Our blog page is updated on a bi-weekly basis and covers a broad range of industry-related topics such as nuclear energy, application stories, new product highlights, replacement model updates, among many others. Here you can gleam an insight into what we’re thinking, where we’re heading, and how we’re getting there, by checking out our blogs. Want to see a topic of your interest explored? Send us a email in our contact us page!

Cyber Security Threat Strikes Pensacola, Florida

Still reeling from the wake of last week’s shooting incident at a nearby naval base, the city of Pensacola, Florida now appears to be the victim of a coordinated cyber security attack. Speaking for the first time since the attack began over the weekend, Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson said Monday that hackers successfully breached city hall’s defenses, thus allowing them to cripple the city’s communication systems, phone lines and email.

“The city of Pensacola is experiencing a cyberattack that began this weekend that is impacting our city network, including phones and email at City Hall and some of our other buildings,” Robinson said during a televised press conference Monday afternoon. Robinson went on to say that the attack began around 1:45am Saturday and has continued in the days since. The FBI’s Jacksonville office has opened an investigation—part of which is seeking to determine whether or not the cyber attack is in any way connected to the shooting at the airbase Friday Morning.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the perpetrators have shutdown Pensacola’s online payment systems and city sanitation services in addition to nearly all official communication channels.

This is not the first time an American city has been the target of a cyber security attack. Earlier this year, Baltimore and Atlanta were also attacked—and Albany, New York lost power for several days after being held for ransom. With the prevalence of such attacks obviously tied to global technological progression, it has become increasingly obvious that we need to be mindful of the digital technology we use every day.

That’s exactly why Otek invested nearly three years in designing an developing our Solid State Analog Meter (SSAM). An industry first, the SSAM operates without the use of any critical digital assets (components hackable by outside parties), by way of being built without a microprocessor. The ingenuity of the SSAM lies in the marrying of old analog hardware (CMOS Logic) with our award-winning and patented technology. The same intelligent instrumentation/programming that powers our highly-successful New Technology Meters (NTM) and our Universal Panel Meter Series (UPM), also inhabits the SSAM—providing users with an ultra-bright pure white LED display that can be easily customized to virtually any color using our One Size Fits All scale plate design. No need to remove the existing panel cut-out, wiring etc.

Additional highlight features of the SSAM include 4-20mA and 10-50mA current loops, V/A AC/DC, Watts, and Hertz or external power options, Otek’s patented signal failure alarm that warns the operator of a signal or power loss for 1 minute after failure, 4 ½ digit display with 0.1% accuracy, dual alarms for enunciator panel lamps, and of course, our lifetime warranty.

With the digital age showing no signs of slowing down, we would all be wise to invest in secure, innovative, and safe instrumentation.

Blue Energy for the Nuclear Idea

Blue may very well be the new green in energy. A team of Ph.D. students working in the lab of mechanical engineer Jerry Wei-Jen Shan at Rutgers University have unlocked a startling new potential for the energy sector, and nuclear power plants in particular. Colloquially known as “Blue Energy”, this idea focuses on the energy potential available within the chemical interplay of fresh and saltwater—where the ions inherent in salt compounds, either positive or negative, break apart and move of their own volition in water. Within that body of water, if positively charged ions are funneled to one side of a membrane, they will drag the already present negatively charge ions to one side, thus creating two separate pools of water with opposite charges. Electricity, researchers have long theorized, could be generated by placing electrodes into both pools and encouraging the electrons to flow from the negative pool to the positive one. Well, their theory was finally proven correct—only they severely underestimated the titanic amount of energy that would be produced.

When the Rutgers team streamlined an already existing technique of using boron nitride nanotubes (BNNT’s) to stimulate the electrons within the water, they were shocked to discover a potential energy output of nearly 2.6 terawatts—or what would approximately equate to the generation of 2000 nuclear power plants combined! The real-world applications are even more interesting considering these interchanges between salt and freshwater occur naturally all over the planet where river estuaries dump some 37,000 kilometers of freshwater per year into the oceans. And as we know, nuclear plants require a nearby body of water to operate.

