator

Uranium fuel input (reactor core)

Hot coolant
Pump Pump Pump

Hot water output

Useful electrical energy 25%30% Waste heat

Shielding Pressure vessel

Coolant Moderator
Coolant passage

Pump

Cool water input

Water

Condenser Water source (river, lake, ocean) 2/22/2013

Periodic removal and storage of Periodic removal and radioactive wastes and spent fuel storage of radioactive assemblies liquid Dr N S Saxena MDI, Gurgaoin wastes 31

CANDU Reactor
The Canadian heavy water (deuterium oxide,

DO2) reactor can use unrefined uranium U238 as fuel Canada, Argentina, and Pakistan use this reactor type This avoids the expense of uranium enhancement, but deuterium oxide must be separated from ordinary water
Deuterium occurs about once in 6500 molecules of

water
Dr N S Saxena MDI, Gurgaoin

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2/22/2013
090124

CANDU Reactor

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MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Mixed Oxide Reactor

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Dr N S Saxena

MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Pebble bed modular reactor (PBMR)


Use fuel/carbon/ceramic pellets sized like a billiard

ball. The balls can be pushed through pipes into the reactor on top and removed at the bottom Pros: no need to shut down for refueling Cons: graphite protective coatings, vulnerable China, South Africa.

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Dr N S Saxena

MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Pebble Bed Reactors

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MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Breeder nuclear fission reactors


Creates plutonium from uranium

Plutonium can be used for Weapons.


France built one then shut it down 2 years

later The US prohibits breeder reactors. Without breeder reactors, uranium ore may be depleted in ~50 - 80 years

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Dr N S Saxena

MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Breeder reactors

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MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Fusion Reactors
Hydrogen can be fused into helium yielding more

energy than was required to create the fusion The Shiva machine (named after the multiple-armed Indian God) has 20 lasers that simultaneously strike a small plastic shell containing deuterium oxide to create fusion
Immense amounts of energy fire the 20 lasers

simultaneously to cause a negligible amount of fusion energy Remember EROEI, where a high amount of energy must come out compared to what went in for the conversion to be useful, but this is the reverse so far
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TOP NUCLEAR GENERATING COUNTRIES 2007, Billion kWh


806.5

Enter text

418.6

266.4 147.8 136.6 133.2

96.5

87.2

64.4

62.6

U.S.

France

Japan

Russia

Korea Rep.

Germany Canada

Ukraine Sweden

China

Source: International Atomic Energy Agency, U.S. is from Energy Information Administration Updated: 5/08

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MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

U.S. Nuclear Industrial Safety Accident Rate


One-Year Industry Values
0.38

0.26 0.22 0.23 0.21 0.17 0.17 0.18 0.17 0.12 0.12 0.20

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2010 Goal

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MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Comparative Safety Record


(2004 Lost-time Accident rate per 200,000 hours)

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MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Spent Fuel Problem


After about 3-4 years of use the Fuel rods are spent and

fission level drops beneath a certain level.


Conventional reactors require 18-month refueling to

remove 1/3 spent fuel and replace it with active fuel


Rods are taken out of reactor stored nearby in water

filled pools or dry casks


Stored until they cool down enough ( 2-3 Years) to be

shipped for permanent storage or to be recycled.


These storage facilities are next to the reactor plants,

vulnerable to terrorist attack or accidents


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Spent fuel reprocessing


The spent fuel rods are sent to a facility which separates plutonium from spent fuel for further use as a new generation of fuel or as material used to make atomic weapons. 1. First the fuel is chopped up, by remote control, behind heavy lead shielding. 2. These chopped-up pieces are then dissolved in boiling nitric acid, releasing radioactive gases in the process. 3. The plutonium is separated from the acid solution by chemical means, leaving large quantities of high-level radioactive liquid waste and sludge behind. 4. After it has cooled down for several years, this liquid waste will have to be solidified for ultimate disposal, while the separated plutonium is fabricated into nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons. Dr N S Saxena MDI, Gurgaoin 2/22/2013 44

WASTE DISPOSAL
A concern to many people Used (spent) nuclear fuel consists of

ceramic pellets encased in metal tubes


Current solution: On-site storage at NPPs

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MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

DRY STORAGE IN CASKS ON SITE

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MDI, Gurgaoin

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MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Three Mile Island (TMI)


March 28th 1979, Unit 2 reactor trips at 4 AM.
(The movie China Syndrome is playing in theaters)

Pressurer relief value sticks open, lose of cooling accident

(LOCA) begins.
Hampered by inadequate training and instrumentation,

operators shut off emergency core cooling.


