Have you ever wished you had an expert (in this case, a nuclear engineer) in the family to help explain Japan’s Fukushima nuclear accidents?
In the last few days, on top of reading/watching the regular media reports, I felt like I had a closed relative/trusted friend explaining the nuclear accidents at the Fukushima I and Fukushima II nuclear power plants to me. I really appreciate Mark Mervine, a nuclear engineer/expert with extensive real world nuclear power plant experiences (see below for his background), taking time to chat with his daughter Evelyn Mervine (currently a 5th-year PhD student in the MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program) to shine light on the Fukushima nuclear accidents.
The following is a list of links to the interviews. (9:52am MST Update: The Tuesday March 15th interview has now been posted.)
March 12, 2011: “A Conversation with My Dad, a Nuclear Engineer, about the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Disaster in Japan” – (part 1)
March 13: “Follow-Up Interview with my Dad, a Nuclear Engineer, about the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Disaster in Japan” – (part 2)
March 14: “Second Follow-Up Interview with my Dad, a Nuclear Engineer, about the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Disaster in Japan” – (part 3)
March 15: “Third Follow-Up Interview with my Dad, a Nuclear Engineer, about the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Disaster in Japan” – (Part 4)
P.S. On a personal note, I want to say I love what Evelyn and Mark have done here. Evelyn knows her dad is an nuclear expert, and Mark, as an expert, is willing to share his insight and time. As a result, I think we are all better off being more informed.
Here is Mark’s background as discussed in the first Conversation.
“Q: Alright. I was hoping that we could start out, I know who you are, since you’re my dad, but if you could just introduce yourself quickly and describe some of your background in nuclear power.
A: Sure, my name is Mark Mervine. I graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1981, and went into the Navy nuclear power program. I was in submarines, and while I was in the Navy I qualified on two different types of Navy nuclear power plants and served as an instructor in the Navy nuclear power program.
Q: OK, and then after you got out of the Navy?
A: After seven years of active duty, I went into the Reserves, and I stayed in the Reserves and I retired as a commander in the Navy Reserves. I went to work, initially, for Wisconsin Electric, which at that time had a 2-unit Westinghouse pressurized-water reactor in Turbridge, Wisconsin. While I was there, I completed my SRO certification, which allowed me to do senior review and oversight, as a member of the plant management staff. And I also qualified and served as a shift technical advisor, which is a position that was added in the nuclear power industry, after Three Mile Island, that is a degreed engineer position, that’s available to the on-shift crew on a 24-hour basis. Some plants do it on an 8 hour watch, at that time, Wisconsin Electric did it on a 24 hour watch, so I would actually stay at the plant for 24 hours; we had a place where we could sleep, and my job was to advise the crew whenever they needed advice on what was happening with the plant.
After a few years at Wisconsin Electric, I went to work for Vermont Yankee, where I also completed the SRO certification, Senior Reactor Certification, which allowed me to do senior level reviews as a member of the plant management staff, and I also served on the Outside Review Committee, which is a very high-level committee for the main Yankee nuclear plant, until it closed, and also Vermont Yankee.
Q: Excellent. So, you’re qualified to talk a little bit about nuclear power, it sounds like.
A: I can talk a little about nuclear power, yes.“