While blue energy at this stage is obviously just crawling out of its eureka phase, its potential to significantly alter our global energy landscape is certainly something to watch with interest in the coming years.

At Otek we pride ourselves on keeping an eye toward the future with innovation for the now. That’s why we’ve been committed to helping the industrial, military, and nuclear industries modernize with digital instrumentation in the face of growing analog obsolescence. In all three of those industries, the Yokogawa/General Electric 180 analog meter has been a mainstay for decades along innumerable applications. Nothing however, lasts forever—that’s how our NTM-9 model was born from our flagship product line, the New Technology Series.

Using the same vertical design, NTM-9 functions as a 100% Form, Fit, and Function replacement for the Yokogawa 180/GE180 for Class1E safety related and nuclear-qualified applications, as well as Mil-specs 461, 167-1, 810, 901, and IE EE344 respectively. The -9 features an automatic tricolor bar with intensity control, 4 digits at 0.3”, input fail alarm with runtime stamp, self-diagnostics, isolated serial I/O (USB, RS485), a configurable bar direction, math functions, 4-20mA/30V output, 4 relay options, and Otek’s lifetime warranty.

While we’re all waiting on the potential of blue energy to be truly unlocked, you don’t have to wait on new and innovative digital technology with Otek. For more information on the NTM-9 or any of our cutting-edge technology visit our website at www.otekcorp.com or email our sales team, sales@otekcorp.com

Cyber Security Attacks on the U.S. Electrical Grid

            Everything has a price. The digital age has brought all corners of the Earth within the human grasp of connection—our price, the one that we seem to be paying with increasing frequency, may well be our security: our information, intellectual property, data, etc. And this is strictly from an individual level. On an industrial and corporate level, the price may very well be dangerous. We are talking here about cyber security concerns. Technology has indeed opened the corners of the Earth to us—but in every corner there lurks the malicious impulses of humanity.

            A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted several cyber security attacks on utilities in prominent locations around the U.S. Included among those targeted by a hacking campaign based out of Hong Kong, was the Cloverland Electric Cooperative (Michigan), the Wisconsin Rapids Water Works and Lighting, ALP Utilities (Minnesota), Cowlitz County Public Utility District (Washington), Flathead Electric Cooperative (Montana), Basin Electric Power (North Dakota), Klickitat Public Utility District (Washington), Brownsville Public Utilities Board (Texas), Utilities Commission of New Smyrna Beach (Florida), Rochester Public Utilities (Minnesota), Tucson Electric Power (Arizona), Emera (Maine), and Tri-County Electric Cooperative (South Carolina). Seven out of the thirteen afflicted utilities were also contacted by the FBI who has been investigating cyber attacks coming out of the East Asian market throughout the year.

            As you can observe from the list above, the overwhelming majority of these targets are connected to the U.S. electrical grid in some form or fashion, and even more threatening, most are in close proximity to critical infrastructures such as dams and transportation centers. For example, the Klickitat electric utility company monitors an array of federal dams near White Salmon, Washington, that provides hydroelectricity to large swaths of California—likewise the Cloverland plant operates beside the transportation lock channels in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, which is a major shipping lane for vessels carrying iron ore to steel mills all across the U.S. The implications of these coordinated attacks are not hard to discern—when fully carried out by a much more aggressive campaign, these cyber security breaches could wreck unprecedented havoc across the country’s industries and daily life in general.

            As part of Otek’s long-standing commitment to the nuclear industry, we invested our time and technology in creating instrumentation that meets the cyber security concerns of nuclear power plants under the NRC and NEI-08-09, while still carrying the trusted firmware technology that has made us a leading name in the instrumentation industry for decades. The result was our Solid State Analog Meter, or SSAM. A true industry first, the SSAM’s uniqueness rests in its hybrid makeup—built without any critical digital assets such as microprocessors, the SSAM is naturally immune to the reach of cyber security hackers. There’s simply no component that can be reached by an outside source, i.e. the internet. The gate, so to speak, remains closed. The SSAM runs on pure CMOS logic and features pure white LED technology that can be customized to virtually any color using Otek’s unique “One Size Fits All” scale plate design—meaning you don’t need to purchase a new unit or make any prodigious changes to your panel-cutout or wiring. All you have to do is change the scale plate!