By 6:30 AM, blocking value is closed, shutting off the loss of

coolant but

The water level has fallen below the top of the reactor core.
Dr N S Saxena

The fuel rods containing the uranium fuel pellets melt and release radioactive gas into the Containment Building.
MDI, Gurgaoin 2/22/2013

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Three Mile Island, PA


Unit 2 still closed and

defueled Cemented in to seal it

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Dr N S Saxena

MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013
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TMI: Hydrogen Bubble


When the fuel rods melt, hydrogen gas is generated. A bubble of hydrogen gas collects in the reactor head. Fear that the hydrogen could explode result in confusion,

panic. About 150,000 people evacuate.


However, the hydrogen explosion was never possible
(not enough oxygen)

Major lessons:
Better operator training Better emergency planning

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Dr N S Saxena

MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

TMI: Consequences
No one killed, no one injured. Offsite radiation is minimal, a small fraction of natural

background radiation.
Public confidence is severely damaged. Many health effects studies have been conducted. In 1996,

a U.S. District Court dismisses all lawsuits finding no evidence of harm.


Improvements to operator training, instrumentation, and

emergency plans are now required.


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Chernobyl

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Dr N S Saxena

MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Chernobyl
April 1986 disaster at Chernobyl in the Ukraine was a result

of a dangerous reactor design and weak operational controls.


Weak Operational Control:
Poorly trained operators were performing a dangerous and

unauthorized test.

Dangerous Reactor Design:


A positive temperature coefficient of reactivity resulted in a

huge power surge that cause water to flash to steam, blowing the cover plate off the top of the reactor
Broken pipes spilled water onto the hot graphite moderator,

which bursts into flames.


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Flawed Reactor Design


graphite core & unstable reactor

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MDI, Gurgaoin

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Environmental Pathways
82% of the iodine exposure was avoidable

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Dr N S Saxena

MDI, Gurgaoin

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Chernobyl: Consequences
31 workers, mostly fire fighters are killed largely due to

acute radiation exposure.


Huge release of radioactive material, distributed around

Europe.
World confidence is severely damaged. The Whole Health Organization has linked hundreds of

child thyroid cancers to the accident (10 deaths), but no detectable increase in other cancers.
The greatest damage was from fear (psychological), NOT
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radiation.

MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Fukushima
In 2002, the company predicted that all of its seventeen plants might have to be shut down for inspection and repairs, because of falsified inspections and concealment of faults found in inspections that the government ordered. As a result a top company official was charged with giving specific orders to hide large cracks in the shrouds, or steel casings around the reactor core, in two of the thirteen reactors at which false inspection reports had been filed. The company repeatedly missed safety checks over a 10-year period and allowed uranium fuel rods to pile up inside the 40-year-old facility. This exposes the problem of cost cutting initiated by the chief executive in that the company, who opted to save money by storing the spent fuel on site rather than invest in safer storage options

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Fukushima

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MDI, Gurgaoin

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Fukushima: Consequences

Germany will phase out its nuclear plants by 2020 Italy has imposed a one year moratorium on the construction of nuclear power plants. A small number content to proceed with new build proposals such as Slovakia with China announcing a pared back nuclear expansion programme. A report from UBS suggests that at the very least around 30 nuclear plants may have to close as a result of Fukushima, in particular those in seismic zones or close to national boundaries
Dr N S Saxena MDI, Gurgaoin 2/22/2013

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Designs of New Nuclear Power Reactors

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Dr N S Saxena

MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Are New and Safer Nuclear Reactors the Answer?


Advanced light-water reactors (ALWR)
Built-in passive safety features

High-temperature-gas-cooled reactors (HTGC)

Avoids problems with present water based systems, but still not 100% reliable

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MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

The Westinghouse AP1000

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MDI, Gurgaoin

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AP1000 Simplifications
Safety Use of passive safety systems

Design
Reduced number of components and bulk commodities Procurement Standardization of components Construction Extensive use of modules reduces on-site construction Multiplexed I&C communication reduces cables Operation and Maintenance Use of proven systems and components Man-machine interface advancements

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Dr N S Saxena

MDI, Gurgaoin

2/22/2013

Passive Safety What is it?


Passive Safety Systems utilizes naturally

occurring physical phenomena such as natural circulation of air, water and steam. water.

Gravity and gas pressure drive the flow of cooling

Natural heat transfer occurs through conduction,

convection and evaporation.

Flow and cooling occur in accordance with

natures laws There are no pumps and motoroperated valves. A few valves align the passive safety systems upon actuation signals.
Dr N S Saxena MDI, Gurgaoin 2/22/2013

Greatly reduced operator dependency


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AC electrical power is not required for plant safety.

Thanks for a Patient Listening

Shall Meet in Next Class