            In addition to the cyber security applications, the SSAM series also features 4-20 and 10-50mA inputs, 100% signal powered, AC/DC Watts and Hertz or external power, 4 ½ digits at 0.1% accuracy, optional isolated H.V. SPDT dual alarms, a loop burden of less than 5V or 100mW power, and our patented signal failure alarm that warns the user of a signal or power loss for nearly an hour after the initial dead signal. The SSAM replaces the popular DB40 analog meter still prevalent in nuclear I & C rooms across the U.S.

            In this is digital age of rampant technological progression, we cannot slow the train, but we can be mindful of the tracks. Cyber security is bound to play an increasing role in our global infrastructure and Otek intends to be ready with innovative and efficient solutions such as the SSAM for years to come.

Technical Innovations to the Rescue of Aging I&C Rooms

Technical Innovations to the Rescue of Aging I&C Rooms

Dr. Otto P. Fest

Digitization of main control rooms is no longer an option for the rich and affluent nuclear power plants. The world NPP fleet consists of about 350 NPP’s 35 years or older, with about 93 of them in the USA. The problems are not only their aging, but also the continuous political anti-nuclear movement, the unfair governmental favoritism toward other sources of electrical energy and over-regulation of the nuclear industry, as well as alternate sources of energy that the nuclear industry has been able to overcome in some regulated markets, and it makes you wonder how much longer will the industry last. All of the aforementioned is nothing compared to the latest discovery that “nothing is forever”. That all has a beginning and has an end! Analog metering is obsolete as a result of simply not being good enough. Because the small replacement market doesn’t justify their expensive manufacture by the big guys, and because other technologies have flourished that are far superior in reliability, accuracy, life expectancy, maintenance, operating cost, and most importantly, greater safety and efficiency.

Safety & Efficiency: If digitization was to increase the safety & efficiency of your NPP by 1% and your daily output is $1 million, the $10,000.00 additional profit would be enough to pay for the upgrade within months if you select the right replacements.

What to do?

In my humble opinion, and being an avid admirer of Sir Charles Darwin and his closing statement: “Evolve or Perish” and being a scientist by profession and thanks to many experts in the field that mentored me and contributed greatly to my following statements, I would: Switch to the most modern & proven Automatic Process Control with Triple Redundancy Control (as we did during my years at the NASA-Apollo Lunar adventure just 50 years old last July 20th). But, is it wise to do a heart transplant to an old man like me?

What other options do our aging NPPs have?

What would I do if I was the owner, COO, CEO, CFO, (Bean Counter), I&C Manager or stockholder at a NPP?_____

I was asked once, “How Do You Invent Anything Anyway?”

My reply (without hesitation) was: Observe Analyze and Document. The inventor’s credo!

Observe:  a) What are the results of the Oconee NPP experiment in digitalization of their NPP? Will they ever get ROI? ____

  1. b) Who else has digitized a 30+ year old NPP at such a great expense and has derived any ROI? Or what are the probabilities one ever will? ____
  2. c) Talk to Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and their editorial on digitization in Nuclear News (NN June 2017) and seek advice. There are plenty of eager Systems Integrators ready to help you.
  3. d) Research other alternative technologies that would get you to the final destination with comparable results. i.e. Pace Maker instead of transplant? ___

Analyze:  a) Are there any other technologies that would get you to your destination (survival) without so great a risk of death (bankruptcy)? Such as new proven Class 1E technologies that would assure the survival and profitability of your NPP until the inevitable end? __

  1. b) Is Do Nothing (vegetate) an option? Will your NPP survive until final decommissioning? ___

Document: Do the research and implement your first prototype to prove your theorem and get to work. Remember: “Inventing is an instant of inspiration and an entire life of perspiration”

Regulatory Policies Hampering Valuable Climate Change Technology

In the ever-escalating fight for climate change policy in the United States, it may be the policies themselves that are preventing valuable technology from being sewn into progress. Racked with climate lawsuits, protests, and befuddling bills languishing in bureaucratic red tape, the clean energy debate in this country consistently overlooks a major asset in lowering the dreaded CO2 emissions: that of nuclear energy, and in particular, small module reactors.

The emerging technology of small module reactors (SMRs) has enormous potential for both the nuclear industry itself, as well as for the overall climate change initiative spreading around the world. Here in the U.S., our vastly undermined electrical grid would reap immediate benefits from polices geared toward promoting research, development, and implementation of small module nuclear reactors. These reactors are cheaper (in terms of lower initial capital investment), safer (by way of utilizing non-light water coolants to minimize waste threats to the surrounding environment), and obviously more versatile due the compact and highly mobile nature of their design. SMRs can also pair with the more popular renewables, such as wind and solar power, to generate higher energy efficiency and electrical grid stability.

So what are these policies preventing what appears to be a very useful tool in the climate battle? Topically, there are two main hurdles to address: the standardized use of the “Liner No-Threshold” model, and the NRC-governed insurance pools that affect SMR’s ability to economically price themselves into the market.

Addressing the first, the Linear No-Threshold model stipulates that any level of radiation greater than zero is a danger to public health. Without needing to elaborate too far, this delineation obviously places an enormous financial burden and procedural planning costs across the nuclear industry—and the science behind it simply isn’t justifiable. Research in the field of radiation shows that humans are exposed to various levels of radiation in medical procedures, airplane travel, and a host of other routine activities with no discernible health effects noticeable—which calls into question the need for resource allocation to a standard that isn’t accurate, and is a rather large detriment to nuclear power’s image in the public eye.

Second, the inclusion of SMRs in an insurance pool with larger, traditional reactors casts an unfavorable shadow on the new technology in the eyes of potential investors. The gripe here is that because SMRs can’t be used in the existing American nuclear fleet of 30 year or older reactors, they should be afforded their own insurance pool at much lower premium levels which would in turn attract investors, thus promoting development of the technology. By lumping them in with the older, expensive reactor fleet, makers of the SMRs argue they are losing out on potential resources to advance their much needed technology.

Ultimately, this boils down to a legislative lagoon where progress seems to get mucked down in the bog of bureaucracy.

While Otek cannot affect that fight, we can keep engineering our digital panel meter technology help nuclear power plants make progress on the ground level. During our half-decade campaign to help the nuclear industry digitize, we’ve designed two of our flagship models to aid aging (30+ years) power plants as they seek to modernize and combat analog obsolescence.

Our New Technology Meter line (NTM) boasts 22 different models offering an array of features, including but not limited to: automatic tricolor bar display, loop, signal or external power, plastic or metal housings, our patented signal failure alarm, isolated serial I/O, 4 alarms output/channel, 4-20mA retransmission (see also our NTT transmitter series), math functions, and are applicable for Mil-Spec and Class 1E grades as well as being cyber security safe by design.

Our second prominent addition to Otek’s nuclear strategy is our Solid State Analog Meter, the SSAM. Built with the cyber security ramifications of NEI 08-09 in mind, the SSAM was explicitly designed without any critical digital assets such as microprocessors and runs off CMOS logic—essentially rendering the SSAM invulnerable to the type of cyber security attack that just struck one of India’s leading nuclear power plants. Highlight features of the SSAM include: 100% signal powered for 4-20 and 10-50mA current loops, as well as V/A AC/DC Watts and Hertz for external power, 4 ½ digit ultra white LED display that can be easily changed out to an unlimited range of custom colors with our One Size Fits All scale plate design, Otek’s signal failure alarm that alerts the operator in the event of a lost or dead signal, and less than a 5V loop burden.

Otek’s long standing tradition of bending our technology to consumer applications extends indefinitely to the nuclear industry. We recognize the dire planetary need for combative action against climate change and wholly believe nuclear energy must be a player in any successful effort. We’ll continue to supply our technology towards that end while the legalities sort themselves out.

A malicious cyber security threat

            A malicious cyber security threat infiltrated one of India’s top nuclear power plants in recent days and leading security researchers have identified the Lazarus Group, a North Korean hacking team, as the culprit. Reports began surfacing Monday that the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) had been attacked by malware that resembled the notorious Dtrack trojan virus that has been in circulation recently—a form of malware that features keylogging, retrieving browser history, gathering IP addresses and information about connections, tracking running processes, and downloading all accessible files onto disk or jump drives.

            A former security analyst at India’s National Technical Research Organization, Pukhraj Singh, suggested in comments made public via Twitter that the malware was able to infiltrate the plant’s systems by surreptitiously piggy-backing off an internal anti-virus upload and then spreading outward from there. The evidence recovered included hardcoded credentials (which would have been used to bypass certain security measures) specific to the plant, indicating that the threat was designed to grow and multiply within the plant’s internal network. What’s perhaps more alarming is that sources claim the Indian government was made aware of a potential imminent attack back on September 4th, notified the KNPP itself, and yet the hackers were still able to get through.

            Fortunately, the attack itself appeared to be only for reconnaissance purposes and was unable to reach the critical network controls that operate the plant’s nuclear reactors. That being said, the incorrigible fact that both the government and the plant itself had prior knowledge of a threat and it still was able to strike nearly unopposed is a disturbing glance at how vulnerable we truly are to this new era of cyber security criminality.

            OTEK, in our enduring quest to aid the nuclear industry, has designed a new type of digital panel meter specifically designed to address cyber security concerns facing nuclear power plants around the world. The Solid State Analog Meter (SSAM) is a revolution within the industry as a fully functional ANSI 4” switchboard replacement for the popular DB40 and VS252 analog meters. Designed without any digital assets such as microprocessors, the SSAM classifies as Cyber Security Exempt under NEI 08-09 regulations.

            Highlight features of the SSAM include:

  •  – Invulnerable to cyber security attacks due to the absence of non-digital components
  •  – Powered by the same award-wining OTEK technology that powers our NTM series
  •  – Advanced “pure white” LED technology allows for a powerful display that is customizable to a vast  array of colors
  •  – Easily interchangeable scale plate designs without needing to remove the unit from the panel/wiring
  •  – Auto-Tricolor LED bar graph with 4 ½ digit display
  •  – Signal failure alarm alerts the operator in the event of loss of power or signal
  •  – The only analog portion is the input signal

            In this new digital world where criminals lurk with unseen fingers upon keyboards anywhere in the world, we must do better to be vigilante in how we protect and defend critical institutions such as nuclear power plants. The SSAM is OTEK’s contribution to that fight.

            For more information on the SSAM or any of our other products, please call 520-748-7900 or email our sales department at sales@otekcorp.com.

Can a Meter/Controller Be Exempt From Cyber Security Regulation?

Can a Meter/Controller Be Exempt From Cyber Security Regulation?

Tucson, AZ – Opening a new avenue for cyber security applications within Nuclear I&C rooms, OTEK Corporation unveils its Solid State Analog Meter (SSAM) for streamlined plug and play replacement of ANSI 4” analog meters with technology that renders this new digital panel meter exempt from cyber security threats. Designed without any digital assets such as microprocessors and powered by CMOS logic, the SSAM series is built to easily replace obsolete analogs Form, Fit, and Function using existing wires, panels, and necessitating only minimal operator training.

In addition to the cyber security applications, the SSAM series also features 4-20 and 10-50mA inputs, 100% signal powered, AC/DC Watts and Hertz or external power, 4 ½ digits at 0.1% accuracy, optional isolated H.V. SPDT dual alarms, a loop burden of less than 5V or 100mW power, and our patented signal failure alarm that warns the user of a signal or power loss for nearly an hour after the initial dead signal.

Unique among the SSAM series, the SSAM-9 model features an incredibly powerful display using pure white LED technology that allows the user to easily interchange the scale plate design and coloring using the same unit and panel cut out. We call this the “One Size Fits All” philosophy and offer on-site training to demonstrate the ease by which you utilize unlimited custom colors for you SSAM-9 display. Customizations to the overall meter itself are also welcome—OTEK customizes its technology to reverse engineer replacements for obsolete meters/controllers so all you have to do is Plug & Play!

With cyber security rapidly becoming a major concern within the electric, water, and nuclear industries, the SSAM is positioned to become a mainstay in the industry for years to come. Current SSAM technology may be found at www.otekcorp.com. For more information or ordering contact Chris at 520-748-7900, or by email at sales@otekcorp.com.

Universal Possibilities with New Hybrid Meter

Tucson, AZ – Continuing to push the technological limits of metering technology, OTEK Corporation introduces its latest product line: The Universal Panel Meter (UPM) series. This unique technology has the ability to function as both a DPM as well as a Counter/Timer for a wide variety of applications across a host of industries. As strictly a DPM the UPM series offers over 30 analog input signals—as a counter/timer the UPM can provide a host of functions, including as a scientific controller-display, process PID controller, a forecasting center, scrolling message display, and a process automation controller among many others.

Like OTEK’s popular NTM series, the UPM offers high reliability through a myriad of company staples such as automatic alpha-numeric tricolor display and input signal fail detection with runtime stamp, relays, isolated 4-20mA retransmission and universal power inputs. The series can be powered externally or by the signal that it measures (like analogs) as well as by OTEK’s well-known current loop power technology.

Leading off the series is the UPM-0 model, which easily replaces any 1/8 DIN DPM or counter/timer. The UPM-0 features isolated serial I/O (USB/RS485) as well as Ethernet, in addition to self diagnostics, intensity control via serial port, math functions (x-y tables, polynomials), dimensions of 3.78”x1.9” and is available in either plastic or metal.

The UPM series is still being expanded upon with several more models soon be to be debuted. Check them out at www.otekcorp.com. For more information or ordering contact us at 520-748-7900, or email us at sales@otekcorp.com.

The NELA & America’s Nuclear Outlook

 

On September 20th of this year the Three Mile Island nuclear generating station closed for good, ending three decades of service to the Pennsylvania energy grid. Currently there are only two new reactors being built in the United States, both of which are over budget and well beyond schedule deadlines. Since the U.S. became the first country on earth to commercialize nuclear power seventy years ago, the once global leader on atomic energy has drastically fallen behind other emerging powers in terms of development, efficiency, research, design, education, and production. The causes for this tumble from the mountain are complex and vary wildly, but if one wants to point to a singular root cause it would be wise to level a finger at public support.

            What begin in the 1970’s as a counter-culture aversion to the neo-science of nuclear energy and its three glaring global disasters, and thus played itself out in protest anthems, concerts, and jostling posters slapped with peace signs, has now once again become a political maelstrom hampering any advancement in the technology. What the hippies saw as a mushroom cloud holocaust, the left-wing clean energy movement now sees as a leverageable political pawn. It can hardly be anything else—when leading experts and scientists not only in America, but looped around the entire globe, vehemently state that no clean energy future is attainable without the inclusion of nuclear energy, and still these special interest groups still refuse to treat “Nuclear” as anything other than a dirty and disgusting word, one simply has to see it for what it is. Empirical science (truth, if such a thing exists on planet earth) can only be denied avariciously. We know the hard facts—renewables such as wind, solar, and hydropower just aren’t as reliable, efficient, and powerful as the near continuous energy derived from an atomic reaction. That logic cannot be refuted in any rational sense—which means we are dealing with an ethos problem. So what can be done?

             The Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA) a bipartisan proposal that currently has 13 sponsors in the House and 17 in the Senate, aims to reinvigorate the U.S. nuclear industry through investment in research, development, fuel security, workforce development, and public education. The legislation, lead by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) addresses both the short and long term needs of American nuclear generation in the coming decades by laying the groundwork for attainable and cohesive objectives between federal and private sector laboratories such as Idaho National Labs, providing financial support for research and development that establishes safety/reliability standards necessary to pursue new state-of-the-art technologies like small modular reactors, as well as providing a consistent amount of reactor fuel for researchers and developers as they push the boundaries of what we’re currently capable of.

            Face it—20% of all energy produced in the United States is from nuclear power and we’re falling behind China who is rapidly building new reactors in not only their own country but foreign nations as well, and Russia is the world leading exporter of nuclear energy. We need to revive interest and innovation among our brightest minds—from college and grad students in our universities to our tech conglomerates to our elected officials. America was once true to her creed of liberty and justice for all and we extended that to global leadership of the most volatile force known to humanity. Beyond even the energy concerns, electrical grid efficiency, and clean energy, we cannot risk the nuclear question being answered by governments and nations who would wield it as a blade.

            That’s why OTEK is tremendously invested in the health and prosperity of the American nuclear industry.  That’s why we became as Class 1E/Appendix B company and developed our New Technology Meters (NTM) and the Solid State Analog Meter (SSAM) to aid the nuclear industry. With analog obsolescence coming to a head in the nuclear I&C rooms, the NTM and SSAM are designed specifically to replace old analogs wire by wire without retraining operators, incurring lengthy installation outages, and effectively combating cyber security expenses with C.S. Compliant (NTM) and C.S. Exempt (SSAM) designations.

            For more information on OTEK’s efforts to help the nuclear industry, our Class 1E/Appendix B approved meters, or any of our vast array of products, please call our office at 520-748-7900 or email our sales department: sales@otekcorp.com

U.S. Energy Department Pushing for Nuclear Waste Storage in Idaho

As nuclear energy makes further headway into the clean energy obsession throttling planet Earth, a darker question seems to run beneath it all: what do we do with the ugly byproduct of a nuclear reaction? Where do we place of strontium-91, baium-139, barium-140, and lanthanum-140 after they’ve become enthusiastically radioactive and will continue to be so at varying levels for the next hundred or so years?

The federal government is now looking into potential storage of nuclear waste on the U.S. Energy Department’s 890 square mile preserve in eastern Idaho, which also houses the Idaho National Laboratories (INL)—one of the nation’s leading nuclear research facilities. And the waste they want to store isn’t just the radioactive result of a nuclear reaction—it’s the culturally toxic and bedeviled waste from the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, which partially melted down in 1979 and ignited a cultural hallucination on the role of nuclear power in our energy grid. The Energy Department is pursuing an operating license that would run through 2039 and has repeatedly stated the project poses no threat to the surrounding environment, and will be closely monitored in conjunction with INL.

This not the first time the U.S. government has attempted to find a permanent home for nuclear waste on its own soil. Beginning in 1987, a deep storage repository was designated for construction as the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, roughly eighty miles northwest of Las Vegas. Originally designed to house 70,000 metric tons of waste, the project was immediately overwhelmed by political, environmental, and ethical opposition to the point that by 2011 the project was largely considered dead in the water. It remains so to this day.

Norway however, has long been light years ahead of the United States where waste storage is concerned. Unveiling the Onkalo project–1,710 foot labyrinth being constructed on a remote and uninhabited island, the massive structure is to be the world’s first deep geological repository for the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel when it is completed.

While OTEK can’t force the U.S. government to follow Onkalo’s blueprint, we can lend our technology to the American nuclear industry. That’s why we became as Class 1E/Appendix B company and developed our New Technology Meters (NTM) and the Solid State Analog Meter (SSAM) to aid the nuclear industry. With analog obsolescence coming to a head in the nuclear I&C rooms, the NTM and SSAM are designed specifically to replace old analogs wire by wire without retraining operators, incurring lengthy installation outages, and effectively combating cyber security expenses with C.S. Compliant (NTM) and C.S. Exempt (SSAM) designations. Whatever the future holds for the nuclear industry, Otek plans to be there at every turn and every juncture, ready to bring our technology to bear and help create a more energy conscious future.

For more information on our efforts to help the nuclear industry or any of our technology-driven product lines, please call us at 520-748-7900 or email our sales department at sales@otekcorp.com